Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sybil's Cave Opening Ceremony and Educational Activities

Today there was a meeting in City Hall concerning the upcoming ceremonies for the official opening of Sybil's Cave and the related educational opportunities associated with this historic site. In attendance were Mayor David Roberts, Paul Drexel (Information Officer for the Mayor), Danny Gans (Hoboken Historical Museum), Katerine Kinney (Donohue, Gironda, and Doria), Geri Fallo (Director of Cultural Affairs), James Ronga (Environmental Director) and Dr. Petrosino. Integrated curricula opportunities covering history, archaeology, geography, geology, chemistry, literature and music related to the cave and surrounding area were discussed. Petrosino briefed the group on the efforts of the Hoboken Curriculum Committee and it's ongoing collaboration with the Hoboken Historical Museum and Hoboken Public Library in formulating a "History of Hoboken" curriculum and possibilities for additional community wide outreach educational opportunities.

The first mention of the cave appeared in travel journals in the 1830s. it was near Elysian Fields, a tract of land that stretched from the estate of Col. John Stevens north to Weehawken. Colonel Stevens ferried visitors from New York to attractions on the Hoboken waterfront, including the cave and River Walk. In etchings from the time (see picture), couples stroll near benches outside the cave, which sits near the shore of the Hudson.By 1871, as Hoboken’s waterfront became more industrial, the luster of Elysian Fields and Sybil’s Cave faded. Edgar Allan Poe used a real event that occurred in 1841 at Sybil's Cave as a basis for the detective story "The Mystery of Marie Roget", considered to be the first mystery .