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Facebook Fort Lee: Images of Past Through Technology of Today

The Fort Lee Historical Society hopes to collect high-resolution images of Fort Lee’s past from Facebook users to create a Fall 2013 Fort Lee Museum exhibit.

The houses the Fort Lee Historical Society and Fort Lee Film Commission archives, and from these archival photos, documents and artifacts we create about four exhibits a year in our museum on Palisade Avenue. But we are always in search of additions to the collections to create new exhibits and to preserve our collective past. 

Thus, we have trolled the seas of eBay, visited countless antique stores, including our friend Jim Episale’s wonderful Unshredded Nostalgia in Barnegat, NJ, and searched through the attics and basements of homes in Fort Lee when invited to do so by their owners. 

Among the many additions we have acquired over the past few years is a pre-Civil War hope chest of Eliza Ann Rutter, who lived in Fort Lee in the 1850s and died as a young girl. The hope chest, containing objects she made and items she held dear, was donated to the Fort Lee Historical Society by former Fort Lee resident Rich Rutter. 

This rare and wonderful piece gives us a glimpse of what life was like in Fort Lee for a young girl in the 1850s. We have had this item on display in the past, and we invited local Girl Scout troops to view the piece so they could see, in a way, what life was like for a girl their age in their own town more than 150 years ago.

However many items, specifically rare photos of Fort Lee, have been scattered across the country, as people have moved out of the borough. Technology now has given us a magnet-like phenomenon that has brought these photos back to us here in Fort Lee over the past few years, and that magnet is Facebook

Several years ago, the daughter of former Mayor Henry Hoebel was in town caring for her mother. We met at the annual , and she told me to get on a new facebook site called I grew up in Fort Lee.

She said more than 1,000 people, mostly former residents, are on the site, posting wonderful photos and memories. I immediately signed up, and since that time have reconnected with my own past via the memories of others and their wonderful photo collections.

The Fort Lee Historical Society, of which I am a member, hopes to collect high-resolution images with the owners’ permission to create a Fall 2013 Fort Lee Museum exhibit, "Facebook Fort Lee."

We would display all of these wonderful "new" photos of "old" Fort Lee and give credit to the individuals who lend us these images from their Facebook postings.  I will, as I do each week, post this archives piece on the Facebook site I grew up in Fort Lee in hopes that some of those posting photos will not only give us permission to display some of their photos in the exhibit, but also agree to send us high resolution images because the ones posted on the site aren’t of the necessary resolution to enlarge to the degree we need for an exhibit at the Fort Lee Museum.

I have posted some images available on Facebook of Fort Lee from many sources, including our own Facebook postings from the Fort Lee Historical Society and Fort Lee Film Commission collection. 

Please help us bring some of these wonderful images home to Fort Lee so we can celebrate our communal past in a new vibrant way via Facebook.

Fort Lee Truth August 24, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Tom, great job as always with your article. Whenever I drive Lemoine, despite the time elapsed, I still expect to see Dairy Queen and Callahan's there. The Dairy Queen was a place where Fort Lee residents of all ages went, despite the long lines, and hung out in the parking lot. On weekends, it was a given that you would see someone you knew and strike up a conversation. I don't think we have any eatery with that "community feeling" right now. The closest would be Hiram's.
Tom Meyers August 24, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Thank goodness for Hirams! Thanks for the kind words. I recall my father used to buy our Xmas trees at the Dairy Queen because during the holidays they sold Xmas trees, wreaths etc. And last year some local boys set up a Xmas tree stand at Hirams just like the old days!
Fort Lee Truth August 25, 2012 at 02:10 AM
You're welcome. There are two photos of Hiram's dating back to the 1950's with a side view of Hiram's. One of which was taken just after a major snowstorm as Lemoine Avenue is visible (but all white). I am sure that Pete and Esco wouldn't mind you scanning it.
Tom Meyers August 25, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Great! Lou Azzollini is the Historical Society VP and he is a graphic artist who scans the photos for our collection so I will tell him so he can go up to the boys at Hirams and ask - thanks!
Baba O'Riley August 27, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Tom, keep up this type of great work!

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