rsz_img_69622Thomas Alva Edison‘s links to New Jersey  are well-documented. But it’s unlikely that many Garden Staters know about his interest in ice boating on what’s now called the Navesink River.

Edison’s American Vitascope Co. shot footage of ice boaters on what was then called the North Shrewsbury River between 1901 and 1904, according to historical accounts.

Your chance to learn all about it and see Edison’s actual footage is next week.

Sponsored by the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, the Atrium at Navesink Harbor will host a screening of a silent-film retrospective of Edison’s accounts, from 7 to 9p on February 4.

Since the untitled film only lasts about 15 minutes, the rest of the time will be filled in by guest speakers discussing iceboating history and boatbuilding along the Navesink.

Charles Ladoulis, president of the heritage association, will offer a little maritime history in an illustrated presentation called “Ports to Playground.” Chan Irwin, owner of Irwin Marine — where Edison is said to have worked developing sonar — will discuss iceboating on the Navesink at the turn of the century.

There’s one more special treat that should get the iceboating and history buffs at least a little giddy. A century-old ice boat once exhibited in Paris will be on display as well as the coveted cup of iceboating — the van Nostrand trophy, which was won only once, by the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club, in 1890, according to the New York Times. The club defended the trophy once, in 1978, and since then it has been locked away. Until now.

But Christine Burke, who’s running the public relations for The Atrium, said that the evening won’t appeal only to those with a special interest in iceboating or the river. Burke, not herself an iceboater in any fashion, has seen the movie and said she was impressed.

“I’ve lived here and looked out on that river for years and I thought that was really cool — (iceboating) is not something you get to see all the time. It’s pretty special.”

Burke is hoping for a special night. The public is invited to check it out for free. Call to 1-800-842-2480 to RSVP.