Welcome to The Medford Historical Society
The Medford Historical Society is a non-profit organization that supports and promotes Medford NJ's general history, now for over 60 years. Much of who we are and what we do is reflected and featured on this website so we invite you to take some time to look around, find out about our events and activities and consider joining us!
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Kirby's Mill Historic Site
275 Church Rd, Medford NJ 08055

Kirby's Mill was declared a State Historical Site in July of 1971, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Sites in September of 1972. The Medford Historical Society continues to restore the complex to working order so that our generation and future generations can wander back into the past and see part of early Americana. The Mill complex also includes a storage barn, sawyer's house and a carriage barn.

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MHS 2020 Calendar of Events

The Medford Historical Society hosts informative and educational programs and events throughout the year, designed to educate, inspire, and provide a glimpse of Medford NJ's rich history. Click the button below for the current schedule.

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Historic Cross Keys One-Room Schoolhouse
Mill Street, Medford NJ 08055

The Cross Keys School was built circa 1857. It was one of several one-room schoolhouses that provided early schooling for the children of Medford. The school stood near the intersection of Stokes Road and Dixontown Road where McDonald’s is currently situated. The building was moved to its current location on Mill Street in 1976.

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Medford Historical Images Now Online!
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Stop by and visit our new digital archive and browse the galleries. You too can help with the project - review the photos and their captions, click "Share" and send us any additional comments to info@medfordhistory.org.

Click Below to visit the Archives:
Medford Historic Quilt
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Click Here to download a PDF of the Medford 1900 Era Resident Quilt.
Medford was once a Cowtown
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If a certain politician wants to get rid of cows due to flatulence that pollutes the environment, she definitely would have disapproved of Medford in the forties and fifties. At that time there were 37 dairy farms in the township.
Prickett’s Express picked up the cans of “Udder Delight,” and farmers were paid by the creameries where the milk was homogenized and pasteurized. Besides quantity the farmers were paid according to the amount of butter fat in the milk. No 1% and 2% in those days. If you didn’t have a cow, like we did, the milk was delivered by truck to the people of Medford. The only time my family of ten needed this service was when Susie was dry.
No one worked harder than the dairy farmer. He toiled 15 hours a day, 365 days a year. When they were not milking they were sowing hay and corn, baling hay, fixing tractors, and filling silos. On Friday night Medford was filled with farmers who came to town to cash their milk checks at Burlington County National, the only game, pardon me, the only bank in town.
It was quite a chore to lift so many milk cans that held about 50 pounds (yes, it was pounds) of milk. Creameries thought life would be easier if stainless steel tanks that held thousands of pounds were used. Hoses were used to transport the milk to a truck. This was part of the reason that many dairy farms went out of business. To begin with milk prices were low enough and the extra added expense of the tanks put the farmer’s profits in the tank.

Pictured is Albert H. Forsythe at his Locust Lane Farm on Church Road with his prized Guernsey
Albert was the father of Congressman Edwin B. Forsythe (1970-1984). Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge was named in honor of him.

Columbia Bank and MHS Support Medford Police

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Columbia Bank Foundation recently contributed $3889.00 towards the purchase of a new security metal detector to be used by the Medford Police Department. The Medford Historical Society facilitated the transfer of funds. We thank Columbia Bank for their support of the Medford Community!
A 50-year Restoration Project is now open at Kirby's Mill
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After 50 years of restoration, the centuries-old Kirby’s Mill in Medford has reopened to the public.

Visitors can now experience the water-powered millstones grinding corn every second Saturday of each month until October.

The land has been owned by the Medford Historical Society since it acquired the property from the Kirby family in 1969. Since then, members adopted an ambitious goal: to restore the mill as living history. Countless volunteers over five decades took part in engineering complex mechanisms, recasting gears and building a new water wheel.

Over the years, the Society garnered several important grants and awards, including one from the New Jersey Historical Commission and a special 1976 Bicentennial Award.

But even before then, the mill had a long and vast history, one that the MHS hopes to share to the electronic-savvy visitors of today.

“Nowadays, everybody just turns a switch on and something runs. You got to remember back then that without electricity when this mill was started, they depended on the man power,” said the mill’s curator, John Hines.

The mill was completed and opened in 1778, during the Revolutionary War. According to Medford Historical Society records, workmen at the mill could hear the roar of the cannons during battles at Red Bank.

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the mill was grinding flour to ship to markets such as Philadelphia. But since the big factories in the 1920s were able to make loads of flour for a cheaper price, the mill quickly turned to just making animal feed and grinding corn.

Hines said that the mill’s place in living history is testimony to the work of the volunteers since 1969. According to Hines, the work continues as others step up. A more recent contributor, Bill Pflug, is an engineer by profession with many hours on the project. Every second Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., visitors can witness this team happily at work.

“Bill has unselfishly applied his expert engineering skills in so many ways to help bring the grinding operation back to life,” Hines said. “He’s been invaluable to us.”

Included in what the multi-generational crew accomplished over these five decades to get the mill working was re-establishing the water course from the mill pond, to the mill race to the water wheel. They also replaced the water wheel, the driving force for complex mechanisms, according to MHS. Gears were recast and restored, including adding wooden teeth to the principal massive gear for a simpler replacement in case of breakage. Even a new foundation had to be built just to hold the building in place.

The Society maintains an extensive calendar of popular annual events, including Apple Festival, House Tours, Quilt Show, Flea Market, Country Day and more. These sustain the mill project as well as the Society’s other undertakings.

The group also has restored the Historic Cross Keys One-Room School House where volunteers demonstrate education history to local schoolchildren. More information about all of these projects, events and open dates can be found on the Society’s web site www.medfordhistory.org.

The Sun Newspapers
(click each to download)
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Medford Historical Society, PO Box 362, Medford NJ © 2020 MHS ~ Website by Vdesigned.com
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