For a quaint, colonial town, Haddonfield has had its shining moments in history. The Hadrosaurus Foulkii skeleton was discovered in Haddonfield in 1858 and was the first nearly complete skeleton discovered and displayed in North America. Its dig site has been preserved and is often visited by children and families in the area. In addition, a beautiful John Giannotti sculpture of “Haddy” is on display downtown and is a part of the Haddonfield Outdoor Sculpture Trust series of artwork in town.
Photo courtesy of Hadrosaurus.com
In addition to paleontology highlights, Haddonfield was also the sight of the New Jersey declaring itself a state and the New Jersey State Seal Adoption at the Indian King Tavern. After this momentous event in 1777, it was rumored that Dolly Payne (later First Lady Dolly Madison) was a frequent visitor and in 1903 it became the first State Historic Site. Haddonfield is also home to the second oldest volunteer Fire Company in the United States. Operating since 1746, these brave men and women help to keep the area safe. Finally, Haddonfield Quakers played an important role in manning the Underground Railroad to help slaves escape to freedom during the 1800s.
Indian King Tavern (Photo courtesy of Indian King Tavern)
In the world of pop culture and sports, Haddonfield is the inspiration for the town featured in John Carpenter’s Halloween. Screenwriter Debra Hill grew up in Haddonfield and used the name of the town for the setting of the film in Haddonfield, Illinois. Haddonfield was also the childhood home of Tom Sims, who has been credited as the inventor of the snowboard. Additionally, several Haddonfield athletes have gone on to participate in the Olympics (Bill Knecht, Erin Donahue, Marielle Hall and Debbie Meyer), play for the NBA (Matt Maloney) and pro football (Freddie Cooper).
History continues to happen in Haddonfield as it recently celebrated its Tricentennial (300th Anniversary) of the founding of the town! It’s a great place to learn more about New Jersey state history and become a part of the community as a homeowner.