Sunday, August 30, 2009

Neptune City - Swallowed up by another town!

Neptune City, New Jersey
As the United States grew so did the imagination of our ancestors with the names of their new communities. In 1881, the citizens in this community chose a Greek god for their town’s name. The town is located near the Atlantic Ocean and much of the economy at the time was based upon the ocean traffic. Neptune being the Greek god of the ocean seemed to be a logical choice. During this period, it was not unusual for towns to be named after mythical gods or legends. Other communities used names like Hercules, Venus, Jupiter and even Mars as names. Neptune City grew tremendously in land area. In 1900, the New Jersey legislature annexed much of the city and created a new township. Oddly enough, the town that swallowed up the land from Neptune City was named “Avon by the Sea”! The name “Avon” is a Welsh term meaning “river”.
Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tuxedo, NY and the Tuxedo

In 1886, Pierre Lorillard IV built an exclusive country club here. He named it the “Tuxedo Club”. It was a private country club and only exclusive socialites were included in its membership. One of its members was wealthy millionaire, James Potter. Potter was friends with Edward VII of England, the Prince of Wales. The Prince fancied Potter’s wife, Cora, and invited both of them to come visit him in England. Potter was impressed with Edward’s smoking jacket. The Prince replied that it was manufactured by the Henry Poole Company in England and that the company had exclusively designed it for him. Potter liked the Prince’s suit so well that he had a duplicate made. When Potter returned to his hometown to show it off, his wealthy friends at the Tuxedo County Club were ecstatic. It was such a hit that all of the country club members started sporting this new fashion in apparel and the tuxedo became the popular attire for the club’s social events. Later, other wealthy American socialites joined in on the new fashion. However, no one knows for sure how impressed Cora Potter was with the Prince of Wale’s tuxedo. I guess only the Prince and Cora know!
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress