‘Clara Barton Day’ will celebrate 200th birthday of the founder of the Red Cross

The Bordentown Historical Society will honor Clara Barton's 200th birthday with a special event on Dec. 4 at its Friends Meeting House. PHOTO COURTESY OF BORDENTOWN HISTORICAL SOCIETY
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The Bordentown Historical Society will honor Clara Barton's 200th birthday with a special event on Dec. 4 at its Friends Meeting House. PHOTO COURTESY OF BORDENTOWN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The trailblazer and founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton, will have her own special day of remembrance and celebration in the City of Bordentown.

Barton’s list of achievements throughout her life, and most importantly, involvement in helping Bordentown build the first-ever public school in New Jersey back in 1853 has urged the Bordentown City Board of Commissioners to proclaim Dec. 4 as Clara Barton Day.

“Clara Barton and her influence on public education in New Jersey is an integral part of Bordentown’s long and stored history,” Bordentown City Mayor Jennifer Sciortino said in a statement to centraljersey.com. “We are pleased to join with the Historical Society, residents, and members of the business community in honoring her legacy and declaring Dec. 4 as Clara Barton Day in the City of Bordentown.”

The idea of the proclamation was suggested by Bordentown Historical Society Co-President Bonnie Goldman, who is a huge admirer of Barton and has been a fixture of the historical society’s work to showcase the achievements and impact Barton has had on Bordentown and the world as well.

“She’s an American icon,” Goldman said of Barton. “She continues to inspire many people and especially women to this day.”

Sciortino and the rest of the commissioners will bestow the proclamation this upcoming Dec. 4 when the Bordentown Historical Society will honor Barton’s 200th birthday with a celebration held at the Friends Meeting House on Farnsworth Ave.

Barton’s actual birthday is Christmas Day, Dec. 25.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., and feature fun activities for children, giveaways, refreshments and an outdoor exhibit built by the historical society to showcase the incredible life that Barton lived.

Goldman will also appraise her role as the trailblazer Clara Barton during the festivities as well.

Pictures, artifacts, and information of Barton’s life and accomplishments will be showcased in the exhibit.

The exhibit will be free to the public once set up and will be accessible at any time throughout the beginning of next year, Goldman adds.

“It’s a really cool exhibit,” Goldman said. “It’s very easy to read. There are a lot of photos and information about Clara Barton and her accomplishments. It’ll be good.”

Goldman has been at the forefront of the historical society’s efforts over the past year to conserve the historic Clara Barton Schoolhouse that still stands today in downtown Bordentown.

The necessary upgrades to the establishment began with Phase I earlier this year by repaving its roof.

Phase II of the restoration plan includes improving heating, ventilation and air conditioning, electrical work, audiovisual equipment, exterior work on the brick, fencing, sidewalks, and a handicap accessible bathroom for the schoolhouse.

The historical society did receive a New Jersey State Historic Trust Grant of $113,000 from the state back in the spring to help make those necessary upgrades.

Being that it’s a matching grant, Goldman said the historical society still needs to raise around $20,000 to get the grant and begin making the necessary upgrades to the schoolhouse.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” Goldman said. “We appreciate all the support we have gotten from the community thus far. We still need more support.”

The society raised money towards the cause through its Harrowing History series that ran from Sept. 18 to Nov. 6 at Bordentown’s Old City Hall. Goldman said Harrowing History was “very successful” towards the society raising money for the schoolhouse.

She added that the historical society plans on raising more money with the help of local restaurants by selling Clara Barton-themed treats during the Bordentown City Chocolate Walk that will be held on Dec. 3.

To learn more about making a donation towards the Clara Barton Schoolhouse, visit https://bordentownhistory.org.