Restoration of the Vail Factory Wheelhouse at Historic Speedwell

Restoration of the Vail Factory Wheelhouse at Historic Speedwell

Vail Factory Wheelhouse Prequalification Regulations and Forms

Vail Factory Wheelhouse public hearing notice


Public Hearing:

A public hearing on the adoption of prequalification regulations and procedures for general restoration contractors which will apply to the anticipated bid for the Restoration of the Vail Factory Wheelhouse at Historic Speedwell in Morristown, New Jersey, will be convened at 5:00 p.m., prevailing time on Monday, May 24, 2021.  The public hearing will be part of the regularly scheduled Park Commission meeting conducted online via WebEx.  Meeting access instructions can be found at  A copy of the proposed regulations and procedures are available for public inspection by clicking here until the public hearing. 

The public is invited to submit comments at the hearing or to send written comments by mail to the Executive Director, Morris County Park Commission, P.O. Box 1295, Morristown, NJ 07962, or by email to by Friday, May 21, 2021.  The Park Commission may take formal action to adopt prequalification regulations and procedures following the close of public comments that evening.



The restoration of the Vail Factory Wheelhouse and Waterwheel has been made possible, in part, by public funds from the Preserve New Jersey Historic Preservation Fund administered by the New Jersey Historic Trust and the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund. 

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. 

The preservation architectural firm of Connolly & Hickey Historical Architects completed a full conditions assessment, design development and subsequent construction documents to address all condition issues for the restoration of the Wheelhouse.  The project will complete the necessary tasks to restore the Wheelhouse and carefully balances the site and community’s needs while preserving the historic elements in accordance with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. 



Historic Speedwell, 333 Speedwell Avenue, Morristown, NJ 07960


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