From even before its incorporation in 1901 till today, Roselle Park has long been a community of dedicated volunteers. Our borough has blossomed from the labors of hard-working and altruistic neighbors throughout the years who wanted to build a better future. Although a lot of that volunteerism might not get duly noticed, the accomplishments made are certainly appreciated, even if they are sometimes taken for granted. If you look at our crest you might glance at a lightbulb on the right and think, what does that have to do with volunteerism or even our town. Well, it all began with Thomas Edison in 1882.
Yes, that Thomas Edison.
Back then, the streets of Roselle Park looked much like the street in the photograph above of Stone’s Store. More on that in a little bit.
Edison and his team of skilled workers – he called them “MUCKERS” – who came from all over the world for the opportunity to work with him, were paid very little and sometimes not at all. They volunteered many hours just for the opportunity to work beside him.
A year later, in 1883, Edison persuaded shop owner Charles Stone to let him wire his grocery/butcher shop with his ‘new fangled lamp’, which other townsmen feared. Simply called Stone’s Store, Charles Stone commented that the lighting was much improved in the store. It is reportedly the first store in the world to be lit by Thomas Edison’s carbon filament prototype electric light; and it was right on Westfield Avenue, right by where the Family Dollar store is currently located.
Since that time, Roselle Park’s volunteer spirit has both lit the way for our future and shone a spotlight on what has come before us. It is important to know where we came from in order to know where we are going.
In that vein, the members and friends of the Roselle Park Historical Society have dedicated their volunteer time to preserve and protect the history of our borough. At the Roselle Park Museum, located at 9 West Grant Avenue right off of Chestnut Street, the volunteer members through the utilization of their extensive archives provide services to our community. They provide reference and research services as well as genealogical and educational experiences to the residents. In taking on the job of being the caretakers our history, they safeguard our future.
And they are just one of countless volunteers throughout our Borough’s history. That Roselle Park volunteer spirit is evident all across our borough. As Parkers, we lead by example. Believe it or not, many of you reading this are some of the best examples of that spirit. It is not about doing things to get noticed, it is about doing things to shape our borough. From Muckers to Parkers, our volunteer spirit remains one of the strongest parts of our community. Some would say it is the heart of our community.
And today, March 22nd, 2015 – also known as ‘Roselle Park Day’ – that heart beats strong.
Happy 114th Birthday Roselle Park!