Morris County’s “City Upon a Hill”

by Michelle Munn, Mt. Tabor Historical Society
September 6, 2022

Mt. Tabor Library, Courtesty of MTHS

Morris County’s unique, historic, and unforgettable Mount Tabor community was established as a permanent Methodist camp meeting in 1869 and evolved from a religious retreat to a wholesome summer resort to a much-loved, year-round neighborhood within Parsippany-Troy Hills.

Mount Tabor still enjoys the strong sense of community its original founders intended. Trinity Park is the center of the historic enclave where services were once held. Three prominent octagonal community buildings are located here: the Tabernacle, the Bethel, and the library. Surrounding Trinity Park are delightful examples of Carpenter Gothic Victorian cottages with exuberant gingerbread trim. The Richardson History House Museum, operated by the Mount Tabor Historical Society (MTHS), also located on Trinity Park, is a small-scale Folk Victorian cottage in the Second Empire style. Built in 1873 for the Richardson family, this historic house is distinct as part of a triple cottage. The interior is a well-preserved example of a camp meeting cottage.

Richardson History House Museum, Courtesy of MTHS

MTHS preserves and interprets the Victorian heritage of Mount Tabor while increasing community awareness and planning for the community’s future. Annually, MTHS hosts a self-guided house tour that includes as many as two dozen different houses and community buildings each year and offers guided tours of both Trinity Park and the Richardson House by appointment or at special events. The proud steward of a generously donated and growing collection of artifacts related to Mount Tabor’s rich history, MTHS’s exhibits help fulfill its mission. Most recently, MTHS was integral to getting the historic nature of the community nationally recognized as the Mount Tabor Historic District and qualified for listing on both the NJ and National Registers of Historic Places.

Richardson House Parlor, Courtesy of MTHS

While many changes have occurred over the last century and a half, some things have not. Mount Tabor residents will all agree that there’s an ardent appreciation of this special place and the community created together on this hill.

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