George Richard’s Building

George Richards Building (2)
One of the oldest and historical buildings is the George Richard’s Building located at the corner of Blackwell and Sussex Streets open in 1869. It was a modern department store, carrying a complete line of stationary, groceries, furniture, hardware, dry goods, shoes and sporting goods.
The store also had a large fleet of attractive red and gold horse drawn delivery wagons, pulled by 2 and 3 horse teams. They did $300,000. a year and were the largest department store in Morris County!
In later years generations knew this building as J.J Newberry Co.
This building is used today as Berkeley College.
Post Card photo is 1930’s circa
George Richards was Dover’s first mayor – 1869-71.


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FlapJack Fundraiser at Applebee’s



A flapjack fundraiser to benefit the Dover Area Historical Society Scholarship Fund will be held on Saturday, April 30, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Applebee’s 435 Route 46 East, Dover/Rockaway.  Tickets cost $10.00, valid for the flapjack event only.  The meal includes pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs and a beverage (coffee, tea, juice or soda).  Two  $500.00 scholarships will be given to Dover High School seniors who plan to attend either a four year or two year university or college.  For further information and tickets, call Phyllis at 973-366-4276.

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Monthly Program – March 15, 2016

Dover Cadets 1962

Dover Area Historical Society’s March 15, 2016 program will feature a Power Point “The Dover Cadets” narrated by Vice President Stan Schoonmaker.  The presentation will start at 7:00 pm at The Museum House, 55 West Blackwell Street, Dover.  The Dover Cadets were organized in 1938 by Dick H. Peer and were in existence until 1969.  The Cadets became a well known and respected drum and bugle corps through out the tri-state area.  They participated in the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City and returned to the 1964 World’s Fair playing at the New Jersey Pavilion.

In 1952, the Dover Cadets took second place at an American Legion convention, becoming one of the top five drum corps in the United States.  Two years later, they won first place in the Eastern Circuit Championship.  In their blue and beige uniforms, they marched in many firemen’s parades over the decades, creating many memories for spectators and members alike.  On July 4, 1949, the Cadets led off a parade in Dover where the temperature reached 102 degrees!

Come and view many historic photos on display at the Museum House. Listen to past Dover Cadet members relate their experiences of being a cadet.  For further information, call 973-361-3525 or visit

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DHS Monthly Program – Dover’s Postcard History

The Dover Area Historical Society will hold its monthly meeting on February 16 at the Museum House, 55 West Blackwell Street, starting at 7:00 p.m.  DAHS Vice President Stan Schoonmaker will present a Power Point “Dover’s Postcard History”.  For further information, call 973-361-3525 or visit our website

Train Station 4  

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DHS Museum House upcoming Program – “The Dover Queen”

The Dover Area Historical Society will meet on January 19 at the DAHS Museum House, 55 W. Blackwell St. starting at 7:00 pm. The program will feature a showing of the film “Dover Queen”, The main character of the movie is not known as this was a promotional film which was produced in 1940 by the Chamber of Commerce.

According to DAHS Museum Curator, Rick Kelly, viewers will take a tour of Dover during the early 1940’s. A young lady arrives at the Dover Train Station and is greeted by a large number of the town’s residents. Leaving the station, she joins the Dover Fire Department, the Dover High School Band, town dignitaries and townspeople marching to the Dover Post Office on Sussex Street. Here she receives a “Key to Dover” presented by Mayor John Roach. Then she travels to Jackson Lumber Yard in Rockaway and returns to visit many businesses and stores in Dover such as Roof Chevrolet, Hedden Oil Company, the Presbyterian Church, the Dover Fire Department. etc. The “Dover Queen” even enjoys an ice cream soda with Dover High School students at the local malt shop! This is a MUST SEE film about Historic Dover in 1940.

To learn more about the “Dover Queen”, plan to attend this program. Refreshments will be served. For additional information, call 973-361-3525 or visit

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Holiday Open House

The Dover Area Historical Society will hold its annual Holiday Open House on Wednesday, December 16 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Museum House, 55 W. Blackwell Street.  Tours of the Museum House will be available.  Refreshments will be served.  For further information, call 973-361-3525 or contact

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“Disasters of Dover” Presentation on Friday, November 13 at Dover Community Center

The Dover Area Historical Society will present “Disasters of Dover” on Friday, November 13 at the Dover Community Center (formerly the Sacred Heart Gym), 37 North Essex Street, Dover, starting at 7:30 pm.  Learn about the only recorded train and canal boat accident, the Blizzard of 1914, the 1926 Lake Denmark explosion, the Hercules explosion of 1940, the A&P store fire, the Park Union Lumber Yard fire, Hurricane Irene flooding and other Dover “disasters”.  Suggested donation:  $3.00 to $5.00.  Refreshments will be available for purchase. For additional information, call 973-361-3525 or contact

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Our History

The Dover Area Historical Society had its origin on May 4, 1966 when Mr. Willy Penderson called a special meeting at town hall for any citizens interested in local history. Fifteen people were at the first meeting and from this nucleus the society was born. The society was incorporated as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization named the Dover Historical Association. The name was changed to the Dover Area Historical Society in 1967.

From the very beginning, a museum location would be a problem. Two different store front locations were tried in the downtown, but abandon a short time later. The Johnson Storage Building on East Blackwell Street, the second oldest building in Dover at the time, dating back to before the Civil War, was being considered when Dover General Hospital offered the Bonnieview Estate located next to the hospital.

The Bonnieview mansion was built in 1876 for Alpheus Beemer and his wife Margaret. Mr. Beemer established a silk mill and Hurd Park and was the founder of the Nation Union Bank of Dover. Upon his death, the widow sold the property to Edwin Ross in 1885, a descendant of Betsy Ross, designer of the American Flag.

In the early part of the 20th century, Bonnieview becamse the popular Pine Terrance Inn, a gracious country retreat visited by such notables as President Grover Cleveland, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and well known personalities of the day. With the onset of Prohibition, the estate was sold to Harry Schwarz who later sold it to Dover General Hospital.

The historical society moved into the mansion house on June 18, 1970 with a 10-year lease with the hospital. Just one year into the lease and after over $30,000 in repairs and renovations, the hospital terminated the agreement and ordered the building be vacated in three months. For the next 27-years, the historical society would remain homeless, hosting its montly meetings in various churches and meeting halls around town.

In 2004, the First Presbyterian Church of Dover was trying to decide the fate of the old doctor’s house, known as the “church house” at 55 W. Blackwell Street. Knowing the historical society had been actively seeking a museum, the church offered to site to the organization for a 25-year period provided the group pay for all expenses of operating the house and performed repairs and renovations bringing the house up to town standards.

Today, the historical society meets at the museum house the third Wednesday of each month. Anyone wishing to become a member or wants further information can call the society at 973-361-3525.

We are in the process of building our new website – please check back to see the progress.

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