The origins of Winakung at Waterloo, Inc.

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:47

BYRAM — Andrea Proctor knew that she wanted to work with children, but wanted a job that didn’t exist. A class in the history of New Jersey at Centenary College led her to become the founder and director of Winakung at Waterloo Inc., a nonprofit corporation named for the re-created Lenape Village located within historic Waterloo Village in Byram. Proctor learned about the history of New Jersey through the eyes of Dr. Raymond Frey, professor of history and college historian. Dr. Frey is an expert on New Jersey history and published a widely used textbook on the subject. When Dr. Frey covered Waterloo Village in his class, it became evident to Proctor that the Village and the Morris Canal were national treasures. “I lived near Waterloo Village all my life and had visited the site many times but I never really grasped the historical significance of the village until I took Dr. Frey’s class,” said Proctor. “After that, I would stop at the Morris Canal bed to admire the beauty and try to envision the canal boats gliding by. At the time, the foundation that had managed Waterloo Village for many years was no longer running tours or events and I was heartbroken that this property could just waste away.” Proctor attended Morris Canal Days at Waterloo Village that are run by the Canal Society of New Jersey every year, and watched the Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Parks and Forestry website religiously to see if there was any movement to bring Waterloo alive again. In the fall of 2010 she saw that the Division of Parks and Forestry was re-opening the location on a limited basis for school tours and Proctor was hired as a part-time historical interpreter and also became a Trustee for the newly founded Friends of Waterloo Village organization the same year. When she found out that the Division of Parks and Forestry was looking for an outside entity to manage the tours at Waterloo Village, she thought, “why not me?” She went back to Dr. Frey at Centenary College and asked him if he would be interested in being a part of her ambitious idea. She founded Winakung at Waterloo Inc., a not for profit corporation and recruited several people with skills and interests beneficial to business management and Waterloo Village to be trustees. “I was so pleased that Andrea became inspired to bring Waterloo Village back to life, so to speak, after taking my class,” said Dr. Frey. “To be able to instill such enthusiasm in your students is the greatest teaching reward of all. When she asked me to take the role as a trustee for the organization, of course the answer was yes.” She won the bid to manage the educational programs at Waterloo and has conducted private tours and educational sessions for elementary schools since April. So far, schools have visited from as far away as New York City and as close as Stanhope. During the winter Proctor plans to bring her educational program to the schools. “I am a lucky person to have been able to create a position for myself that didn’t exist, and it is my dream job,” says Proctor. For more information about Winakung at Waterloo visit