03/18/13

Why Not Morristown?
(It Was Good Enough for George Washington)

This weekend, The Press of Atlantic City highlighted the visit of United Nations diplomats who spent a weekend at the seaside resort in January 1946 as part of their search for a home for the UN. Their hosts were sure that they would see their honored guests again. Why? Because the leader of the mission allowed sand to be poured into his shoes. By local custom, this guaranteed a return visit.

Morristown's attachment to its colonial and Revolutionary-era history is clear in the advertisement calling residents together to consider their mayor's plan to attract the United Nations. (Morristown Daily Record)

Morristown’s attachment to its colonial and Revolutionary-era history is clear in the advertisement calling residents together to consider their mayor’s plan to attract the United Nations. (Morristown Daily Record)

While the diplomats visited the shore, communities in North Jersey towns within commuting distance of New York also scrambled to attract attention. Among the most vigorous of contenders was Morristown, located 30 miles west of New York City.

Morristown Mayor Clyde Potts was sure that he had the best possible argument for placing the United Nations in his town. Like world capital promoters in Philadelphia and Boston, Potts viewed his community’s connection to the world in terms of local and American history. In Morristown’s case, this meant the town’s connection to George Washington. While Commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, Washington had selected Morristown as one of his headquarters – so why shouldn’t the United Nations do the same? Continue reading