Life along the River: Revealing the Impact of Industrialization on Chatham Township, New Jersey, 1890-1920


Drew University is situated in an area rich in history both in first nations as well as a center of early European colonization and later industrialization and manufacturing. The major watercourses, and in particular the Passaic River, provided a draw for both the Lena Lenape and early European settlers. In the 19th century, the area became a center for mills and early manufacturing. 

Located in northern New Jersey, the Passaic River spans about 80 miles and passes through historic Morris County. The river once played a crucial role in the early development of the urbanization and industrialization of its surrounding towns. 

Our focus lies within Stanley Park between Summit and Chatham, one of the many access points of the Passaic River. The research questions will focus on the industrialization of Chatham Township between 1890 and 1920 and how this affected access to new types of consumer products, marketing evolved over the time frame, and changes in consumerism.

The results of artifact analysis, historical research, and oral histories were used to create an online virtual exhibit through the Drew University Library Special Collections website. Therefore, it will be available to the general public. At the end of the Fall 2020 Semester, we will give several presentations at the South Orange Library, Drew University Digital Humanities Workshop, and Drew University Anthropology Department.



Curated by the Digital Archaeology Class of 2020