Chester Historical Society

Chester’s Rockefeller Center

The Blue Tour

Saturday, May 4, 2024
12pm to 5pm

Rockaway Township Public Library

Chester Historical Society

Chester’s Rockefeller Center

For information on events, click on the website below:

http://historicchesternj.com/

Chester’s “iron heyday” was short, lasting from 1867 to 1888. But, while visible evidence of iron mines and the Chester Forge is hard to find, many buildings from the period survive in good condition. They illustrate the impact of industrialization and migration during the boom years and represent all socio-economic classes, from miner’s Patch Houses to the mansions of the mine owners.

The humblest of the surviving “iron heyday” buildings is known, today, as Rockefeller Center. Built between 1868 and 1887, this small, wooden, one-room building initially served Chester’s gentlemen as a barbershop, but after the collapse of the local iron industry, served a number of purposes, including, in 1906, as Chester’s post office. In 1996, to save it from demolition Rockefeller Center was donated to Chester Borough and moved several hundred feet to Chester’s Municipal Field in the center of town. Chester Historical Society (CHS) agreed to raise funds for a new foundation and undertake repairs, which were completed in 2002. See the history at https://youtu.be/v36cquTUsaA.

Over the past few years, Chester Borough and CHS were awarded grants from the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust to continue efforts toward preserving and restoring Rockefeller Center so it can, once again serve the community and teach about our local “iron heyday!”

Also featured, will be the preservation work at the Chester Furnace Historic Site located about a mile from Rockefeller Center. The Furnace was a key part of Chester’s Iron Heyday. A YouTube video about the Chester Furnace Historic Site will be shown and it is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k25J-50htpY.

This year's Pathways tour features topics of discussion established annually by the New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC).