Daily Life at the Passaic River

Archaeological analysis of the Stanley Park Site in Chatham, New Jersey.


Daily Life at Passaic River

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, how 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.

The Digital Archaeology class of the Fall 2021 semester created a list of 16 objects that represent daily life at the Stanley Park site. Artifacts were chosen from the East and West sides of the region and were then divided into four categories: Fashion, Children, Food, and Hygiene.

Below are the artifact images and descriptions. For more information on the artifacts found at Stanley Park, visit our Omeka page: https://historyofchathamnj.omeka.net/

Here are advertisements from some of the artifacts that were found at the site. Some of these advertisements are for medicine, food, or fashion related products. Click on each image to enlarge the photo.

Below is additional information on the Stanley Park Site, which includes an interactive StoryMaps that outlines where some of the artifacts at the site were made, a timeline of the history of Chatham, NJ and the Stanley Felt Paper Mill, and our class TikTok page.