Ever wonder about the historic buildings and farms you pass each day? We're fortunate to be surrounded by historic properties, but we rarely take the time to learn about them. Did you know that you can satisfy your curiosity fairly easily online? Here's a look at a couple of websites worth exploring.
NJ DEP, the parent organization of the State Historic Preservation Office, has a fascinating site called NJ-GeoWeb: http://www.nj.gov/dep/gis/geowebsplash.htm. The interactive GIS system shows environmental information, tax parcels, geologic data, historic areas and many other attributes about properties throughout the state.
The system is fairly intuitive, but a tutorial is available, if needed. Clicking the Launch button pulls up an outline map of New Jersey and a Layer Manager. Zoom to the desired area and select the layer or multiple layers you want to view. (Not every layer is viewable at every zoom level.)
Here's a close-up of Stillwater village with the Historic Properties layer selected. The Grist Mill property is shaded in red because it is listed on the State and National Historic Registers while the yellow area indicates non-listed historic properties.
If you click on the "i" button (identify) and on a property, a pop-up box will show attributes which can be identified for the property. Selecting Historic Properties from the drop-down menu identifies the property as the Ellen Vass house located at 925 Main Street (next to the Stillwater Inn.)
Other history-related layers include Historic Districts and Archaeological Sites. You can also delve into many more layers and attributes for properties throughout the state - including your own.
Princeton University Library
Princeton University has digitized almost 2000 New Jersey maps published by the Sanborn Map Company from the late 19th to mid 20th Century and has made the collection accessible to the public online.
A section of one of the Newton maps from 1890 shows the courthouse area. Behind it is the jail and next to it are stores and offices including a liquor store, a jewelry store and an insurance office.
The Newton maps span 1890 through 1916. Using them, you can see the development of the town over those years. The page also includes a link for an Excel file with hyperlinks to all the maps in the collection.
This is just a brief idea of some map resources for historical applications. There are many others out there and, hopefully, you will be encouraged to seek them out as well.