RAHWAY – Artist Lloyd Garrison paints historical scenes and has a great desire to depict scenes that no longer exist. He’s illustrated Christmas cards of his old home town, Rahway, that offer a glimpse of the town as it used to be.
For Garrison, the 50s and 60s evoke great memories. “Even the store owners knew your name,” he said. However, his latest card shows two 18th century buildings as they look today – the Terrill Tavern and the Merchant and Drover’s Tavern.
The Terrill Tavern has special meaning for Garrison, as it was owned by his grandmother’s great great grandfather. It witnessed the retreat of Washington’s Army on St. Georges Avenue in November 1776 in a driving rain.
The Terrill Tavern originally stood on St. Georges Avenue and Stone Street, and the building had a larger extension on the left side. The Rahway Historical Society (now the Merchant and Drovers Tavern Museum Association) acquired what remains of the building in 1976 and moved it to its current location, where it has served as the museum’s gift shop.
In 1970, Garrison started a fund to raise money to save the Girl Scout House (as Merchant and Drover’s Tavern was known before it became a museum). His painting depicting George Washington and New Jersey Declaration of Independence signer Abraham Clark was a raffle prize for donors.
“After 43 years, it’s time to see if we can help again,” Garrison said. “New Jersey has a lot of history and we are losing many old buildings and stories as time goes by.”
The artist is selling his original oil painting for $1,400 and promises to donate a third of that money to the museum association to help fund repairs. Garrison is also selling the original art from last year’s Christmas card, featuring the old Rahway Diner, under the same terms.
Garrison’s Christmas cards are on sale for $25.97 for a box of 15, which includes sales tax and shipping. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the cards will also assist the restoration efforts. Mail orders to Lloyd’s Gallery, P.O. Box 448, Millstone, NJ 08535 or call 609-918-1776.
Garrison will be at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway on Dec. 5 for the Rahway Arts District’s monthly 1st Thursday event.
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