Map & Legend from Charles T. McGrath
(1) Lydia Lindsley's House
Lydia Lindsley's house was built around 1760 A.D. It was a local tradition
that George Washington used it as his head quarter's during the Battle
of Springfield in 1780 A.D. This house was located on Stuyvesant Avenue
near Silver Street. It faced east and was 300' from the Elizabeth River
(Brookdale Avenue). Around 1900 A.D. a Mr. Weeder owned this house. He
was the old lamp lighter who traveled by horse and wagon throughout the
streets of Vailsburg tending the the gaslights. It was torn down in 1965
A.D. and was replaced by a small apartment complex.
In the late 1940's as a young newspaper boy for the Newark Star Ledger
I visited this house many times. It was a one story building and the main
entrance was around 6 feet above Stuyvesant Avenue. The living room floor
was made of 6" wide wooden planks. The kitchen had a large brick
oven (used for baking) in it's fireplace.
When it was torn down 37 years ago I tried to salvage portions of it.
I retrieved two large beams and a portion of the brick oven. I have a
portions of the pegged beams (tendon and mortise) with roman numerals
carved on them. The roman numerals were evidently used to identify each
beam. I never seen this done before because the beams were made on site.
There would be no need to identify them during construction. It's my contention
that this house may have been moved to its present location in the early
(2) The first school in Vailsburg
The first school in Vailsburg was a one room school house built in 1850
A.D. when this area was still part of South Orange Township. It was called
Columbia School. It was located on South Orange Avenue near Boylan Street
Pool. The building was used in later years as Charlie's Bike Shop. The
building next store to it was ABCO Auto Parts Store.
Another school was built on Alexander Street in 1895 A.D. This building
was much larger and could accommodate more students ; however, it soon
proved to be to small for a growing population. It was replaced by the
present day Alexander Street School. The older building was moved to 128
Brookdale Avenue where it now serves as a two family house.
(3) The First Horse Car Line To Vailsburg
Shortly after the Civil War, Dr. Vail and several of his friends raised
$50,000.00 and constructed a a horse car line (a trolley car pulled by
a horse) on South Orange Avenue. The Car ran from Boston Street (three
blocks up from High Street) to Munn Avenue. Dr. Vail was superintendent
of construction and conductor on its maiden trip from Newark. The fair
at that time was six cents.
While the Orange Horse Car Railroad was a progressive adventure it turned
out to be a financial failure because it was ahead of it's time. James
Boylan ( source of the name for Boylan Street ) took over the line and
It wasn't until John Radel bought it in 1877 A.D. that it proved to be
a great success. By then the crowds from the lower portions of Newark
had discovered Scheutzen Park (Vailsburg Park) and used the line to visit
it frequently. This line was also primarily responsible for the rapid
growth and development of Vailsburg. It provided a means of transportation
for those who wanted to work in Newark and live in the suburbs. The original
horse car stables were still standing in the late 60's. They were opposite
Brookwood Street in the rear of a gas station.
(4) Scheutzen Park
Scheutzen Park or Shooting Park was a favorite picnic and outing spot
for the people of other portions of Newark. Scheutzen Park which later
became Electric Park was one of New Jersey's first and most important
amusement parks. Electric Park was located on the present site of Vailsburg
(5) Washington Stayed Here
There is a tradition that Washington and some of his men stayed here during
the Revolution. In 1797 A.D. (Battle of Springfield). Aaron Baldwin owned
this property and willed it to his son Joel. The map at that time, dated
September 7,1797 A.D., showed the old house on South Orange Avenue, which
at that time made a north -east turn near what is now Munn avenue. The
road was much higher than it is now. South Orange Avenue is referred to
as "The Road "and Munn Avenue as " the road running from
the main road to North Orange ."
In my research I came across this house many times. This area was also
called "Dogs Misery ". The house was probably built prior to
1717 A.D. Aaron Baldwin owned slaves ( slaves in Vailsburg). Unfortunately
this house was demolished in circa 1960 and replaced by Kravet's Pharmacy.
(6) Dr. Malcolm Vail
Vailsburg was named after Dr. Malcolm Vail. I believe he was a medical
doctor. He was the first mayor of the Borough of Vailsburg and he lived
on Vail Street near Kenmore Avenue. The area we know as Vailsburg was
once part of Clinton Township and later it became part of South Orange
Township. From 1895 -1905 A.D. this area became the Borough of Vailsburg.
In 1905 A.D. it became part of Newark.
Joshua O. Baldwin's homestead
In 1881 Mr. Albert Smith who later became the Mayor of Vailsburg owned
the property on the southeast corner of South Orange and Sandford Avenues.
This was the homestead of Joshua O. Baldwin's. This house was built in
the latter portion of the 1700's . Around 1900 A.D. It was known as the
Raub Homestead. It's wide front porch and broad lawn containing a brook
(branch of the Elizabeth River) faced South Orange Avenue. This home was
the scene of many annual Fourth of July celebrations. These took place
while Vailsburg was a independent borough (1895-1905 A.D. ). It was later
remodeled although most of the old time charm remained. I'm sure many
of us remember it as Burn's Funeral Home. Today it's a private residence?