Map of Fosterfields
1. Crop Fields and Pastures. During 1915-1925, Fosterfields continued to be a breeding farm for Jersey cattle as it had been since 1881. Foster’s cows needed many good crops such as oats, rye, corn, hay and clover to keep them producing their butterfat -rich milk. Each cow could eat up to 7 tons of grain each year. Potatoes and vegetables were also raised for the family and for market.
2. Corn Cribs. These two small structures are used for drying and storing field corn, which is then shelled and cracked to feed the animals. The cribs are built up off the ground to keep rodents from getting to the corn.The slatted sides allow air to pass through to dry the corn more quickly and thoroughly. These corn cribs were built by the Fosters after 1915 and can each store about 500 bushels of corn.
3. Chicken Coop. This coop was reconstructed in 1987 using an 1890s design to replace the Fosters’ original chicken house. Mr. Foster raised up to 200 chickens for both meat and eggs. In addition to his coop, Foster kept an incubator in the basement of his home, The Willows, where he hatched chickens,turkeys, and ducks.
4. Granary, Sheep & Hog Pens. The taller portion of this building is the historic granary, used by the Fosters for processing, mixing, and storing grain. Note the cat door, which allowed the barn cat easy access to rodents. Beneath the lower roof arethe hog and sheep pens. The small engine roomprojecting into the lower barnyard originally housed a steam engine that powered a water pump, wood saw, and ensilage cutter inside the granary. Later,in 1915, a gas engine was installed to do this work.
5. In Refurbishment
6. Three-Sided Shed and Ring Power. This shed was built in the 1930s on what remained of the foundation of a much larger 19th-century barn. Today, the shed protects historic farm machinery used in ongoing demonstrations. The Ring Power, the mechanism to the right of the shed, transfers a walking horse’s power to spin a shaft that is then used to runbelt-driven farm machines.
7. Main Barn. Although remodeled by the Fosters in the early 1920s, this bank barn has 18th -century origins.The wide doorway with a dirt ramp allowed the farmers to drive a wagon full of hay directly inside to be unloaded. A mechanized hoist and hay fork ran along the full length of the peak helping the farmers stack the barn full of hay. The lower barn houses our draft horses and our Jersey cows and is used for milking demonstrations every afternoon.
8. Carriage House. This structure displays some of the Foster carriages and a sleigh. Included are a spring wagon, a Runabout used for basic transportation, and Caroline’s sporty Tandem Gig, used for fox hunting. In the late 1890s, this building was used as a Republican voting place.
9. Creamery. The lower level of this structure, the spring house, was a cool area for chilling and storing milk. The upper level was a bunkhouse for men hired by the month. Miss Foster remembered that these men were paid $15.00 a month in the early 1900s. “Back then, men knew how to milk a cow - now they wouldn’t know which end bit and which end kicked,” she said at age 90. Cream separation and other dairy processing such as butter making also took place here.
10. The 1920’s Farmhouse. From 1918-1927, this house was the home of the Farm Superintendent, Edward Woods, and his family. The original 1770s house burned down in 1915 and was rebuilt later that year. During the Revolutionary War, this site might have served as General Knox’s headquarters for the park of artillery from 1779-1780. The first floor has been restored and is open to the public. Restroom are located in the basement.
11. Pond. A cool brook always ran through this part of the farm. This pond, however, is a relatively modern feature of the farm, built in the 1950s at Caroline Foster’s request.
12. Road to Jacob Arnold’s. This driveway was formerly a public road that followed the existing driveway’s path from Mendham Road up past The Willows and over the hill into Washington Valley where Jacob Arnold, a prominent 18th-century resident, had built his home. When Mr. Foster expanded Fosterfields by buying the neighboring farm (now the pasture west of the stone arch), the road was closed to the public.
13. Stone Arch Wall. This Gothic style arch and stone wall date from the 1850s when Joseph Warren Revere (the man who built The Willows) owned the property. Some documents suggest that the arch and walls may have been part of a large grapery planted by Revere. Revere had become interested in vineyards during his military service in California.
14. The Willows This Gothic Revival home was built in 1854 by Joseph Warren Revere, grandson of Paul Revere. Joseph Revere became a Major General in the Morris County Militia and at the outbreak of the Civil War was appointed Colonel of the 7th New Jersey Infantry. Severe war injuries forced his move into Morristown in 1872. The property was then rented to Bret Harte, author of Luck of Roaring Camp, who gathered material for a book while living here. In 1879, Charles Foster rented the house for 3 seasons and purchased it and the property in 1881.
15. The Ice House. This hexagonal outbuilding was built by Revere to complement his Gothic Revival home. The ice house’s board and batten construction is typical of Gothic architecture. Ice was cut from the pond across Mendham Road and stored in this building for use in The Willows. Miss Foster remembered that farm workers had to cut the cakes of ice to fit in the ice house, an impractical step demanded by the building’s unusual shape. Over 20 tons of ice were kept in this house yearly by using sawdust (and the workers’ occasional errant “tobacco juice”) as insulation.
16. Willows Wood Shed This outbuilding dates from the time of Revere and was used to store wood. It had a bell, still visible above the roof of the building, to call farm workers to lunch or to signal emergencies on the farm or at the house. Originally an open shed, the front of the building was enclosed by the Fosters.
17. 1920’s Garage This building was built about 1927 by Caroline Foster to house her 1922 Model T Ford, her first car. She received the car on Christmas, 1922, from her friends. Fifty years later, she still remembered the feeling of independence she had with that car. She also remembered her father’s initial reaction to seeing the family’s first motorized vehicle, “Tell [them] to take [their]...contraption back.”
18. The Reservoir Fosterfields had an elaborate water system. The mounded reservoir at the top of this wooded hill stored water pumped up from the cistern under the granary. From this reservoir, water was gravity fed into another cistern located under The Willows’ kitchen. From there it was pumped up to yet another cistern located in the attic. It was then gravity fed into the bathrooms and kitchen.
19. The Cottage Caroline Foster built this cottage based on houses she had seen in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She called it her “Temple of Abiding Peace” and used it to entertain friends. Begun in 1916, it took her three years to build. In a 1968 interview, Miss Foster remembered her father’s Pride. “Pa said I couldn’t do it, but at night he would slip out and see what I’d done and then boast to his friends about it.” Miss Foster, who was a charter member of the Garden Club of Morristown, surrounded her new cottage with an elaborate flower and herb garden. Plans are underway to restore her garden in the near future.
20. Vegetable Garden Vegetables were grown for the kitchen of The Willows and for the farmer’s family. Extra produce was canned or sold. Seed lists from 1918 and the 1920s, saved by Mr. Foster, are used to recreate this garden.
21. Transportation Exhibit See the Fosters’ carriage, 1922 Model T Ford, and 1929 Hupmobile in this interactive exhibit located in the lower level of the Visitors Center.