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Fire Damages Historic NJ Home
Written by Tony Gallotto   
Wednesday, 07 January 2009 14:25

EDISON — A fire in suburban Detroit has badly damaged a historic boarding house that was once home to employees of inventor Thomas Edison while in New Jersey, HardNewsNJ has learned.

A spokeswoman for The Henry Ford museum complex says Monday afternoon's fire was limited to the Sarah Jordan Boarding House.

sarahjordan
A fire badly damages the historic Sarah Jordan boarding house, formerly in Edison

 The structure was built about 1870 on Christie Street in the Menlo Park section of what is now Edison Township. It was the first house in the United States to be wired for electricity in 1879.

Henry Ford bought the boarding house in 1929, had it carefully disassembled and moved it to Dearborn, Mich. to be reassembled as part of the Menlo Park section of Greenfield Village in honor of his friend, Thomas Edison.

Sarah Jordan, a widow, converted her duplex into a boarding house in 1878 so Thomas Edison's unmarried employees would have a place to live near the inventor's Menlo Park laboratory.

Her house was the first to be lighted by Edison's newly invented incandescent lamp during a demonstration in December 1879.

Since the light bulbs, which were mounted on the walls, were experimental, Sarah Jordan and her boarders also relied on kerosene lamps as well. Up to sixteen of Edison's employees are known to have boarded in the six upstairs bedrooms of the house.

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