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By Joseph M. Laufer Burlington County Historian PowerPoint Presentation
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By Joseph M. Laufer Burlington County Historian

By Joseph M. Laufer Burlington County Historian

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By Joseph M. Laufer Burlington County Historian

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  1. By Joseph M. Laufer Burlington County Historian

  2. 70 fairs at Mt. Holly Fairgrounds 53 fairs in Lumberton 23 fairs at various locations Total fairs: 146 Initial series: 1847-1926 – 80 fairs Current series: 1946 -2011 – 66 fairs

  3. Fair Timeline – 165 years from 1847 to 2012 • 1681 – First Farm Fair authorized in New Jersey in City of Burlington

  4. Fair Timeline – 165 years from 1847 to 2012 • 1681 – First Farm Fair authorized in New Jersey in City of Burlington • 1847- October 28 – First Mt. Holly Farm Fair: Burlco Court House – BCAS • 1848, ‘49 – Second and Third Fairs at Mt. Holly Court House – BCAS est. 1849 • 1850, ‘51 – Fairs Continue at lot south of Ridgeway (# 4 and #5) • 1852 through 1855 (# 6, 7,8,9) Fairs at Court House. • 1856 – Ag. Society purchases 24 acres at High, Woodland, Woodpecker. Builds original Grandstand and track (10th fair) • 1857-1886 – Fairs #11 through #40 at Mt. Holly Fairgrounds • 1887 – New Two-tier grandstand erected - #41 • 1888 - 1891 - #42-#45 - Mt. Holly Fairgrounds under BC Ag. Society • 1892 - Lizzie Peak Murder #46 • 1893 -1899 - #47 through #53 – Mt. Holly Fairgrounds under BC Ag. Society

  5. Fair Timeline – 165 years from 1847 to 2012 • 1681 – First Farm Fair authorized in New Jersey in City of Burlington • 1847- October 28 – First Mt. Holly Farm Fair: Burlco Court House – BCAS • 1848, ‘49 – Second and Third Fairs at Mt. Holly Court House – BCAS est. 1849 • 1850, ‘51 – Fairs Continue at lot south of Ridgeway (# 4 and #5) • 1852 through 1855 (# 6, 7,8,9) Fairs at Court House. • 1856 – Ag. Society purchases 24 acres at High, Woodland, Woodpecker. Builds original Grandstand and track (10th fair) • 1857-1886 – Fairs #11 through #40 at Mt. Holly Fairgrounds • 1887 – New Two-tier grandstand erected - #41 • 1888 - 1891 - #42-#45 - Mt. Holly Fairgrounds under BC Ag. Society • 1892 - Lizzie Peak Murder #46 • 1893 -1899 - #47 through #53 – Mt. Holly Fairgrounds under BC Ag. Society • 1900- Fair sold to Burlington County Fair Association #54 • 1901 – 1925 - #55 –# 79 -Burlington County Fair Association • 1926 – Final year of the Fair at the Fairgrounds – Burlington County Fair Assn. • 1927 -1945 – No Fairs (Depression, WWII) (19 year hiatus)

  6. Fair Timeline – 165 years from 1847 to 2012 • 1681 – First Farm Fair authorized in New Jersey in City of Burlington • 1847- October 28 – First Mt. Holly Farm Fair: Burlco Court House – BCAS • 1848, ‘49 – Second and Third Fairs at Mt. Holly Court House – BCAS est. 1849 • 1850, ‘51 – Fairs Continue at lot south of Ridgeway (# 4 and #5) • 1852 through 1855 (# 6, 7,8,9) Fairs at Court House. • 1856 – Ag. Society purchases 24 acres at High, Woodland, Woodpecker. Builds original Grandstand and track (10th fair) • 1857-1886 – Fairs #11 through #40 at Mt. Holly Fairgrounds • 1887 – New Two-tier grandstand erected - #41 • 1888 - 1891 - #42-#45 - Mt. Holly Fairgrounds under BC Ag. Society • 1892 - Lizzie Peak Murder #46 • 1893 -1899 - #47 through #53 – Mt. Holly Fairgrounds under BC Ag. Society • 1900- Fair sold to Burlington County Fair Association #54 • 1901 – 1925 - #55 –# 79 -Burlington County Fair Association • 1926 – Final year of the Fair at the Fairgrounds – Burlington County Fair Assn. • 1927 -1945 – No Fairs (Depression, WWII) (19 year hiatus) • 1946- New Era for County Fair - #1 – Walker Gordon Dairy Farm, Juliustown • 1947 - ‘48 – Lake Cotoxon and Kirby’s Mill - # 2, #3 • 1949 - ‘56 – Green Hill Farm, Burlington Township #4 through #11 • 1957 – Land adjacent to Burlington Mall - #12 • 1958 – Fair moves to Lumberton #13 & remains there till 2010 – (# 14 thru #54) • 2011 – Fair moves to NewSprinfield Fairgrounds (after Freeholders buy Rt. 206 site in 2005)

  7. The Website of The City of Burlington indicates that the first farm fair authorized in New Jersey was in the City of Burlington in 1681. This was only five years after the founding of the city by English Quakers.

  8. Facimile of the Minute Book of the Burlington County Agricultural Society 1887-1897 Original in Mt. Holly Lyceum and Library Facimile gifted to Mt. Holly Lyceum & Library By Questers of Burlington County 2010

  9. Burlington County Courthouse, High Street, Mount Holly The County Seat was moved from Burlington City to Mt. Holly in 1795 The first Mount Holly Fair was held 165 years ago on October 28, 1847 in the County Court House and yard, sponsored by the Burlington County Agricultural Society (founded in January, 1847).

  10. Constitution of the Burlington County Agricultural Society Adopted January 27th, 1849 Collection of the Mount Holly Library And Lyceum

  11. Two subsequent fairs were held at the Courthouse in 1848 and 1849.

  12. Two subsequent fairs were held at the Courthouse in 1848 and 1849. • The 1850 & 1851 fairs were held at a lot south of Ridgeway Street.

  13. Two subsequent fairs were held at the Courthouse in 1848 and 1849. • The 1850 1851 fairs were held at a lot south of Ridgeway Street. • Then the sixth through ninth fairs were held back at the Court House on High St. (1852 to1855).

  14. Officers of the Burlington County Agricultural Society - January 8, 1887

  15. LIST OF PREMIUMS TO BE AWARDED Fourth Annual Exhibition October 9, 1850 Note that the Fair is only one day. Later fairs ranged from two to five days at different times. Cash premiums were awarded at subsequent fairs as prizes for competitions. Collection of the Mount Holly Library And Lyceum

  16. Finally, in 1856, the Agricultural Society purchased 24 acres on Burlington Road at Woodpecker Lane on which they built a ½ mile racetrack, the first grandstand, and several exhibit buildings. Beginning with this 10th fair in 1856 its duration was extended to two days. Burlington City appears to be on the horizon in the rear center at the end of current Rt. 541. Present-day Woodlane Road is the tree-lined road diagonally dissecting the photo. Woodpecker Rd. separates the track from the field at the bottom.

  17. 1876 • Scott’s • Atlas

  18. Only five years after the opening of the Mt. Holly Fairgrounds, the Civil War war began, but the Mount Holly Fair continued uninterrupted. In 1863, in the middle of the Civil War two extra trains connecting with Camden and Amboy lines were run between Mount Holly and Burlington on the two days fo the Fair, the first leaving Mount Holly at 7 a.m. and Burlington at 7:40; the last leaving Mount Holly at 6 p.m. Trains left Pemberton at 6:32, 9:12, and 11 a.m. and 2 and 4:32 p.m. The last train leaving Mount Holly for Pemberton at 6 p.m. At 6 p.m. At that time of course, there was no direct railroad from Mount Holly to Camden. It was estimated there were 12,000 people on the grounds Wednesday of that year.

  19. In 1887, a new 2-tier grandstand replaced the 31 year old original one, making the Mt. Holly Fair the leading exhibition in Eastern United States with the only two story grandstand. It was dedicated on July 2nd and attracted thousands and featured horse racing, running the fastest trotters and pacers. The fair is ready to open, the flags are all in position, the grand stand has been inspected by two experts under the personal supervision of Mr. Edward B. Jones. Every stone, peg and post has been uncovered. The opinion of the experts has been signed, sealed and delivered: “The stand is as good as the day it was erected.” The gentlemen in the center-field are not in costume. The grounds were used as a golf-course by a local club in off season early in the century.

  20. This two-tier grandstand was built in 1887, replacing the 31-year old original. It was dedicated on July 2nd and would remain in use for 39 years, when, in 1926, the fair was discontinued. Its demise was cause by exceedingly bad weather during prior consecutive years. However, during its heyday it was the center of entertainment in the region. It was said the spectators in the second tier could see William Penn atop City Hall in Philadelphia (placed there in 1894; City Hall completed in 1901).

  21. Other bands were hired for entertainment. Note this receipt for “ten men” – hired for an undetermined length of time at a total cost of $35. During racing events, The Smithville Silver Cornet Band was allotted special quarters in the grandstand where it played during intermissions or warming up periods.

  22. The Burlington County trolley system contributed to the success of the Mt. Holly Fair, bringing Burlington Countians from Moorestown and its suburbs, and from Burlington City. This trolley is traveling along present-day Marne Highway. It serviced the amusement parks at Rancocas Woods and Burlington Island, as well as the Mount Holly Fairgrounds. Photos courtesy of Paul W. Schopp

  23. The ad to the left promotes THE GREAT 1888 Mount Holly Fair, now expanded to 4 days. The Ladies were offered a Souvenir for participating in a survey concerning James Pyle’s Pearline washing compound.

  24. Ag Society Minutes of January 13, 1887

  25. THE WESLEY WARNER TRIAL The Murder of Lizzie Peak September 17, 1892 Conviction of Wesley Warner December 30, 1892 The murder of Lizzie Peak took place on the Saturday of the first week that the Smithville Bicycle Railway had opened in 1892. The long-awaited novelty railway opened with much fanfare on the previous Monday, just in time for the Mount Holly Fair. The murder took place near the railway shortly after Lizzie had taken a ride with some friends. Some say that the murder took away from the local enthusiasm for the unique conveyance and led to its early demise. Despite the concurrence of these events, it is highly unlikely that the success of the railway was affected by the murder.

  26. Crime of Jealousy committed on Pine Street, Mount Holly Wesley Warner, 27: Murderer Convicted: December 30, 1892 Hanged: September 6, 1894 10:35 am Murdered September 17, 1892

  27. Bachman’s Birch Beer Ice Cold 3 cents or 2 for 5 cents

  28. Smithville Bicycle Railway Depot Lizzie and her sisters, after attending a variety show at the Mount Holly Opera House, frolicked with 3 “pickup” young male friends on the Smithville Bicycle Railway at Pine St. and were attacked by Warner as they returned home.

  29. Smithville-Mt. Holly Bicycle Railway – 1892-1898 The Smithville Bicycle Railway Depot was located on Pine Street, Mt. Holly, adjacent to the Relief Fire House, near the corner of Mill Street.

  30. Annual Report of the Directors of the Burlington County Agricultural Society for the year ending January 12, 1897 This report describes the precarious financial situation the Society is in: … You are all aware that for a number of years, the financial affairs of the Society have not been satisfactory, the expenditures continuously year after year exceeding the receipts; consequently the debt has been gradually increasing, until the augmented interest now makes a large item in the yearly expenses of the Society. .. … While on the other side, owing to many adverse circumstances, the receipts fell off in an appalling manner, being the smallest amount received in a great many years, the result being that the indebtedness of the Society has been considerably increased… This set the stage for the sale of the Farm Fair to a new corporation: THE BURLINGTON COUNTY FAIR ASSOCIATION OF MOUNT HOLLY

  31. CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION OF THE BURLINGTON COUNTY FAIR ASSOCIATION AT MOUNT HOLLY APRIL 4, 1900 Filed April 7, 1900

  32. Incorporation papers for the Burlington County Fair Association at Mount Holly. April 4, 1900

  33. Turn of Century parade at corner of Mill and High streets in Mount Holly. The woman in the Roman chariot is probably a contestant in the chariot race at the Burlington County Fair.

  34. Turn of the Century Entertainment at the Great Mount Holly Fair The Great Chicago World’s fair of 1893 spawned some acts that found their way into hamlets like Mount Holly over the next few years after it closed. A local paper reported that “Oriental dancers barred at the Trenton State Fair.” There was a Vaudeville stage with all kinds of entertainment across the track in front of the grandstand One of the highlights of the fair were the Balloon Ascensions with parachutists exiting from above low-hanging clouds. “Flying Machine” rides were offered above Mt. Holly. When the fair first opened, one of the rules laid down by the Agricultural Society was that “it is unlawful for any person to have any booth, stall, tent, carriage, boat, or building for the purpose of selling, giving, or otherwise dispensing of spirituous liquors, wine, porter beer, cider or any mixed or strong drink … within a half mile of the boundaries.” This lead to creative vendors who created portable speakeasies which had to keep moving ahead of the law. Whiskey was sold for 10 cents a swallw (15 cents if you happened to have an unusually big mouth).

  35. The height of the Fair’s success came in 1910… … with the second largest attendance of its history and anet profit of $3,897.12, largest sum ever made in one year. The only sources of income for the management were admissiion fees, the midway and entrance fees at the grandstand. A 1911 promotional card for the Fair

  36. Thursdays were always special at the Great Mount Holly Fair. Not just Thursdays, but BIGTHURSDAYS. Politicians – even Presidents and governors – would be entertained. Special events were planned, and the largest crowds of the week were welcomed. An item in the Herald dated September19, 1916 reported: Thursday was traditionally politician’s day when the Governor of New Jersey was always here as well as Congressmen, state and national senators and less importan officials or candidates. Champ Clark who broke the power of Uncle Joe Canon, speaker of the House of Representatives,

  37. Thursdays were always special at the Great Mount Holly Fair. Not just Thursdays, but BIGTHURSDAYS. Politicians – even Presidents and governors – would be entertained. Special events were planned, and the largest crowds of the week were welcomed. An item in the Herald dated September19, 1916 reported: Thursday was traditionally politician’s day when the Governor of New Jersey was always here as well as Congressmen, state and national senators and less importan officials or candidates. Champ Clark who broke the power of Uncle Joe Canon, speaker of the House of Representatives, Vice President Sherman James Sherman was in office from 1909 to1912 as Taft’s V.P.

  38. Thursdays were always special at the Great Mount Holly Fair. Not just Thursdays, but BIGTHURSDAYS. Politicians – even Presidents and governors – would be entertained. Special events were planned, and the largest crowds of the week were welcomed. An item in the Herald dated September19, 1916 reported: Thursday was traditionally politician’s day when the Governor of New Jersey was always here as well as Congressmen, state and national senators and less importan officials or candidates. Champ Clark who broke the power of Uncle Joe Canon, speaker of the House of Representatives, Vice President Sherman and Woodrow Wilson were among the well known visitors. The latter and his family came several times and lunched at the Wills home then at the northeast corner of Ridgeway and High Streets. James Sherman was in office from 1909 to1912 as Taft’s V.P. President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) President from 1913 to 1921, visited the Mt. Holly Fair several times, as did Vice President Sherman.

  39. 1917

  40. Picture at right was taken during an off-season Automobile Mechanics picnics held at the at the fair grounds.

  41. A caption in the local paper under this photo describes the scene at spectators viewing the Vaudeville show on the stage across the track.

  42. Miss Mabelle Esham of Mt. Holly and her prize winning sunflowers… Three-year old trotters racing for the finish line at the judges’ stand. Miss Affection leading, Intermediate Dillon, second and Peter Fellows third.