Economic DevelopmentTourismMorris County celebrates the restoration of the iconic Speedwell Wheelhouse

Morris County Celebrates the Restoration of the Iconic Speedwell Wheelhouse


Morris County celebrates the restoration of the iconic Speedwell Wheelhouse with a plaque presented to the Morris County Park Commission. Funding from the Preserve New Jersey Historic Preservation Fund and Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund made the recent restoration possible. Since 2003, Morris County has awarded nearly $50 million to preserve 122 historic locations.
The waterwheel, a 24′ overshot wonder, powered equipment from 1853 to 1873 when the Speedwell Iron Works closed. Over the years, dedicated restoration efforts have kept this marvel alive and is the birthplace of the telegraph, and one of Morris County’s four National Historic Landmarks.
This site has a rich history, dating back to 1829, and played a crucial role in the early Industrial Revolution.



About The Speedwell Wheelhouse

Historic Speedwell is an 8.2 acre National and State Register Historic Site that contains the estate of Stephen Vail, proprietor of the Speedwell Ironworks.  The Factory Building and attached Wheelhouse are an excellent example of a preserved, early nineteenth-century vernacular farm building modified for various industrial purposes, typical of the early Industrial Revolution in the United States. Construction of a water-powered factory began in 1829 by Dayton Canfield and was eventually completed by his father-in-law, Stephen Vail, later that same year.  The Wheelhouse contains a magnificent 24’ overshot waterwheel.  The present wheel was installed in 1853 replacing an older one.  By this time, George, Stephen’s younger son, had taken over the Ironworks, giving it his own name in 1845.  The Waterwheel is made of wooden spokes and iron parts cast at the Speedwell Ironworks and bearing the “Geo. Vail and Co.” trademark visible on the outer rim of the wheel.

Information and Video Courtesy of the County of Morris.