At its annual meeting on Sunday, September 18 at the Watershed Institute, the Hopewell Valley Historical Society announced award winners and attendees were treated to a talk about the historic Drake house and its most famous inhabitant, Muriel Gardiner Buttinger, who went to Europe to meet Sigmund Freud, fought the nazis with her husband Joseph Buttinger, and finally settled on the grounds of what is now the Watershed Institute.

Windmill at the Drake Farm property

Among the award winners were the entire 2021/22 8th grade class for their work on the Witness Stones project. Their Principal, Nicole Gianfredi told MercerMe: “I am so proud of our Timberlane students and their work with the Witness Stones Project. With the guidance of our social studies teachers, our eighth grade students engaged in research and civic engagement, while restoring the history and honoring the humanity of Friday Truehart. While it was an extraordinary learning opportunity for the students, it was an incredibly impactful experience for everyone at the [Witness Stones] Ceremony.”

You can read more about the Witness Stones project, including student essays, here. In the feature photograph above, student Maren Johnson and Gianfredi accept the award from HVHS President Catherine Granzow (far right) and HVHS Trustee Jim Schragger.

Other awards presented include:

-The David L Blackwell Distinguished Service Award to Pam Cain, who has researched more than 100 historic properties in the Valley and to Carol Erickson, who produced the HVHS newsletter for many years.

The William L. Kidder Public History Awards to Richard W. Hunter, Ph.D, principal of Hunter Research, Inc. in Trenton. Hunter was co-author of the seminal book on Hopewell history “Hopewell: A Historical Geography,” and has been a long-time trustee and past president of the HVHS.

-The Historic Preservation Award to Old School Guitar’s restoration of the Marshalls Corner Schoolhouse.

-Bonita Craft Grant was lauded for her dedication to the HVHS as archivist and Watershed Institute Executive Director Jim Waltman was thanked for providing the Watershed’s Nature Center building for the meeting.

The talk, entitled “An Unlikely Story of a Family Farm and an Undercover Heiress,” about the grounds and Buttinger, was given by Patrick Harshberger, an archeologist and historian at Hunter Research. He has been working for several years on a nomination for the property to the State and National Historic Registers. You can view the talk here.

All of the photos in this article were provided by HVHS Trustee Cheryl Jackson, for which MercerMe is very grateful!

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