1877 - Brothers Samuel and William Childs of Bernards Township introduced the first cafeteria-style restaurant in 1887 in NYC. One of the earliest dining chains in the country, they eventually expanded to over one hundred locations. William Childs later converted an old grain storehouse into the Old Mill Inn, today’s Grainhouse Restaurant.
1923 - The Friends of the Oak Tree was organized in 1923 to save the 600 year old oak tree in the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Churchyard. The tree trunk was cleaned of its disease, leaving space for four men to stand in its trunk. Three tons of Concrete were poured into the cavity.
The mission of The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH) is to acquire, conserve and share local artifacts and information on matters of local historic interest; cultivate interest in local history; encourage the preservation of local historic resources; facilitate historic research; and preserve, operate, and interpret the Brick Academy.
Founded on September 23, 1928 originally as the Historical Society of Basking Ridge, the mission and name of the society was changed in 1978 to The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization including all five communities of the Somerset Hills.
The Historical Society's headquarters is at the Brick Academy, formerly known as the "Old Academy" and the "Academy Building" in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township, where our collections of items of local historic interest are available to the public. Click Here to learn more about the history of the Brick Academy. The society was incorporated March 2, 1935.
In the pages of this website you will find historical information, news on current projects and upcoming events, and some of our online collections. We hope you will visit us often – online and in person.
Video courtesy of RHS VolunTeen student Bianca Pichamuthu (2010)
THSSH has had a long history preserving and promoting local history.
The Basking Ridge Historical Society (BRHS)
Organized October 23, 1928 - October 10, 1988
The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH) 1988 - Present
The Brick Academy (Home to THSSH all the way back to 1928). The Brick Academy was stablished in 1809 by Dr. Robert Finley, 6th pastor at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church.
Board of Trustees
Paula Axt - Education
Brooks Betz - Online Communications, Programming
Cynthia Crosson - Archivist
Sue Zibelli - Chairman, Museum Curator, Publicity
Sylvia Gambony - *Records Administrator
Greg Gonzalez - Treasurer
Patricia Gray - Hospitality
Florence Hallgring - Advertising
Daniel Lincoln - Historic Preservation & Restoration
Robin Marion - Recording Secretary, Hospitality
Marcella Miccolis - President, Affiliations, Calendar, Publications & Production
Margaret Skelly - Education
Lawrence Terricone - Landscape/Grounds, Research
Meg Wastie - Education
Volunteering to serve on one of our committees is one of the most rewarding reasons for joining our organization. Be part of a group of dedicated volunteers and members that continue to work to educate, learn, and serve our community.
Located on the main floor of the Academy, it features a self-guided tour of early education displays, local history exhibits, Lord Stirling artifacts and a small gift shop.
Committee Lead: Sue Zibelli Committee Members: Sylvia Gambony, Larry Terricone, Pat Gray
One of the most exciting committees in our organization. Coordinates 3rd Grade NJ History visits to the Brick Academy schoolhouse, brings together the Brownies/Girl Scouts to earn merit badges, schedules special educational events and craft series, and partners with the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts in Madison.
Committee Lead: Margaret Skelly Committee Members: Paula Axt, Meg Wastie
Each year The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills sponsors a number of lectures, guest speakers, and interesting tours of the communities in and around the Somerset Hills. We are always interested in hearing your thoughts and suggestions for future events and tour ideas. Volunteers are are ALWAYS welcome.
The program committee incubates, coordinates, and supports THSSH programs. The committee works with committee chairs, event leads and the executive committee to manage the scheduling and reporting of events, event ideas, program and committee meetings and membership interaction. The Program Committee also interacts with other local organizations in the Somerset Hills with our consolidated event calendar for other historic organizations in the Somerset Hills.
Have a program or event idea you want to pitch? Click Here
Committee Lead: Brooks Betz Committee Members: Paula Axt,Larry Terricone, Meg Wastie, Margaret Skelly
The lower level of the Academy serves as a research room and contains books, photographs, documents, postcards, maps, deeds, family and street files and more. You can visit the Research Room during any of our open houses, or you can also make an appointment to schedule a personal visit.
Committee Lead / Archivist: Cynthia Crosson Committee Members: Larry Terricone
Click Here to Contact Us
Are you a publisher at heart? Perhaps you like to write? The Newsletter Committee is responsible for the creation of our quarterly newsletter Inside the Brick Academy. Come work with us to create one of our most important pieces that informs, educates, and entertains our members.
Membership in THSSH and your continued support is the lifeblood financial sourcing to manage the day to day operations of The Society as well as to support the efforts to restore the 3rd Floor of the historic Brick Academy.
All our members receive newsletters, an annual yearbook, and postcards of our sponsored events.
Your dues are tax deductible! Trustees would very much appreciate it if our Life Members would consider making a donation to The Society at this time as well.
Coordinator: Sue Zibelli
Gardens & Grounds Committee
Supervise the landscape design and seasonal maintenance of the Brick Academy gardens and grounds - Collaborate with the Basking Ridge Garden Club and local florist shops for special holiday and/or event decorations.
Committee Lead: Larry Terricone
Building Maintenance Committee
As a member of this committee, you will be involved with the keeping the Brick Academy in tip top shape. This is a group of typical craftspeople that can perform small maintenance tasks or locate those who can do minor repairs to the Brick Academy.
Committee Leads: Mike and Debra Reynolds
Serves to run the administrative functions of THSSH.
Committee Lead: Sylvia Gambony
THSSH Supports Our Areas History
THSSH is one of the main historic organizations in the Somerset Hills.
Learn about other organizations that support history and preservation in the Somerset Hills. Click Here
The contents of this site, including all images, text, sound, video, and other electronic representations may be reproduced for educational purposes under the doctrine of fair use. The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills encourages the broadest possible access to and utilization of the collections it holds in the public trust. Reproduction for purposes other than fair use or for other than educational purposes is permitted only with the Society's written permission, and it is the responsibility of the party using the reproduced material to ascertain its copyright status and to obtain the necessary permission from the copyright holder to use the material.