Simpson Ave at Wesley Place
Boasting both water and gas piped to cottages and public areas, the early facility infrastructure of this little city in the forest was far ahead of some larger and more pretentious towns.
Witness this street view looking up Wesley Place, named after the founder of Methodism John Wesley. The writer for the Mt. Tabor Daily Record could have been commenting on just such a scene at the opening of the 1877 season: “There are now just one hundred cottages upon the grounds. Those first erected were plain, unpretentious structures, contrived solely for comfort and rest, and not with a view to ornamentation. But as they began to increase after several years, some ambitious ones, with a taste for architectural beauty, began to improve upon their neighbors in the exterior appearance and interior arrangements of their dwellings, and this pleasant rivalry has continued to the present, the result of which is that many elegant villas now adorn the grounds, causing many of the original builders to engage in extensive remodelings in order to keep pace with their progressive brethren.”
In 1877 this cottage at 24 Wesley Place was described, “Mrs. Pell, of Morristown, occupies a roomy and a pretty cottage, corner of Simpson Avenue, which is dignified with a bay window and other appendages. A rockery surmounted with flowers, two moss covered stumps, and a little plot, every inch of which displays taste in floral ornamentation, add greatly to the exterior.”
A later view looking up Wesley Place from Simpson Avenue. In August of 1877, the cottages were described from the left: “It is a good-sized prepossessing building, with balcony in front and rear, and the grounds about it abounding in tasteful floral ornamentation, are in keeping with the many others on this most beautiful avenue.” The second from the left: “…belonging to President Campbell, and occupied by his daughter, Mrs. Clark. It possesses attractive architectural form, now, and comfortable arrangements, and a convenient basement beneath.”
This early postcard shows the main thoroughfare of Simpson Avenue looking north. The Tabernacle is shown on the right side and the Camp Meeting Association office, the stone house, and the old firehouse are on the left side. In the middle of the street is an oval planted with trees and shrubs.
A writer for the Mt. Tabor Daily Record described the facilities in 1877, “…the cottages and public places are supplied with the purest water conducted to them through pipes. On the lower part of the premises is a commodious house where gas is generated and sent to all quarters in a similar manner. In these two respects, particularly, this little city in the forest is far ahead of some towns we know of much greater proportions and pretensions.”
This 1952 photograph taken from a similar vantagepoint show the same three buildings years later with little change but the addition of the Hudson Hornet driving the royal court in preparation of a Children’s Day parade through town.
Turning to face south on Simpson Avenue, you are positioned for this street view. On the far left are two cottages with the Arlington Hotel in the distance. The building on the right was described in the newspaper in 1877 as “…on Simpson Avenue, is the general store, the keeper of which is Mr. John Arndt, of Dover, who, although he enjoys a monopoly of the business done in his line, is yet so reasonable in his dealings, that all commend his way of doing business by giving him their patronage. Over this store are lodgings for about sixteen persons.” Just beyond the store, “is the refreshment tent, kept by W. F. Day, of Morristown, one of the most successful caterers in his line in the State.”