The Verona Historical Society will have its February meeting on Tuesday, February 6, in the Firemen’s room of the Verona Community Center at 7:30 p.m. This meeting, which is open to the public, will focus on historical document restoration and items that have been restored such as the above photo of Captain Hiram Cook and family. If you have anything that requires restoration, bring photos and consult with Society President Robert Williams, who has archived several collections as a historian.
Cook was a Yankee captain in the Civil War who came to Verona as a land speculator in the late 1860s. There were plans then to build a railroad line from Montclair to Caldwell and Cook bought land from what is now Wayland Drive to the eastern shore of Verona Lake to capitalize on it. An engineer and carpenter, Cook built a series of houses across the tract, several of which survive to this day. The plans for the railroad collapsed in the Panic of 1871.
The Cook homestead was at 14 Manor Road and family lore has it that it was his idea to develop his property on the lake that formed on the Peckman River in the 19th century behind Verona’s gristmill into a park that would be open to the public. He called park Eden Wild after his daughter Edie, and she is the namesake for the Eden Wild Children’s Garden in Verona Park.
Williams also wants readers to know that the Caldwell Historical Society will meet this Thursday night, February 1 at 7 p.m. at The Wilson, 307 Bloomfield Avenue, in Caldwell. It will be conducting an art exhibition of local artist Rachel Farrington, who has been a subject of a previous meeting of the Verona Society.