Second Floor Hall
The Second Floor hallway houses two interesting pieces of the collection at the Westfield Historical Society. Along the wall at the base of the stairs is a pew taken from the Madison Avenue Chapel. Having begun in 1912 as a Sunday school to provide for the needs of the Scandinavians who had settled way out in the "Big Woods," the area around today's Brightwood Park, it eventually came under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church. By the 1960's improved transportation contributed to decreased attendance and rendered the satellite facility unnecessary.
Turning around, you will find a large painting by Harry Devlin that shows the Westfield Municipal Building complex. Harry, whose property in Mountainside was surrounded on three sides by Westfield, remains well known both for his paintings that documented New Jersey architecture, and also for the illustrations that graced his wife's, Wende Devlin's, children's books. This painting Harry gave to former mayor Bud Boothe who in turn gave it to the Historical Society for the Reeve House which he was instrumental in securing for the Society.
Exhibit Hall I
This first exhibit hall houses information on the Westfield Fire Department. The people, tools and the stories of our fire department provide a glimpse into the service provided to the town by our local heros.
Entering the walk-through closet that separates the two galleries, on your left are four doll house sized dioramas. Created for the bicentennial in 1976, they show a typical Westfield house at approximate fifty year intervals.
The first is the period of the Miller-Cory house with a large hearth and herbs hanging from the beams to dry. Then comes a mid-nineteenth century room, a typical Victorian era scene, such as the Reeve House, complete with a stereoscope and views, then a post WWII family room.
Exhibit Hall II
The first thing you see is the World War I uniform of Austen Crehore. During the 1970's and 1980's, while on loan, this rare uniform was viewed at air shows by an estimated three and a half million visitors. Crehore, who lived in Westfield, was a highly decorated airman who served as a member of the Lafayette Flying Corps, a group of Americans who had joined the French army's air service. The uniform rests atop of an Aeolian Gramophone.
To the right, take a look at the safe that is so heavy that construction proceeded around it rather than trying to move it. There is a hand-carved Indian Head which was executed by John Brunner, a Westfield artist. Nearby is also a watercolor showing a fanciful scene of Westfield.
Oral History Room
This room contains an area where an interviewer may sit and record an oral history, documenting their remembrances of life in Westfield. It also contains the Ralph Jones Memorial New Jersey History Collection of books.