Into the 19th century, Peter’s Valley became a small population center, though not depicted on most maps until 1855, when a map of New Jersey depicted “Bevana”. It remained rural, with a few farms and small businesses. In the 20th century, it evolved with some industrialists’ retreats and seasonal homes.
In the 1960s, a North American resurgence in interest in contemporary and traditional crafts laid the groundwork for the Valley’s transition to its next life. The catalyst was the 1965 start of the Tocks Island project and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DEWA). DEWA was to be recreational land around a reservoir which the Army Corps of Engineers planned to create by damming the Delaware River. Trying to make beneficial, controlled use of DEWA, the National Park Service (NPA), looked at various arrangements. One was the 1970 Peters Valley Craft Fair, the success of which resulted in the formation of Peters Valley Craftsmen. Many village structures remain in use, with priority given to retaining the historic character of the Peters Valley Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Peters Valley School of Crafts (formerly Peters Valley Craftsmen) is in its 47th year, and entered the 21st century with optimism for continuing its history of crafts education through workshops, opportunities for artists, outreach events, etc. Since incorporating as a non profit in 1970, Peters Valley has hosted thousands of professional and emerging artists. Of note: In 1975, Japanese potter and ‘Living National Treasure’, Kyusetsu Miwa, was brought over to build an Anagama kiln on the Peters Valley campus. This was the first anagama kiln build for public use in the United States. It still exists and is a huge draw to the Peters Valley campus and ceramic program. Peters Valley still utilizes and maintains the historic structures on campus which are used for studios (blacksmithing, ceramics, fiber/surface design, fiber/weaving, fine metals, photography, woodworking, special topics/glass), housing, galleries (exhibition and retail) and offices and plans to remain in this location, in partnership with the NPS, for years to come. Peters Valley is considered a thought leader in the field of fine craft and one of the top five institutions of its kind in the United States. People come from around the globe to participate in our programming.