Photo courtesy of the Historical Society of East Orange
Posted May 26, 2014
By Greg Hatala email@example.com
No Longer Accessible on the Star Ledger Web Site
EAST ORANGE This photo, taken on May 30, 1950, shows
the dedication of the World War II Memorial in East Orange. The
memorial, located at the southwest corner of City Hall Plaza,
displays the names of the men and women of the city who served in
This years (2014) Memorial Day activities in East
Orange will begin May 26 with a wreath-laying ceremony at City
Hall Plaza at 9 a.m. followed by a parade at 11 a.m. starting at
the corner of Central and South Arlington avenues.
East Orange Delegation to Support Designation
of VA Hospital as Historic Site
East Orange, NJ, July 18, 2017: A delegation of over 50
seniors, veterans, and employees will be heading to the state
capitol on Thursday, July 20th to demonstrate support for the
designation of the East Orange Veterans Administration Hospital
as a national historic site.
A public hearing will be held at 10am in the Department of
Environmental Protection Building at 401 East State Street in
Trenton, NJ. All are welcome to attend. Director of Property
Maintenance Dwight Saunders and Director of Public Safety Sheilah
Coley, both veterans, will be leading the delegation on behalf of
Mayor Lester E. Taylor III and the City of East Orange.
Built in the modern Art Deco architectural style in 1950 and
opened in 1952, the East Orange complex with its nine
original buildings is one of only two VA New Jersey Health
Care Campuses in the State of New Jersey. Constructed to serve
veterans returning from World War II, the 32-acre was the former
estate of retail mogul Louis Bamberger of L. Bamberger & Co.
Department Store in Newark, NJ. Designed by the architecture firm
of Ziegler, Childs, & Paulsen, the hospital has remained a
leading researcher and health care provider for nearly seven
In the early 60s, one of the VAs pioneering researchers,
Dr. Oscar Auerbach, proved the connection between smoking and
lung cancer which ultimately led to the Surgeon Generals
health warning on cigarette packages. In the 90s, the hospital
continued its trailblazing research and became one of three VA
hospitals to study the effects of environmental hazards on
veterans of the Persian Gulf War.
The East Orange Veterans Administration Hospital is
much more than a historical landmark. It is a place where
ground-breaking history was made, transforming health care not
just for veterans, but for everyone living in the United States
of America. With the quality of care of our veterans currently
under much criticism and scrutiny, East Orange is proud to be
home to a model program for providing exceptional care to improve
the health and wellbeing of our veterans, said Mayor Lester
E. Taylor III. By designating the East Orange VA as a
historic site, the State of New Jersey is officially preserving a
rich legacy of service and compassionate care that this facility
has provided for those who have sacrificed the most.
Helen B. Van Ness Red Cross Uniform
We received the
following e-mail today (08/30/18) from Susan Van Ness:
"I found my
grandmothers World War II Red Cross Uniform while going
through boxes. The Red Cross museum already has one of these
uniforms in their collection, but provided me with your contact
information as an organization that may know of historical
societies that may have facilities with a World War II display. I
hate to throw this away if it has some historical value.
"Thanks for your
Susan Van Ness"
We are currently trying
to help Susan Van Ness find a location in East Orange where the
uniform can be on display along with other East Orange Historical
- 09/04/18: Susan has been
contacted by Richetta Lobban of The Historical Society of East
Orange who has said they would love to have her
grandmothers uniform. When it is on display, I will post
the information on its location here.
Helen B. Van Ness in full uniform, circa World War II
Helen Van Ness (born
Butterworth Parmelee) was born on August 2, 1896 in Elizabeth, NJ
to Arthur and Louise Parmelee (born Warren). On March 23, 1918
Helen married Elwood Benson Van Ness (born on October 6 1895, in
Newark, NJ) in Elizabeth, NJ. They raised their 2 children
Robert Parmelee Van Ness and John Hoole Van Ness in
Throughout my childhood, my grandmother often shared memories
about her time working with the Red Cross. She felt it was quite
an honor to serve her country during World War II while both of
her sons served in the US Navy.
When I was 14, Grandmother shared the rule that they were
never to let the gas tank get below ¼ due to gas rationing. This
was particularly memorable a rule that I have lived by my
After retirement, Helen and Elwood split their time at homes in
Putney, VT and Venice, FL. Helen passed away on December 1, 1983,
at age 87 in Venice, Florida. She was buried at the Pompton
Plains Reformed Church in Pompton Plains, NJ.
Veterans Note: Son, John
Van Ness, born 30 May 1921 and died 28 May 2005 (aged 83), is buried in Arlington National
Arlington County, Virginia, USA; PLOT - Sec: 60, Site: 1788.