Peter Cooper

Peter Cooper

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Peter Cooper, the son of a hat maker, was born in New York on 12th February 1791. He received little schooling and as a child worked with his father before being apprenticed as a coach-builder in 1808.

Cooper moved to Long Island in 1812 and three years later he set up a business making machines for shearing cloth. Later he began to make furniture.

In 1828 Cooper built the Canton Iron Works in Baltimore. Soon afterwards he began work on the first steam locomotive built in America. Given the name Tom Thumb, it was completed in 1830. His business flourished and influenced by the ideas of Henry Bessemer, built the largest blast furnace in America in Philippsburg, New Jersey. He also established successful foundries at Ringwood and Durham.

Cooper became involved in laying the first Atlantic cable, and was president of the New York, Newfoundland & London Telegraph Company and the North American Telegraph Company.

A supporter of Abraham Lincoln and an opponent of slavery, Cooper was a strong advocate of enlisting black soldiers in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

In 1875 Cooper established the Greenback Party. Its main support came from farmers who were suffering from declining farm prices, high railroad rates and the government's deflationary currency policies. Cooper was the party's presidential candidate in 1876 but he won only 81,737 votes and was easily beaten by Rutherford Hayes (4,036,298) and Samuel Tilden (4,300,590). However, the party did send 15 representatives to Congress.

In 1878 members of the Greenback Party joined with urban trade union groups to establish the Greenback-Labor Party. James Weaver emerged as leader of the party and was its presidential candidate in 1880.During the campaign Weaver argued that the two major political parties had lost sight of their original democratic ideals of equal opportunity. He also claimed that the maintenance of the gold standard benefited banking interests but was driving farmers out of business. Weaver called for policies where all classes could share in the economic wealth of America.

Peter Cooper, who received the Bessemer gold medal from the Iron and Steel Institute of Great Britain in 1879, died in New York on 4th April 1883.

Peter Cooper - History

As a child in the early 1800s, Peter Cooper was hired to pick fur from rabbit skins. Does that sound like an interesting job? His parents were hatmakers. At age seventeen, he was apprenticed as a coach maker and eventually ended up in Baltimore, Maryland. In Baltimore, he founded the Canton Iron Works in order to supply the new Baltimore and Ohio Railroad with steel to build locomotives and railway lines. In 1830, he invented "Tom Thumb," a tiny locomotive that could propel forty people along a thirteen-mile route at ten miles an hour.

Cooper became quite wealthy for someone with only a little education. He established the still famous Cooper's Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York. He also supported the laying of the Atlantic Ocean telegraph cable, invented a washing machine, and became president of the North American Telegraph Company.

Ahead of his time, Cooper was a far-sighted thinker and inventor. He even ran for the presidency of the United States when he was eighty-four years old! He died in 1883. One of his most famous sayings is, "I have endeavoured to remember that the object of life is to do good."

Peter Cooper - History


A very interesting episode in Mr. Cooper&rsquos life was the interest he took, and the personal efforts he made in behalf of that most important and difficult of modern enterprises, the laying of an ocean cable.

It is not too much to say, that to the perseverance, energy, and unconquerable faith of Mr. Cooper and two or three others, whom he mentions, we owe that great gift to modern progress and civilization.

I have often heard the narrative from his lips, and give it very much in his own words:

&ldquoIt is now twenty years since I became the President of the North American Telegraph Company, when it controlled more than one half of all the lines then in the country also President of the New York, Newfoundland, and London Telegraph Company.

&ldquoAn attempt had been made to put a line of telegraph across Newfoundland, on which some work had been done. Cyrus W. Field, Moses Taylor, Marshal O. Roberts, Wilson G. Hunt, and myself completed that work across the island of Newfoundland, and then laid a cable across the Gulf of St. Lawrence, intending it as the beginning of a line from Europe to America by telegraphic communication. After one form of difficulty after another had been surmounted, we found that more than ten years had passed before we got a cent in return, and we had been spending money the whole time. We lost the first cable laid, which cost some three or four hundred thousand dollars, at the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which loss was occasioned by the seeming determination of the captain of the ship that towed our vessel across the Gulf to have his own way, in opposition to the directions of Mr. Buchanan, who directed him to keep a certain flag in sight as far as he could see it, in connection with a certain mark on the top of a mountain, which was visible nearly half way across the Gulf.

&ldquoWe had hired a vessel at seven hundred and fifty dollars a day, and we directed the steamer Adger to go to Cape Ray, and tow the vessel across the Gulf, in order to lay the cable. We went to Port Basque, and found the vessel had not arrived. We accordingly anchored in Port Basque until she did arrive, which was two days later. On her arrival, the captain was directed to take our vessel in tow, and carry her up to Cape Ray, where we had already prepared a telegraph house, from which to commence laying the cable. On this telegraph house we placed a flagstaff, which was to be kept in line by the steamer, as she crossed the Gulf, with a certain very excellent landmark on the top of a mountain some three, four, or five miles distant - a landmark which seemed to be made on purpose for our use.

&ldquoWe had an accident at starting. We joined the ends of the cable and brought one end into the telegraph house, and made everything ready to take the vessel in tow. The captain was then directed to bring his steamer in line, take the vessel in tow, and carry her across the Gulf. In doing that he ran his steamer into the vessel, carried away her shrouds and quarter-rail, and almost ruined our enterprise the first thing, dragging the cable over the stern of the vessel with such force as to break the connection and we were obliged to cut the cable and splice it again. The captain of the steamer had failed entirely in trying to get hold of the vessel and after we had mended the cable, and got everything ready for a second attempt, he was again ordered to take the vessel in tow. We had provided ourselves with two large cables, two hundred feet long and four inches in diameter, as towlines, so as to be sure of having sufficient strength to tow the vessel in all kinds of weather but the captain of the steamer so managed matters, in his second attempt to take the vessel in tow, as to get this cable entangled in the steamer&rsquos wheel, and he hallooed to the captain of the vessel to let his cable slip, in order to get this unentangled. At this, the captain of the vessel let go his cable and lost his anchor and one of our big cables, for we had to cut it, in order to disentangle it from the wheel. After that was got loose there was the vessel without an anchor, and she was going rapidly down upon a reef of rocks, with a strong wind against her. It was only with the greatest difficulty that we could get the captain of the Adger to go to her relief, and save her from being dashed on the rocks, with her forty men on board. We had to expostulate with the captain of the steamer until the vessel was within two or three hundred feet of the rocks, before he would consent to attempt her rescue and by the merest good luck, we got out a rope to her and saved her from going on the rocks, when she was so close to the shore that we could almost have thrown a line there.

&ldquoThe captain of the steamer, however, got hold of the vessel at last, and brought her back to her place in the harbor, where we had to renew the connection of our cable, and prepare again to start.

&ldquoThe third attempt to take hold of the vessel was successful, and on a beautiful morning we started to lay the cable across the Gulf.

&ldquoIn a very little while I discovered that we were getting out of line with the marks that the captain had been directed to steer by. As President of the line, I called the matter to the attention of the captain. The answer I got was: &lsquoI know how to steer my ship I steer by my compass.&rsquo It went on a little while longer, and finding that he was still going farther out of the line, I called his attention to the fact again, and so on, again and again, for some time, until he had got some eight or ten miles out of the line. I then said to him, &lsquoCaptain, we shall have to hold you responsible for the loss of this cable!&rsquo We got a lawyer on board to draw up a paper to present to him, stating that we should hold him responsible for the loss of the cable, as he had not obeyed the orders of Mr. Buchanan, as agreed on. After we had served this paper upon him, he turned the course of his ship and went just as far from the line in the other direction. He had also agreed not to let his vessel go more than a mile and a half an hour, as it was impossible, under the circumstances, to pay out the cable faster than a mile and a half an hour. It was discovered, however, that he was running his vessel faster and faster, while Mr. Buchanan hallooed, &lsquoSlower! slower!&rsquo until finally the captain got a kink in the cable, and was obliged to stop. This happened several times.

&ldquoSo much delay took place that when it was late in the afternoon, we had not laid over forty miles of the cable out of the eighty miles that we had to go in crossing the Gulf. Then a very severe gale came up, and raged with such violence that the steamer Victoria, which was a small one, came near being swamped and in order to save that vessel, and the forty men on board of her, we were compelled to cut the cable.

&ldquoSubsequently, we sent a vessel to take up that part of the cable and it was then found that we had payed out twenty-four miles of cable, and had gone only nine miles from shore! We had spent so much money, and lost so much time, that it was very vexatious to us to have our enterprise defeated in the way it was, by the stupidity and obstinacy of one man. This man was one of the rebels that fired the first guns upon Fort Sumter. The poor fellow is now dead.

&ldquoHaving lost this cable, we ordered another and had it ready in a year or two. This time we had a good man to put it down, and we had no trouble with it.

&ldquoThe great question then came up: What could we do about an ocean cable? After getting a few subscriptions here, which did not amount to much, we sent Mr. Field across the ocean, to see if he could get the balance of the subscriptions in England and he succeeded, to the astonishment of almost everybody, because we had been set down as crazy people, spending our money as if it had been water. Mr. Field succeeded in getting the amount wanted, and in contracting for a cable. It was put on two ships which were to meet in mid-ocean. They did meet, joined the two ends of the cable, and laid it down successfully. We brought our end to Newfoundland, where we received over it some four hundred messages. Very soon after it started, however, we found it began to fail, and it grew weaker and weaker, until at length it could not be understood any more.

&ldquoIt so happened that the few messages that we received over the cable were important to the English Government for it had arranged to transport a large number of soldiers from Canada to China, in the war with the Chinese, and just before the transports were to make sail a telegram came stating that peace was declared. This inspired the people of England with confidence in our final success. This occurred just before the Crystal Palace burned down, and we had a meeting in the Crystal Palace to celebrate the great triumph of having received and sent messages across the ocean. Our triumph was short-lived, for it was only a few days after that the cable had so weakened in transmitting that it could no longer be understood.

&ldquoOne-half the people did not now believe that we had ever had any messages across the cable. It was all a humbug, they thought. In the Chamber of Commerce the question came up about a telegraph line, and a man got up and said: &lsquoIt is all a humbug! No message ever came over!&rsquo At that, Mr. Cunard arose, and said that &lsquothe gentleman did not know what he was talking about, and had no right to say what he had, and that he himself had sent messages and got the answers.

&ldquoMr. Cunard was a positive witness he had been on the spot and the man must have felt &lsquoslim &lsquo at the result of his attempt to cast ridicule on men whose efforts, if unsuccessful, were at least not unworthy of praise.

&ldquoWe succeeded in getting another cable, but when we had got it about halfway over, we lost that as well. Then the question seemed hopeless. We thought for a long time that our money was all lost. The matter rested some two years before anything more was done. My friend Mr. Wilson G. Hunt, used to talk to me often about it for we had brought him into the Board some two or three years before. He said he did not feel much interest in it, but he felt concerned about spending so much money and he remarked that he was not sure, as we had spent so much money already about the telegraph line, but that we had better spend a little more. So we sent Mr. Field out again. We bad spent so much money already, it was &lsquolike pulling teeth&rsquo out of Roberts and Taylor to get more money from them but we got up the sum necessary to send Mr. Field out.

&ldquoWhen he arrived there, Mr. Field said they laughed at him for thinking of getting up another cable. They said that they thought the thing was dead enough, and buried deep enough in the ocean to satisfy anybody. But Mr. Field was not satisfied. Finally he got hold of an old Quaker friend, who was a very rich man, and he so completely electrified him with the idea of the work, that he put three or four hundred thousand dollars into it immediately to lay another cable, and in fourteen days after Mr. Field had got that man&rsquos name, he had the whole amount of subscriptions made up, six millions of dollars.

&ldquoThe cable was made and put down, and it worked successfully. We then went out to see if we could not pick up the other one. The balance of the lost cable was on board the ship. The cable was found, picked up, and joined to the rest and this wonder of the world was accomplished. I do not think that feat is surpassed by any other human achievement. The cable was taken out of water, two and a half miles deep, in mid-ocean. It was pulled up three times, before it was saved. They got it up just far enough to see it, and it would go down again, and they would have to do the work over again. They used up all their coal, and spent ten or twelve days in &lsquohooking&rsquo for the cable before it was finally caught. But they succeeded the two ends of the cable were brought in connection, and then we had two complete cables across the ocean.

&ldquoIn taking up the first cable the cause of the failure was discovered. It originated in the manufacture of the cable. In passing the cable into the vat provided for it, where it was intended to lie under water all the time, until put aboard the ship, the workmen neglected to keep the water at all times over the cable and on one occasion, when the sun shone very hotly down into this vat where the cable was lying uncovered, its rays melted the gutta percha, so that the copper wire inside, sunk down against the outer covering. I have a piece of the cable which shows just how it occurred. The first cable that was laid would have been a perfect success, if it had not been for that error in manufacturing it. The copper wire sagged down against the outside covering, and there was just a thin layer of gutta percha to prevent it from coming in contact with the water. In building the first cables their philosophy was not so well understood as it is now and so, when the cable began to fail, they increased the power of the battery and it is supposed that a spark of the electricity came in contact with water, and the electricity passed off into the water.

&ldquoAfter the two ocean cables had been laid successfully, it was found necessary to have a second cable across the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Our delays had been so trying and unfortunate in the past, that none of the stockholders, with the exception of Mr. Field, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Roberts, and myself, would take any interest in the matter. We had to get the money by offering bonds, which we had power to do by charter and these were offered at fifty cents on the dollar. Mr. Field, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Taylor, and myself were compelled to take up the principal part of the stock at that rate, in order to get the necessary funds. We had to do the business through the Bank of Newfoundland, and the bank would not trust the company, but drew personally on me. I told them to draw on the company, but they continued to draw on me, and I had to pay the drafts or let them go back protested. I was often out ten or twenty thousand dollars in advance, in that way to keep the thing going. After the cable became a success, the stock rose to ninety dollars per share, at which figure we sold out to an English company. That proved to be the means of saving us from loss. The work was finished at last, and I never have regretted it, although it was a terrible time to go through.&rdquo

For more information on Peter Cooper
see this page at the Ringwood Manor website.

Last revised: 22 July, 2010

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Past, present and future.

Any business that truly wants to succeed has to demonstrate continuity, especially if its success depends on delivering a consistently high quality service to its customers. The family basis of Peter Cooper means that we’re acutely aware and protective of our reputation it also means that we are perfectly placed to maintain it, by passing the baton on from generation to generation.

Currently, Darren Cooper – son of founder Peter Cooper – is in charge of the strategic development of the Group, and intends to move it forward with the same determination and attention to customers’ needs as his father.

We would like to extend our warmest thanks to the 25,000 or more loyal customers who have come to Peter Cooper to buy and maintain their Volkswagens since we started the company. And we promise to continue to serve you – and all our new customers – with the friendly, quality care that has earned us the reputation Peter Cooper enjoys today.

Peter Cooper - History

Our History

Stuyvesant Town is named after Peter Stuyvesant, the last Director-General of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, whose farm occupied the site in the 17th century. Peter Cooper Village is named after the 19th-century industrialist, inventor, and philanthropist Peter Cooper, who founded Cooper Union. ST-PCV was originally planned as a postwar housing development during the early 1940s in anticipation of the returning World War II veterans. The complex was developed by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Construction of ST-PCV took place 1945–1947. On the first day of its initial offering, the property received 7,000 applications it would collect 100,000 applications by the time of first occupancy. The complex's first tenants, two World War II veterans and their families, moved into the first completed building on August 1, 1947.

    The Tenants Association was founded in the fall of 1971 as the Stuyvesant Town Tenants Association.

In 1974, a contract between MetLife and the city expired after 25 years. The agreement kept rents in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village lower than they otherwise would have been through MetLife’s tax abatement and limited profits. A 10-year extension on the tax abatement and rent stabilization of the complexes, however, limited the immediate threat of rising rents.

  • In 1993 the Tenants Association's name was officially changed to the Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association.

In October 2006, MetLife sold Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town to Tishman Speyer. The new ownership implemented major capital projects on the property. Tishman Speyer relinquished control of the property in 2010 to CWCapital, a debt servicer.

  • In 2012, the STPCV TA helped get tenants $68.7 million in refunds from overcharged rent dating back to 2003.
  • In 2014, the ST-PCV TA reached a deal with the property manager to give residents in 15 of the 21 buildings in Peter Cooper Village and two in Stuyvesant Town that were the most affected by Superstorm Sandy a onetime reduction of 15 percent from the July 2013 rent bill.

As of October 2015, the property was sold to Blackstone Group LP and Ivanhoé Cambridge, the real-estate arm of pension fund giant Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec for about $5.3 billion.

​ When Peter Cooper founded this company in 1981, he decided that the best way to build it was the same way Volkswagen design and construct their cars – with quality and reliability running through it from top to toe. Sticking to this policy for over thirty years is what has turned Peter Cooper Group into the pre-eminent independently-owned Volkswagen dealership along the South Coast, from Southampton and Portsmouth to Chichester, from the New Forest to Worthing in West Sussex.

Insistence on hiring the best people, giving them the best training, and investing in the best resources, ensures we provide Peter Cooper’s customers with the best possible service, from the moment they come into contact with us, all the way through their ownership of a Volkswagen.

We started as a family business at Hedge End, and soon became not just a dealership but a landmark. Locals refer to our site as ‘the Peter Cooper roundabout,’ and continue to do so even though we have moved to our new premises just a stone’s throw away.

And, though we’ve grown (and are still growing) since those early days, Peter Cooper still sees itself as both a family business and a local company. As such, we have a genuine understanding of the needs of our numerous private and business customers in the region.

Peter Cooper - History

History of Coopersburg

From Its Earliest Settlement to 1881

Among the distinguished admirals under Charles II, King of Great Britain, was Sir William Penn, who at his death left a claim of £16000 against the crown for his services. In consideration of this claim and with a view of securing to his Quaker brethren an asylum where they might enjoy their peculiar religious tenets in unmolested freedom and security, his son William sought and obtained from the said King the grant of a tract of land in America. The extent of the tract was to be three degrees of latitude in breadth and five degrees of longitude in length the Delaware River was to be its eastern boundary and the beginning of the forty-third degree of North Latitude its northern boundary. It was called Pennsylvania by order of the King. The charter for it was dated March 4, 1681 and confirmed by royal proclamation in April of the same year. Penn with about one hundred colonists arrived in 1682, and soon after his arrival divided his province into three counties, viz: Philadelphia, Bucks, and Chester.

But the King of Great Britain was not the owner of this land it had been taken possession of by his subjects in his name, but was owned and inhabited by a race altogether different from those of the old world, the Europeans called them Indians, and William Penn feeling that it would be unjust to dispossess them of the land which was their rightful inheritance, without compensation determined that none should be occupied by his subjects that had not been previously purchased and paid for, accordingly, purchases of tracts were made in 1682, 1686, 1737, 1749, 1758, 1768, and 1784.

The territory now occupied by the Borough of Coopersburg was included in the purchase of 1737, was a part of Bucks County until March 11, 1752, when it was included, in the territory erected into the County of Northampton, and on the 6 th of March 1812 it was again included in the territory erected into the County of Lehigh.

The original white settlers of the place were mostly Mennonites, who emigrated from Holland between the years 1725 and 1737. These simple people soon made themselves felt in the savage wilderness which they inhabited they cleared the land, built houses, opened roads, raised crops, erected a building for church and school purposes about 1738, on the site now occupied by the old Mennonite meeting house in Upper Saucon, and in 1742, anxious to secure the benefits of local organization, petitioned for the erection of a township. Their prayer was granted. The township was erected the following year and comprised the territory now forming the townships of Upper and Lower Saucon. It was called Saucon, which name was derived from Sankunk or Sakunk, supposed to have been the name of a populous Indian village at the mouth of what is now known as the Saucon Creek.

The early settlers of the immediate vicinity do not seem to have suffered as much at the hands of the Indians as those of some other localities this was probably due to their geographic locations, their department towards the Indians, or to the fact that the Indians, who lived here and who belonged to the Delaware Tribe of the Lenni Lenape division of the Algonquin family, were presided over by a very peaceable chief whose name was Tatamy, but whose authority was disputed and partially usurped in 1755 by Teedyuscung, a warlike and revengeful Indian, who vented his spite against the whites by causing the merciless massacre of the defenseless settlers of the more recently and therefore less densely settled sections.

Among the Mennonites heretofore referred to was George Bachman, the pioneer settler of Coopersburg. He was born in 1686, came here in 1737 and acquired letters patent for over three hundred acres of land, a large portion of which is embraced in the present limits of the Borough. He built and opened a hotel about 1745 to 1750. This hotel stood about midway between the present Eagle hotel and the shed belonging to it. He died in 1753 and was buried at the neighboring meeting house his tombstone which is well preserved may yet be seen in the adjoining cemetery. His immediate descendants seem to have held sole possession of the original tract until the close of the eighteenth century one of the sons assumed the proprietorship of the hotel another, at a date which cannot now be ascertained, built a house in what is now Milton Cooper’s meadow and a third, in 1790, built the house now occupied by Ezikiah Gerhardt, which is the oldest house now in the borough.

About the year 1775, Daniel Cooper, born at Dillenburg near Amsterdam in 1752 settled here, and in 1800 purchased a tract of land from the Bachmans and erected the house now occupied by Dr. J. A. Saros. Soon after this he purchased the hotel together with another tract. He served several terms as Justice of the Peace, died in 1822 and was buried at the old meeting house. Some of his descendants have resided here ever since his son Peter who was born in 1791 lived here from the time of his birth until his death in 1873. He built the present Eagle hotel in 1829, the stone house now occupied by Amos Haring in 1830, and the house now occupied by Mrs. Dr. Cooper soon after, he was repeatedly elected Justice of the Peace, had the reputation of being a remarkably reliable counselor at law for a layman, was an accurate conveyancer and an expert surveyor and served for some time as Deputy Surveyor General of Pennsylvania. He had three sons Milton, Charles and Thomas. Milton left the place in his youth, and after serving an apprenticeship in a store in Philadelphia, engaged in the shoe business, his house having an extensive trade in nearly every state of the Union, then organized he returned to the place in 1862, yet lives here and is president of the bank: Charles studied law, served as superintendent of the schools of Lehigh county and is now cashier of the Allentown National Bank: Thomas graduated as a physician in 1842 at the university of Penna at Philadelphia, practiced medicine here until 1860 when he was elected to congress but died before the expiration of his term. Tilghman, a son of Thomas, until quite recently lived here and was an extensive importer, breeder, and dealer in thoroughbred livestock of every description. (Peter Cooper died in 1837. He had on daughter Matilda.) (Matilda Cooper became the wife of Dr. Frederick A. Martin)

Among the settlers who came here during the early part of the nineteenth century were Michael Sandis, a Mennonite preacher, who in 1808 built a house on the site of that now occupied by Dr. M. H. Boye, David Rinker, who built one on the site of that now occupied by Charles Schaffer, Jacob Bowman, who built one on the site of that now occupied by Charles Ott, Jacob Muschlitz, who built one on the site of that now occupied by Abel Strawn, Jacob Seider, who built the one now occupied by George Fabian, and Joseph Fry Sr., who built a fullingmill (sp?) on the site now occupied by Stopp’s mill. The first store was opened by Solomon Keck, in 1820, in a house built alongside of the hotel.

Before proceeding farther, a description of the manners and customs which prevailed in those days may not be inappropriate. The old hotel was known as the Seven Star, or in the vernacular of the place, “Der Siebenstern” a crescent surrounded by seven stars appearing on the sign: the bar-room was furnished with small tables arranged along the walls and on these wine which was then cheap, was served by the pint and half-pint later, whiskey and other strong drinks came into use and these were served by the gill. The hotel and store were open every day of the week and the business at the store especially, was heavier on Sunday than on any other day.

The only occasions upon which the people congregated in considerable numbers were those of religious worship, vendues, shooting matches, horse races and frolics. The vendues were made to serve many purposes, for besides the sale of the goods and chattel of someone they were likewise the picnics of those days old and young of both sexes from far and near would congregate and playing ball, lifting and throwing weights, jumping, wrestling, pitching quoits and other sports were indulged in during the day and not infrequently the festivities were concluded by a dance in the evening. These vendues also served the purposes of courts of justice to a certain extent. There was not much litigation in those days, when two neighbors fell out with each other, or when one felt aggrieved by the actions of the other, the issue was tried at the next vendue, the tribunal to which it was referred was that of brute force and might seems to have passed for right in many cases.

Shooting matches, horse races, and quilting parties “am Siebenstern”, were of frequent occurrence. The frolics were gotten up and conducted in the following manner: when a young lady of the neighborhood had finished the patching of a quilt, she would inform the landlord who would name some Saturday afternoon for the quilting to take place all the lasses of the neighborhood would be invited and the lads would come of their own accord in the evening. The landlord would furnish the quilters with supper in consideration of the attraction furnished by their presence. After supper, the ladies would arrange themselves on benches set up along the walls of the dance room the musicians would be seated on a table, a number of young men would arrange for a dance by agreeing some to pay for the music and others for the refreshments, each would invite a lady for a partner. After their time had expired, those who had agreed to furnish the refreshments would go to the bar room and order wine-sling, which consisted of a little wine, a little sugar and much water. It was served in large schooners which were handed first to the ladies who had joined in the dance and afterwards to all the others, each taking a quaff out of one and the same schooner.

But to return to our subject, we find that during the early part of the nineteenth century the place had come to be considerable importance it was the junction of the two stage lines from Allentown and Bethlehem to Philadelphia it was also the first stopping place of the farmers from the upper sections of Lehigh county on their way to Philadelphia with their produce, thirty or forty teams in the yard during a single night was no unusual occurrence.

In the year 1818, the place rose to the dignity of a country village a Post Office was established on the first of April of the same year and David Roth was appointed Postmaster. The village and Post Office were named Fryburg, after Joseph Fry Jr., who was then proprietor of the hotel and also of a distillery which stood near the site now occupied by Joel Strawn’s barn, and who also built the first store house alongside of the hotel in 1820. Subsequently he successively elected to the state legislature to the constitutional convention of 1837-8 and to congress. He was considered quite a statesman and during his congressional term was visited here by James Buchanan, afterwards president of the United States.

On June 25, 1832, the name of the village and Post Office was changed to Coopersburg, after Peter Cooper, heretofore referred to. The North Pennsylvania rail-road was completed, opened for traffic and a station established here in 1856, the first passenger train passing through the place on the 26 th of December of that year. The Allentown and Coopersburg turnpike-road which passes through the place was chartered in 1874 and completed in and opened for travel in 1875.

The people while manifesting a progressive spirit and a commendable desire for improvement are yet very tenacious of some of their old customs for notwithstanding the fact that the schools for the last twenty years have been exclusively English, that few can read German and fewer still write it that nearly all keep their accounts in English and are able to speak the language of the country, yet nearly all conversation between them is conducted in the Pennsylvania German, the services in all the churches of the neighborhood are mostly in German and the ancient custom of a studious separation of the sexes during services is still adhered to.

The place is noted for the taste displayed by its citizens in the erection of houses nearly all of them being of neat design and substantial build in other respects it grew the growth of an ordinary country village until it contains according to the census of 1880 a population of 392 inhabitants, divided into 93 families and domiciled in 83 dwelling houses. It contains besides these two hotels, three stores, a bank, two carriage works, two physicians’ offices, an Old Fellows Hall, a stock farm, a mill, a flour and feed store, a coal and lumber yard, a butter and cheese factory, a furniture store, a stove and tinware store, a toy factory, two millinery establishments, two tailor shops, two saddleries, a watchmaker-shop, a cigar factory, a wheelwright shop, two sewing machine offices, a blacksmith shop, a shoemaker shop, and two butcher shops. It maintains a place of religious worship in a public room in the Odd Fellows Hall, two schools, a Mason’s Lodge, an Odd Fellows Lodge, and Encampment of Patriarchs and a Brass Band.

In 1878 some of the more enterprising citizens petitioned for a charter of incorporation as a Borough the petition was signed by the following resident freeholders viz: John S. Stephens, George Blank, George W. Heaney, Dr. H. T. Trumbauer, Samuel Y. Kern, Jacob Anstett, Frank K. Haring, Israel R. Parker, Milton Cooper, Peter Brunner, Sylvester Clewell, Henry Barndt, William H. Baim, John Fluck, David Barron, Thomas E. Cooper, C. Elemina Cooper, Amanda M. Cooper, Jacob Shaffer, Dr. J. A. Saros, Tilghman S. Cooper, William H. Brader, Dr. M. H. Boye, Peter Eckert, William Jordan, Thomas Weaver, Samuel Furry, Genaah Jordan, Samuel K. Eichelberger, William T. Trumbauer, James T. Blank, Amos Haring and Daniel Schaffer. The movement met with considerable opposition, but the petitioners finally triumphed and the charter was granted, December 2, 1879. The first election for borough officers was held February 17, 1880 and resulted in the election of the following officers viz: Burgess, John S. Stephens Town council, Milton Cooper, Frank K. Haring, Dr. J. A. Saros, Samuel Y. Kern, Daniel Shaffer and Joel Ritter Justices of the Peace, George Blank and Tilghman S. Cooper School Directors, Dr. H. T. Trumbauer, Henry K. Landis, Charles Ott, Gennah Jordan, Jacob Schaffer, and Abraham Geisinger Constable, Thomas Stephens Judge of Elections, WM. H. Baim Inspectors, Allen H. Ott and Jeremiah Landis Assessor, Aaron H. Hackman Auditor, Charles Haring.

The ancient village was thus fully organized as a borough, may it flourish and prosper and continue to be the happy home of its present citizens and of many more, who may be attracted by its beautiful location, its fine appearance and its pleasant surroundings.

The Foregoing History was compiled by the Hon. F. B. Heller, by virtue and in pursuance of the following preamble and resolution adopted by the Town Council of the borough of Coopersburg at a regular stated meeting held the 7 th day of June A. D. 1880.

Whereas, It is desirable that a History of the Village and Borough of Coopersburg be preserved therefore

Resolved, That a History of the town from its earliest known settlement to the time of and including its incorporation be prepared and filed amongst the records of the borough and that the Hon. Frank B. Heller be appointed Historian for said purpose.

Attest. Frank K. Haring – Sec., Milton Cooper – President,

Approved. John S. Stephens – Burgess.

Today’s Main Street in Coopersburg was part of an Indian trail more than two hundred years ago. Horses and wagons followed this trail. Stumps of felled trees and the mud in rainy seasons made travel slow and arduous. Travel from the Moravian settlement in Bethlehem to the port of Philadelphia and return took at least five days. German immigrants and supplies for the colonists from Europe came to this port. Exchange goods from Moravian craftsmen were exported from there.

By 1740 a log “hotel” and stable appeared, just a days trek out of Bethlehem. A general store and crude homes appeared slowly. In 1790, the first permanent home was built. The settlement grew quickly and in 1840 the settlement was named Coopersburg. By 1879, permanent lines were drawn consisting of a “square mile”. It now had the status of a Borough with an elected governing body, the Borough Council.

Following in close order was a reservoir east of the Borough with bountiful amounts of clean spring water, and the fire company in 1904. Then, a lodge hall, which served as the church, the Borough Council headquarters, post office and five lodges to become the social hub of early Coopersburg. This 1850’s building stands today at 107 S. Main Street, housing small retail stores and apartments. Permanent hotels to serve stagecoach traffic on the Allentown-Bethlehem turnpike sprang up. Martin Kern’s home, 377 Main Street, the Barren House (present social quarters for the Fire Company), and the Van Ness Hotel at Station Ave. and Main St., all served ladies and gentlemen travelers with “genteelness”.

Coopersburg Fire Company #1 grew from a hand drawn fire engine and seven volunteer fire fighters to a modern four bay home for fire engines and pumpers at 13 S. Main Street with its social quarters in the landmark house at the corner of East State and Main Street. The Coopersburg Ambulance Corps operates from a well-equipped building next to the Borough Hall on E. State Street.

The days of butcher, iceman, coffee route men, milkmen, green produce men coming door to door were replaced by family operated stores. Along with several fine restaurants within our “square mile”, we now have many fast food operations.

Making Jell-O a National Staple

The company doubled down on marketing. They sent out nattily dressed salesmen to demonstrate Jell-O. The also distributed 15 million copies of a Jell-O recipe book containing celebrity favorites and illustrations by beloved American artists, including Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell. The dessert’s popularity rose. Woodward’s Genesee Pure Food Company was renamed Jell-O Company in 1923. Two years later it later merged with Postum Cereal, and eventually, that company became the behemoth known as the General Foods Corporation, which is now called Kraft/General Foods.

The gelatinous aspect of the food made it a popular choice among mothers when their children were suffering from diarrhea. In fact, doctors still recommend serving Jell-O water—that is, unhardened Jello-O—to children suffering from loose stools.


Daniel Garodnick was the former New York City Council member who helped organize tenants in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, the 80-acre complex of 110 apartment buildings in Manhattan, when the post-World War II development’s original owner MetLife put the entire property up for sale in 2006. Garodnick, 48, wasn’t just the local council member at the time he also had been a resident for almost his entire life. That explains his personal involvement in helping a grassroots effort face off against developers and big corporate investors to protect the rights of middle-income residents in “StuyTown” and “Peter Cooper,” as both are fondly known.

Garodnick now writes about the experience in his new book “Saving Stuyvesant Town: How One Community Defeated the Worst Real Estate Deal in History,” which releases April 15. The book includes how StuyTown and Peter Cooper, between First Avenue and the East River, and running from 14th Street to 23rd Street, were first built in 1947 for returning war veterans. Garodnick writes how residents from the beginning organized, seeing an end to a white tenant only policy and later resisting the impacts of an immediate rent increase that would have resulted from the expiration of a 25-year tax abatement.

Garodnick in an interview with City & State discussed how his book details the events that unfolded once MetLife sold the development to Tishman Speyer. Residents in their fight for rent protections saw the real estate investment company default on its loans in 2010, leaving real estate services firm CWCapital to take over as owner from 2010 to 2015. The property is now under the control of investment manager Blackstone and Ivanhoé Cambridge, a Canadian real estate company. Garodnick also talks about his upbringing in the apartment complex, how longtime residents compare to the younger, more transient residents of recent years, and a warning against losing a development that’s home to more than 30,000 residents. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tell me about your background and interest in writing about Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

I’m a lifelong New Yorker and grew up the first four years of my life in Stuyvesant Town. Then my parents made the big move across the street to Peter Cooper Village, where we had a little more space and the benefit of air conditioning. For 48 years, I was a resident of StuyTown and Peter Cooper Village. To be honest, I don’t think I ever, ever really thought about leaving. It was home. But almost three months ago, my wife and I moved to be closer to our kids’ school.

At the time it was built, StuyTown and Peter Cooper were intended to be affordable housing for veterans returning from World War II. I think most people recognize it as a place that is different. It was representative of the middle class in New York, and something worth protecting. My book covers the history of Stuyvesant Town tenant activism, from housing policies in the early 1950s, to delivering rent protections in the 1970s and then defeating the worst real estate deal in history in the 2000s. Both StuyTown and Peter Cooper are among the last bastions of middle-class housing in New York City. I thought it was important to tell the story of this committed group of residents who came together against big real estate to preserve a middle-class community.

Who should pay attention most to the StuyTown and Peter Cooper story?

Any community that is seeing its rent protections expiring or being challenged for one reason or another. And that happens frequently. In the years just before the collapse of the housing market in 2008, there was a prevalence of investors who were looking to get rich by pushing rent-stabilized tenants out of their apartments as quickly as possible. State law has changed to make that much more difficult today, but there are frequently tax abatements and other programs that are on the verge of expiring too. This book is a template for how to organize when your community is on the brink.

How does today’s StuyTown and Peter Cooper Village differ from the past?

It’s much younger. It’s more transient. Historically, it had been a place where everybody became a resident for as long as they possibly could. Today, it could be a short-term rental with roommates right out of college or graduate school. But it’s still a mix between shorter-term residents and those who are longer-term. The latter are people who came in and got a rent-stabilized apartment and continue to occupy it. Today’s new tenants go in there and don’t have the same protections.

The new people moving in are paying market rates, correct?

Well, it depends on how they get in. They may be if they walk in off the street into the leasing office. And in many cases, rent is being shared by several roommates because it gets expensive.

Please talk about the current landlords and their commitment.

How long are the current landlords going to stick around being landlords, that’s the question. They expressed a desire to be long-term owners of the property, much like MetLife. They also used an investment fund to buy Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village that was built on longer term, more patient returns.

How did StuyTown and Peter Cooper Village survive the test of time so well, and what have the new owners done to make it more competitive in today’s market?

MetLife had an interest in keeping the community well-maintained and protected. And it had the resources to invest into fixing things when they broke down. In contrast, that is not the case in many communities and many buildings around the city. One of the observations I make in the book is that in predatory investing, you frequently have people coming in buying buildings, then letting them fall apart, taking out every dollar they possibly can and moving on. They made a different move with StuyTown and Peter Cooper. They actually made it even more beautiful and provided even more amenities to attract newer, more affluent residents.

Your book is trying to point out the dangers of possibly losing what became a much-needed community development in Manhattan. How does this serve as a warning to other apartment complexes?

Well, StuyTown and Peter Cooper were on a path to becoming totally unrecognizable as a middle-class community. They hung luxury rental banners from the sides of the buildings and started making changes that were designed to appeal to newer, more affluent residents, like getting rid of a supermarket and replacing it with a gym. That was the path we were on for a while. Without the tenants association, the support of elected officials and housing advocates, that would have been the future. It would have become a fully market rate luxury product unaffordable to nearly everyone. But instead, we were able to significantly stop the bleeding and to deliver an extraordinary outcome at a moment when we had very little leverage.

When I was growing up, I counted firefighters, nurses, construction workers, teachers and small-business owners as my neighbors. To a large degree, that same middle-class demographic exists today. But many people are quietly struggling to hold it all together. So this is a cautionary tale, and it’s also a reminder that affordable housing at all levels of the income spectrum should be at the forefront for policymakers.

After 155 Years, It’s the End of an Era at Cooper Union

The school, located in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood, currently enrolls approximately 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students across three specialized schools for art, architecture and engineering. Cooper Union consistently has been ranked as one of the best schools in the country. And, thanks in part to its free tuition scheme also one of the most selective, with average acceptance rates of just 5-10 percent. Students and faculty fear that the school’s decision to do away with free tuition will weaken the applicant pool. School officials, however, point out that they will continue to offer full need-based scholarships to those who qualify 𠅊n estimated 25 percent of all students—while the remainder of the student body will be charged on a sliding scale, topping out at around $19,000–less than half of the of the school’s estimated yearly tuition of $38,500 and far less than many other private colleges.

Formally known as The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the school was founded in 1859 by New York City native Peter Cooper, a self-educated industrialist who rose from meager beginnings to become one of the richest men in the United States. Cooper, who designed and built the Tom Thumb, America’s first steam locomotive, amassed a huge fortune in iron milling, real estate and the insurance business and been awarded a patent for powdered gelatin that later was used to develop the popular desert “Jell-O.” Cooper had long been a supporter of expanding education opportunities for the city’s masses, and in 1853 broke ground for a school, based on a similar polytechnic school in Paris, which would provide free technical education to all who desired it, an advantage he himself had been unable to obtain in his youth.

Six years𠅊nd $600,000 of Cooper’s own money—later, the school opened its doors. Cooper’s first students, however, were not your typical fresh-faced undergraduates, but adults—primarily male at first—who took evening classes in science and architecture. Cooper soon established daytime classes for women, who could take a variety of courses in typewriting, shorthand and photography and were later admitted to the more rigorous science programs. An ardent abolitionist, Cooper decreed that the school admit all qualified students, regardless of race, at a time when the nation was less than two years away from the outbreak of the Civil War. A full-time engineering program was added in 1902, thanks in part to a donation from steel-magnate Andrew Carnegie. Cooper also built a large, fully stocked library, which stayed open until 10 p.m. and was accessible to both students and local residents to further their own education free of charge. However, in its early years, Cooper Union wasn’t exactly tuition-free– those early students who could afford to pay the school’s tuition did, though no student who demonstrated financial need was ever turned away. To cover operating costs and endow the school for the long-term, Cooper donated much of his fortune to keep it running—the bulk of which was in real estate holdings around the city. In fact, to this day, Cooper Union owns the land beneath New York’s Chrysler Building, a valuable parcel that has fed its coffers for decades.

Over the last 150 years, a number of notable alumni have passed through Cooper Union’s doors, including inventor Thomas Edison abstract painter Lee Krasner sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens architect Daniel Libeskind and Bob Kane, a comic book artist and the creator of Batman. Cooper Union even played an unlikely role in the election of a president: In February 1860, Abraham Lincoln, then a relatively unknown Illinois politician vying for the Republican nomination, gave an address in the school’s Great Hall challenging the expansion of slavery to the western territories. Lincoln’s Cooper Union Speech, delivered in the country’s media capital, catapulted him to national prominence and helped him secure both his party’s nomination and the presidency later that year. Hundreds of distinguished speakers from the worlds of politics, art, finance and literature have followed in Lincoln’s steps ever since, including six other sitting or future presidents, Native American activists, women’s suffrage leaders and the founders of the NAACP, which held its first public meeting in the Great Hall in 1909.

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