Edison Concrete Mile, Franklin Township, 100th Anniversary, June 2, 2012

Edison Concrete Mile, Franklin Township, 100th Anniversary, June 2, 2012

Has anyone been aware of this event or is anyone planning to go?

"The 100th anniversary of the Edison Concrete Mile will be held on June 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bread Lock Park, located one mile west of New Village on Route 57 behind OK 4 Wheel Drive. Rain date on June 3. This event is presented by the Franklin Township Historical Commission with Greenwich Township Historical Society, The Highlands Project and Warren County Morris Canal Committee. There will be a tour of antique cars to travel through the countryside ending with a drive over the Concrete Mile starting at 10 a.m. There will be an antique car show, food, lectures, exhibits and entertainment throughout the day. For more information, call Brenda Higgins of the Franklin Township Historical Commission at 908-689-3994, ext. 55."

The following link from "The Historical Marker Database" describes the "Edison Concrete Mile".
From the above webpage is the following caption:
"Thomas Alva Edison, 1847-1931
The Concrete Mile: Franklin Township is the proud home of the first concrete highway in New Jersey,and one of the first in America. It was made in 1912 from Edison Portland Cement manufactured in New Village, New Jersey."

Re: Edison Concrete Mile, Franklin Township, 100th Anniversary, June 2, 2012

by the way dont forget that Thomas Edison also built concrete houses in Phillipsburg NJ...and also believed in concrete furniture because it would never wear out... I have enclosed a picture of an Edison concrete house...also all the concrete that was used to build the original Yankee Stadium in NYC...came from Edisons Warren county NJ quarries

oldman oldman
May '12

Now THAT is interesting oldman!

Peggy C. Peggy C.
May '12

While visiting the Concrete Mile on 57, enjoy a hot dog and ice cream cone at Home Plate Dairy ... an unpaid testimonial from a happy customer.

Andy Loigu Andy Loigu
May '12


Valley View in Phillipsburg. Don't forget to stop by and say Hi! to Gino at Gino's Market! Best Subs in Warren County!

Re: Edison Concrete Mile, Franklin Township, 100th Anniversary, June 2, 2012


1. The Edison Portland Cement Company--The original Yankee Stadium
From the above webpage is the following excerpt:
"The Edison Portland Cement Co. provided the concrete for the original 1923 stadium, a concrete so “hard and durable,” says sportswriter Tom Verducci in a recent Sports Illustrated piece, that New York City decided “not to touch it” during the 1973-74 renovation."

2. The Edison Portland Cement Company--House Model and House Construction and the original Yankee Stadium
From the above webpage is the following excerpt:
"Edison investigated the use of formwork molds that could repeatedly be used to create concrete houses, experimenting in 1910 by casting a garage and a gardener's cottage at his mansion in New Jersey. He decided to donate the patents to qualified builders rather than retain them himself, generating significant publicity in the process."

Re: Edison Concrete Mile, Franklin Township, 100th Anniversary, June 2, 2012

here is a picture of Thomas Edison with a model of his concrete house...he had high hopes for this endeavor

oldman oldman
May '12

Re: Edison Concrete Mile, Franklin Township, 100th Anniversary, June 2, 2012

an early picture of the Concrete Mile...

oldman oldman
May '12

This picture in my earlier post is of an Edison concrete house under construction.

That is a gorgeous model of a house. I assume it was never built?

Rebecka Rebecka
May '12

Re: Edison Concrete Mile, Franklin Township, 100th Anniversary, June 2, 2012

yes they were built in Phillipsburg and Union NJ...but the houses never became very popular...and the construction methods to build them were very difficult...they had to be built by setting up complex molds to pour the concrete...I have enclosed a picture of an Edison cement house under construction

oldman oldman
May '12

Oldman. Thanks for the picture of the concrete house under construction. It is the same picture as I posted above...but with the extra helpful information. Everyone should go to the webpage links I posted above for even more details. Also, if you do a "Search" on "Thomas Edison cement Yankee stadium" you will find these pictures and even more interesting information. Edison was an amazing human being.

History detectives, did a show on the concrete houses and a professor at Centenary college was interviewed for it. PM me for more information.

alpha1beta alpha1beta
May '12

Unless it is somehow private information, you should post the information you have regarding the "History Detectives" show on concrete houses for everyone to enjoy. I am sure there are a lot of people who would love to know which "History Detectives" show it was and any other information you have.

Shafer - it's not necessarily private, but copyrighted. PBS shows have what ever information is sharable on their web site:



Thank you for your excellent update and thoughts. Your link is further great information about Edison's concrete houses and will help us all learn even more about our area and Thomas Edison.

I think that you (GC) have provided the exact information about which "alpha1beta" is talking. On your link, there is the an icon hyperlink to the "transcript" (it says "PDF. Download this transcript") of the show which you (GC) have so graciously provided. Here is the PDF show "transcript" link about the Edison concrete house in Union, NJ. This PDF can easily be downloaded and saved.

This PDF "transcript" of the concrete house show talks only of the specific concrete house in Union, NJ and information provided to the owner of that house. There is nothing in the transcript of the show from your link about any concrete houses in Phillipsburg.

However, the good news from the PDF "transcript" is that Gwen Wright, the "History Detective" on this show, interviewed a "Dr. Raymond Frey", a history professor at Centenary College. The transcript shows the exact interview with Dr. Frey. Here is a link describing Dr. Raymond Frey.
Here is an excerpt from the above webpage about Dr. Frey:
"Frey has appeared in two television documentaries about New Jersey history: "Teaching Over Time," a film about the history of New Jersey education produced by New Jersey Network and an episode of "The History Detectives" about Thomas Edison, produced by PBS."

Here is one excerpt from the Gwen Wright interview with Dr. Frey which sheds some light on Edison's other ideas for concrete:
"Raymond: Well he didn’t just try to make houses out of concrete; he talked about making concrete furniture, concrete beds, concrete phonograph consoles–even a concrete piano. It didn’t work out at all and of course, the press had a field day with this. If you look these are some of the editorial cartoons of concrete pianos and concrete chairs."

Here is a comment from Gwen Wright connecting indicating that the concrete Union, NJ was built by Charles Ingersoll.
"Gwen: The last article I found revealed that the Union homes were the first single-mold, single-poured concrete houses built by Charles Ingersoll in 1917."

Some Ingersoll-Rand (Phillipsburg, NJ) history which does not include Charles Ingersoll:
"In 1871, Simon Ingersoll founded Ingersoll Rock Drill Company in New York. In 1905 Ingersoll-Sargeant Drill Company merged with the Rand Drill Company to form Ingersoll Rand."

Therefore, from the above transcript, I assume that your link is exactly the information about which "alpha1beta" is talking.

Again, thank you for the excellent information. Let us know if you find more information.

P.S. I am not sure who "Schafer" is. Not me. I want to clarify so we don't get "Schafer" in any trouble. :-)

Re: Edison Concrete Mile, Franklin Township, 100th Anniversary, June 2, 2012

when I look at all the things that Thomas Edison accomplished...I have to wonder what more could have been produced...if he and Nikola Tesla...did not have a parting of the ways...Edison also tried his hand at iron mining...and established an iron refining facility in a small town named Edison near Ogdensburg New Jersey...his failure at iron refining...lead to his involvment in producing cement...one more thing he was way ahead of his time with...was his interest in electric cars that featured re-chargable batteries...

oldman oldman
May '12

Re: Edison Concrete Mile, Franklin Township, 100th Anniversary, June 2, 2012

here are Thomas Edisons attempts at concrete furniture...his phonographs...they were displayed around the country...but never really caught on...

oldman oldman
May '12

I will be at the celebration on Saturday. Please stop by and I would be glad to talk about Edison's adventures in concrete and my appearance on the History Detectives.

Raymond Frey Raymond Frey
May '12

Davey Werkhiser here. Ex Mayor of Franklin Twp Warren County. I am so proud to be part of the entertainment on June 2nd. I will be performing with my Davey & The Waverunners Duo and Emceeing the event. Back in the 90's Dick Harpster approached me, (may he rest in peace) and asked me if I could persuade the committee to put back the concrete mile highway signs. Back in the 60's they were the large plywood signs that commemorated the highway. Somewhere in the 80's the state inenvertently took them down. Through the committee and myself we had the state put signs back up. They were tiny but served the purpose if you were sitting at a picnic table. But unfortunately, we never got a chance to put a picnic table there. Then Brenda Higgins and the Franklin Twp historic commission took the bull by the horns and put up the signs you see today. The reason I tell you this story is to thank them for finishing the work to commemorate this fine piece of history. Dick Harpster would be proud.

Davey Werkhiser Davey Werkhiser
May '12

I got to know Dick Harpster and had him on the Centenary campus many times. He was a great journalist and historian and a wonderful story teller. He absolutely thrilled my students when he came to my classes. Thanks Davey--looking forward to meeting you on Saturday.

Raymond Frey Raymond Frey
May '12

I grew up in a concrete house in Valley View. What do you guys wanna know?

iPhone-imal iPhone-imal
May '12

Edison experimented with concrete buildings on his own estate property. The garage and greenhouse potting shed he constructed are still standing and in great condition. They're part of the Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, where I've been fortunate to serve as a volunteer.

To settle a common misperception, the houses in Union and Phillipsburg were not built by Edison, but by Charles Ingersoll, who used Edison molds and concrete. Edison saw that he would make little money in construction; rather, the profit was to be made on the cement. He basically gave away the molds to developers in order to create a market for Portland cement. (This theory is much like the printer-and-ink marketing concept, where manufacturers sell you a cheap printer and expect to make their profit when you have to keep returning for comparatively expensive replacement ink cartridges for the life of the printer.) It's a shrewd business model -- he had relatively small upfront costs and didn't have to deal with the ups and downs of the real estate marketplace.

Ingersoll had the Phillipsburg houses built for the workers at his nearby plant. Proposing that the houses could be sold for $1200, Edison had originally declared they would be a suitable replacement for slum housing. The guy was a great marketer in so many ways, but he apparently didn't realize (or care?) that his characterization would insult many people who were looking for affordable housing.

Edison's Portland Cement business didn't turn a profit until it got the contract to supply the builders of Yankee Stadium.

Sue K. Sue K.
Jun '12

"I grew up in a concrete house in Valley View. What do you guys wanna know? iPhone-imal"

iPhone-imal: We would love to know everything about the concrete house in Valley View (i.e. Phillipsburg?). Just for starters:
--How was the house heated? In one webpage, I believe it said that the heating ducts were pre-formed in the house.
--Was the house warm enough in the winter?
--How was the water, gas, etc. piped through the concrete?
--Of what material and fabrication were the inside walls made?
--What problems did you have because of the house being made of concrete?
--How long did you live there (i.e. your age span)?
--Did any guests indicate that they wanted a similar concrete house?
--Were you the original owners?
--Can you share the actual Phillipsburg Valley View address?
--Why did you move (if you did)? Was your move because of the problems of a concrete house?
--Do you know if anyone is living in your concrete house today? If "yes", do you know them or visit with them or keep in touch to see how the house is holding up?
--Any other information, thoughts, experiences that you had about the concrete house while growing up in that concrete house will be appreciated. Your first-hand knowledge will enlighten us all.
"Thank you" in advance for your answers and information.

Anyone going to this event?

Re: Edison Concrete Mile, Franklin Township, 100th Anniversary, June 2, 2012

another endeavor Thomas Edison was involved with was railroad electrification...Edison oversaw the installation of the Lackawanna Railroads electric multiple unit railway passenger service. the service was installed from Hoboken to Dover and Gladstone...Thomas Edison was at the throttle of the first electric train to stop at Montclair station in 1931...I have enclosed a picture of Edison at the start of electric train service in 1930...those electric trains served until 1984...thats a testimonial to his work..

oldman oldman
Jun '12

"That is a gorgeous model of a house. I assume it was never built?

May 28th"

As far as I know, no. But the closest thing to it exists at 303 North Mountain Ave
in Upper Montclair, NJ


zoom in and switch between aerial and birds eye view a few times and you
should get a very clear birds eye view with no foilage on the tree. Obviously it
was added onto in the back.

History of it is here


which I excerpted below

"Frank D. Lambie ended up as president of an outfit called the American Building Corp. American Building rose to prominence in the early 20th century by becoming the premier builder of concrete houses in the US.

Thomas Edison dreamed up the idea of building houses out of poured concrete. Pouring the walls eliminated the need for framing, siding, insulation and interior finishes. All the owner had to do was paint the inside and outside. Of course, the owners could finish the inside walls if they didn't want to stare at concrete.

Concrete was fire-proof, supposedly weather-proof and, according to the advertisements, supposed to last for 1000 years. Pipes and electrical conduits could be cast right into the walls as they were being poured. The Edison Co. provided the designs and supplied the concrete.
American Building developed the molds.

Frank's company, American Building built the first concrete house ever in Montclair in 1909, at 420 Valley Road. Three years later they put up another one at 303 North Mountain (not from Frank's - and now your - house). They built hundreds of concrete houses all over the world and sold the molds so other construction companies could build them. I believe the house on North Mountain is on the registry of Historic American Buildings."

Jim T Jim T
Jun '12

Re: Edison Concrete Mile, Franklin Township, 100th Anniversary, June 2, 2012

Photo of 303 North Mountain Ave, Upper Montclair, NJ

Jim T Jim T
Jul '12

Re: Edison Concrete Mile, Franklin Township, 100th Anniversary, June 2, 2012

it has not been mentioned on this thread yet...but Thomas Edison was very good friends with Henry Ford...in fact Henry Ford actually worked for one of Edisons power companies...and was introduced to Edison at a business function...and Edison encouraged Henry Fords work with automobiles...they were great friends for life

oldman oldman
Jul '12

Love the picture, oldman.

You can see Edison's lab recreated at Ford's Greenfield Village. You might even say they were collaborators.

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