Thursday, February 28, 2013

Simon Zweighaft's will, the National Farm School and Alliance Colony

Simon Zweighaft's 1911 will has been a treasure trove of information, much still to be revealed.  He died at the Marburg in Atlantic City.  Not the run-down apartments of my imagination, but a state-of-the-art, pink high rise, a marvel of its time.  When the building was torn down in 2008, the Atlantic City Press reported that the building was "most likely patterned after Thomas Edison's reinforced concrete model, a revolutionary style at the time that included imbedded metal in the concrete". In the 1990's, the building housed several lavish seven room apartments with two bathrooms, so it was likely equally upscale in 1912 when Simon was there.
Simon’s 1911 will also lists a bequeath to the National Farm School in Doylestown, PA upon the graduation of his nephews, Bernard and Abraham. The National Farm School was a school established in 1894 to teach Jewish boys agricultural skills.  The picture below depicts the chapel.  


Below is a link to the 1914 annual report for the school. It lists Bernard Zweighaft as a graduate, Simon as a donor and Bernard’s home address as Alliance, NJ.

Bernard's home in Alliance was a Jewish agricultural community established in 1882.  Here is the wikipedia entry on the Alliance Colony:

Looks like we need to plan another genealogy road trip – the founder’s house is still standing and there are plans to turn it into a museum. Add that to the NYC Municipal Archives, Cypress Hills and Bayside cemeteries, Seaview Hospital and Haines Falls trips. Plus Pilica, Poland and Stockholm. I KNEW I should have started this 40 years ago!

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