Where: Historic Speedwell, Morristown
More Info: Admission fees apply. Season: April - October.
Hours of operation: April-June: Wed to Sat 10am-5pm
July-October: Wed-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12-5pm.
Last tour begins at 3:30pm. Guided tours are available of the Vail Home, Factory Building and the Wheelhouse.
Historic Speedwell is a National Historic Landmark and also the birthplace of the telegraph. The village is located on Speedwell Avenue (U.S. Route 202) north of Morristown. Part of the site was formerly an ironworks which came under the ownership of Stephen Vale in 1815. He expanded the works and produced machinery for agricultural and industrial needs. The ironworks closed in 1873.
Vale purchased the adjacent lot which contains nine buildings, including the Vail Homestead, a granary and a carriage house. The buildings are furnished to resemble 19th century decor. The Vale House contains original furniture and artifacts owned by the family. For more information on the village click here.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the village is the Old Factory building where Stephen Vale and Samuel Morse developed the first electric telegraph. This profound invention revolutionized the speed of communication and was demonstrated to an excited public on January 11, 1838. The telegraph had a range of two miles without the use of a repeater. Inside the Factory Building is a new exhibit which tells the story of the development of the telegraph. Various telegraph models are on display. To learn more about Samuel Morse and the story of the telegraph, visit the official website.
The official website offers visitors the opportunity to "experience life during the early years of the Industrial Revolution and dawn of a new era in communications during the mid 19th century through guided tours, special events, programs, and exhibits."
Why not take your family to Historic Speedwell?
Take Route 80 West to Rt. 202 South into Morristown. Historic Speedwell is on Route 202, pay attention to the signs.