Sussex County History Today
By Bill Truran, Sussex County Historian.
Sussex County Historical Marker Program
One of the most important, and exciting, parts of being the Sussex County Historian is the opportunity to review and award historical markers for sites which are of significant value to our county.
The Historical Marker program for this year for Sussex County will begin soon. On February 18, 2023 the site will open for the call for applications. The site will close for applications on June 30, 2023. The location for the applications will be available on my Sussex County History website at https://www.sussex.nj.us/cn/webpage.cfm?tpid=17045
Judging will be done during July by a panel of Sussex County leading historians. Winners will be awarded on the first Saturday night at the New Jersey State (Sussex County) Fair in Augusta at the County Building, taking place about two hours before the Queen of the Fair event. There are usually a limit of three markers each year.
Many of the county historical societies, in particular, are eager to send in applications for significant historical features in their area. Municipalities have also shown interest in getting their precious properties displayed in the form of the markers.
Currently there are about 40 markers throughout our historically rich Sussex County. One is shown here to illustrate the color and layout of the markers. This one is for Goldsmith Maid; by reading the words you can understand how the outstanding accomplishments of this horse made it “The Queen of the Trotters.” At a time in the late 1800s when horse racing, in the form of trotters, was exceedingly popular she was a figure known around the world. A historical article on her will be coming soon. Other historical markers will be highlighted over time.
One benefit of these markers is that half the cost of the markers is funded by the county. Those who are awarded the markers pay half the cost while the county creates a purchase order for the other half of the cost. The county will monitor the making and delivery of the marker to the county garage, and then the county will install the marker on the approved ground at the site.
It makes my day when an enthusiastic historical society, for example, submits a winning proposal. The word spreads quickly through their organization when they realize that the work on the proposal, and the significance of the site, are recognized. They will usually have a public event to celebrate the installation. This makes for many happy Sussex County citizens and is a vivid example of how history is alive today.
We look forward to submittals for 2023!
Bill Truran, Sussex County Historian