Arts, culture, ideas & expression of a few wild art monkeys living in an arts loft in Jersey City.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

660 studios celebrates 10yr anniversary. Coming Soon!

Next month 660 Grand st will reach 10yrs under the guidance of the arts. Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet and work a broad range of strange and talented folks looking for a creative space to work out of. Some time between Nov Jan we will be hosting an anniversary event. Stay tuned for details. 660's EARLY HISTORY Ol Helga as I like refer to her is over 206 yrs old and used to be known as MAX Lumber Mill. It was here that the unspoiled logs were turned into useable lumber for construction. Much of the land around 660 was bare back then. The Neighborhood- Across the street sat Whitlock Cordage. The Whitlock Cordage Company was among Jersey City's nationally recognized industrial businesses during the early twentieth century. It once manufactured what many considered to be the world’s finest and strongest rope. Today the company's former complex is part of the Morris Canal Redevelopment Area in the historic Lafayette neighborhood surrounded by cobblestone courtyards and the Rev. Dr. Ercel F. Webb Park. Down the block near The Junction is what we now refer to as Library Lofts. Before that and when I first got here 10 yrs back it was a carpet store,but after serious restoration and renovation it feels like it may have gotten some of the splendor back from its days as Library Hall. Library Hall was built in 1866 to provide a meeting place and town hall for the municipality of Bergen, an area founded by Peter Styuvessant in the 1600’s when the Dutch first settled around Manhattan Island and New York Harbor. I've been told that President Lincoln gave a speech there and that it served as this areas City Jail for a short time as well. Across the street/behind Whitlock Cordage was the (now defunct) Morris Canal, which was the path of the underground railroad. Some escaped slaves went into New York City, some stayed on the west side of the Hudson and went into Nyack after passing through this area which was also home to the Lenape Tribe. At the time of European settlement in the 17th century Communipaw was the site of the summer encampament and counsel fire of the Hackensack Indians. They, along with the Raritan, Tappan, Wecquaesgeek, Canarsee and other groups who circulated in the region were collectively known as the River Indians by the immigrating population. Communipaw is the site of one the earliest European settlements in North America. From what I heard 660 had been built as a wood mill and served as one under different names over the years before becoming abandoned. If this is true that would mean 660 Grand stood when President Abraham Lincoln was here giving his speech and being he was a man always affiliated with an axe and logging... I will reach far out enough to speculate Mr Lincoln maybe even toured the old mill on Grand street. Whose to say for sure? But until I hear otherwise I will imagine the late great Prez drawn to the smell of freshly sawn lumber and taking a stroll on by.

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