Carman Cemetery

Headstone of Elijah Carman at the new Open Space, Raritan Township, located at 52 Sergeantsville Road, Flemington, NJ. One of two Revolution war veterans buried at this site.

Addition unmarked headstones lie in a row with the Carman headstone.

The headstone of Jesse Pettit, also a Revolutionary War veteran. can be found a short distance from the Carman headstone.

April 12, 2023

Historic Outbuildings

Throughout Hunterdon county, I frequently come across a striking property, sometimes closeby or in the distance. It is frequently a component of the messuage that takes my breath away.

It never seems to matter the time of day or season of the year. The remembrances of the past, going back 2-3 centuries.

Franklin Township Spring House

On one of the most scenic roads in Hunterdon County, there are several spring houses located on opposite ends of the road.

The one shown below rests along the bank of a beautiful property, hidden from view of the road, just east of the historic stone home.  A very scenic location.


There are steps leading to the spring house from the house.


The spring house is roughly 52″ in length, height and width with slate roof.


The spring house is seated in a stone walled enclosure that holds water during heavy rains.   Below is an inside view.  The white line is marked on the photograph to show the water level.


Many of the historic outbuildings like this vintage spring house needed to be reliably functional and still are.

Tower Hill Springhouse Dimensions

I have sketched the faces of the Tower Hill springhouse to show sizes of openings and overall dimensions.  The first is the Street View shown below.  This side of the springhouse faces west.

Street View

The north side of the springhouse has no windows or doors but the southern side has a single door as shown below:

Southern View

The frame is 2 feet in from the eastern side of the springhouse and it is 42″ wide which includes the frame.

The east face has a window and an entry to the second floor.

Eastern Face Dimensions




Bethlehem Township Springhouse at Tower Hill Reserve (revised)


Thanks to a very supportive and friendly Hunterdon County Parks & Recreation division, I was able to photograph in detail the beautiful springhouse at the Tower Hill Farm.  On a rainy morning, of course.  A special thanks to Ranger Warren Schultz for his help and everyone along the way to this Sunday morning.

I had been to the springhouse on a previous occasion several weeks earlier, but it was raining with such hard winds that day that I just couldn’t do the springhouse justice.  Today was a much better day.

We see from the historic marker of the Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commision  that this 2-story stone springhouse dates to the 1840s.  It is right on the road and easy to see.  There is a place to park just north of the springhouse.

This springhouse is 14′ wide x 16’3″ long x  16’3″ tall to the peak of the roof from our measurements.  It has been restored with a new roof, gutters, new doors and shutters.  It doesn’t seem to have any of the original hardware.

This is the street view of the springhouse.


We can see two openings, lower one is 28.5″ wide x 21.5″ tall (frames included) and upper portal is 20″ wide and 28′ tall.  The window frames and shutters/door have been replaced in keeping with the original design.  This view is the west side of the springhouse.

The south side of the springhouse has a single door.


The north side has no windows or doors.  This is my favorite view of the springhouse.  It shows the rich stonework and permanence of these historical outbuildings.


The eastern face of the springhouse has a window and a full size entrance to the second level of the springhouse.  Here are several views.


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The lower two-door window is placed in the same position of the same window on the western view.  When it is ajar you can see the opposite window.  The first floor of the springhouse is flooded with water as you can see below.  The original beams are supporting the second level floor boards.


With a ladder supplied by the County Ranger, I was able to enter and see the second story in full detail.  The roof is new and here are several views of the interior with some of the original framework.


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I have been looking at the mortars used in the historic outbuildings – the original vs examples of repointing.  Several of the springhouses and summer kitchens have very similar mortars – namely slaked lime with sand usually rounded.  In this springhouse, what I think are examples of the original mortar,  sand is irregular shaped.

An interesting article on “Repointing mortars in historical masonry buildings” is from the National Park Service and here is the link to Repointing mortars .  It is from their Technical Preservation Services, Preservation Briefs, by the National Park Service, US Department of the Interior.


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The Tower Hill Farm springhouse is, I believe, the first I have seen with such an irregular sand composition and visually broader particle size distribution.

Here is the final view from the road.SH-17

This is all that remains of the original estate.  Fortunately, the springhouse is in good hands.





Franklin Township Summer Kitchen and Smoke House


Today’s search for vintage outbuildings takes me to the NJ Ag Experimental Station, Rutgers University.  I had long noticed the stone building not far from the road.  It is large, 1.5 stories tall and apparently in excellent condition from what I could see from the road. 

With permission, I photographed the building, inside and outside. It is a beautiful summer kitchen as we can from the photos below!  I paced it off and it is approximately 10′ x 14′.


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It hasn’t been “preserved” well in its 20/21th century upgrades.  The roof has been replaced and the chimney removed, the windows updated without an eye to historic renovation.  Nevertheless, it is beautiful building and is representative of its type.

Some of the original hardware can be found on the entrance door and the iron hangers on the front face.


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The inside of the summer kitchen is now used for storage so it is difficult to show well but it does have a large hearth, stairwell to the 2nd floor loft and a closet – very similar to design of the summer kitchen documented in my post Raritan Township 2018!


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Several views of the windows are shown below, with drain and a photo of the mortar.  This mortar appears to be common in many stone outbuildings.


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In a very different part of Franklin Township is a beautiful smoke house.  I also had the pleasure of finding the owners of the property who graciously allowed me to photograph this historic outbuilding.  It is 10’2″ x 10’2′ square and in its original condition.  Fabulous indeed.


Below is the entrance to the smoke house with details of the weathered door and hardware.

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While the owner of this property apologized for the condition of the smoke house, I was delighted to find it in its original condition.  And it has slate roofing!

Here are some views of the inside of the smoke house with its vent.

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Adjoining the smoke house is a beautiful water well – again with the original hardware and signage, EAH 70 – perhaps dated to 1870?

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Raritan Township Summer Kitchen and Smoke House

On a sunny Sunday morning, I was a guest at an amazing Angus farm in Raritan Township.  Far off the road, the property is a sprawling River-Friendly working farm with a beautiful historic stone house with several impressive stone outbuildings.  The property is included in the township Historic Site Survey of the 1970s.  The owners were generous in letting me photograph the buildings.

The outbuilding is 1 and 1/2 story with gable roofs, timber-linteled fireplace and three original windows.  Attached at the north face is the smoke house.  It is beautiful and well preserved.


The smoke house is 9′ wide and 12′ long, and 6′ tall, 8′ to the top of the roof.  The summer kitchen, with the chimney, is roughly 17′ long, 14′ wide and 16.5′ tall.  The front of the outbuilding is shown below with the date engraved in the stone, 1895.


Here is a view of the back of the summer kitchen/smoke house which also shows the large stone house in front of the outbuildings.


There is a front door to the smoke house and a small opening in the stones as a vent on the northern upper face.

On either side of the door are wood beams – which also appear at other structural locations of the smoke house and summer kitchen.  One beam face below also has an old vintage spike – likely for hanging lanterns, buckets and other objects.  Additional hooks and spikes are shown, on the south face of the summer kitchen.

The summer kitchen also has a large hearth with small brick lined baking insert, as we can see below:


There is a loft in the summer kitchen.  Below is a view of the original beams supporting the floor boards of the loft and the window on the north face.

As you can see from the window image, the walls of the summer kitchen and the smoke house are very thick, about 18″.

There are several other outbuildings on the property, including a 19th century English barn and gable roof wood shed.  All in beautiful condition.

I thank the owners for the opportunity to add their treasures to my photo journal.

The Historic Site Survey says the “this farmstead retains a complement of buildings that are illustrative of the area’s farm culture and building practices in the early 19th century.  Of particular note is the small out-kitchen with attached smoke house”.

I completely agree.  They are treasures.




Raritan Township Combination Outbuilding

I drive along Route 31 in Hunterdon County often, daily, in fact, for many years now.  Never have I noticed a spring house or any historic outbuilding along the highway.  This weekend, however, my husband pointed one out to me!  And several other buildings as well.  I pulled up to the spot as close as I could, jumped out to take a good peak, and yes indeed!  Prospects for the spring house or other historic outbuilding looked promising.

What a surprise, to say the least!  Since we have gotten a reprieve from the freezing cold, I grabbed my camera during lunch and tracked through the brush and trees to get a few good shots of my stone outbuilding.  Here are several views, showing how it is built into the side of a hill near a stream.  This looks to be a very good location for a spring house but this is quite large – and perhaps was the original home.   From its placement into the hill, it could have been a root cellar, well protected from the elements.  It is very hard to see from the road.  Below is a view of the back of the house.


This structure is in fair condition – fairly large.  Roofing is intact but needs some help.  As you can see, there is no chimney or flue of any kind and some of the stone has been pushed in along the back wall.

On one of the short sides, there is a large vent.  There are markings that show the location of another shorter structure outlined on the side with the vent.  This structure may require some additional research.


The opposite short side is shown below.    The short sides are about 12 feet long.


This outbuilding has two doors on the front of the structure.  I just learned the name of the prior property owners and will do some research at the historical societies and the hall of records.

I suspect that this is a spring house from the interior of the two compartments – one is lower and very wet and the other is higher and dry.  The wet half is the spring house and perhaps the second dry compartment was for making butter and cheese.  There is a well on the outside of the springhouse.  The well is covered now but was likely enclosed by the missing section outlined on one of the outer walls.



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The two compartments of the spring house are shown below.  The work shop for butter and cheese making is damaged.  We can see the wet bottom of the springhouse section.


This stone building isn’t the only historical outbuilding on this property.  There is a small barn/shed and a corn crib.  Each is in good condition and we see foundations of stone.




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The barn with the white doors does have a cupola better shown below.


And a water pump is shown below.


We seem to be off to a good start in 2019.  Perhaps weather permitting,  I will be able to photograph a few more priceless historical outbuildings this week.

I have recently learned that this outbuilding/property is included in the Raritan Township Historic Sites Survey prepared for the Committee of Historic Preservation of Raritan Township, dated March, 1987.  The stone outbuilding discussed above is thought to be mid-19th century, perhaps a “combination springhouse/smokehouse with two batten-doored, timber-linteled entries and in the north gable end a ventilation slit and wooden-grilled window”.  The springhouse/smokehouse is thought to be of particular note with possibly eligibility for national register.  At least that was a thinking in 1987.  I think we should strive to pursue that thought, even if at the local historical preservation level.

For those of more scholarly interest, this property is Inventory #1021-106.

Raritan Township Outbuildings

There is a property in Raritan Township of Hunterdon County NJ that always catches my eye.  Many times in all kinds of weather, I just have to stop and gaze at the beautiful barn and landscape, much to the chagrin to the motorists behind me.  I noticed that there were several outbuildings hidden by trees and brush somewhat hidden from view but I knew they were there and always tried to find a better view.


I sent the owner of this property a note, asking if I might be allowed to photograph their outbuildings and surprisingly, he said yes!  Needless to say, I was excited for this outstanding opportunity and we set a date, this was mid 2018.  He was a most gracious host.

The property has two outbuildings, a summer kitchen and also a spring house.  The owner thinks that the summer kitchen was actually a residence for the servants of the homestead.  Certainly it is large enough to serve as a residence.  Both are beautiful stone buildings and quite large.  Unfortunately, I do not have dimensions as yet, but I will promise to get these some time soon.  Several views of the outside of the 2-story summer kitchen is shown below.





The beautiful wooden door is original and so is the hardware shown in detail below.


Inside there is large hearth and it has a year, 1879, stamped at the cement floor of the hearth.



It was exciting to be able to date the summer kitchen.

The blue door in the photo below is a small closet between the hearth and the stairway going to the second floor.



The second floor is shown below:


The building is very well constructed with plenty of windows to let in the light of the day.  The stairwell is also well built to carry whatever needed to go up or down.  I will have dimensions to complete the picture of this summer kitchen as soon as I can.

Further down the sloping property is a large spring house.  The area around the spring house is quite wet and marshy, the reason for the location of this tall spring house!



The spring house is quite tall and the inside is very handsome, as shown below.


The roof has been redone.  The owner has shown great care in preserving the historic outbuildings.

So much of the original details have been preserved on this property.  It is a tribute to the current owner.


This property gave me an opportunity to study its history in depth.  I was able to study a property’s history at the Hall of Records and the Hunterdon County Historical Society library.  I spent hours tediously reading through deeds of this property and the various changes of hands.  And while at the Historical Society on Main Street in Flemington (an amazing place!), I learned about the early owners and settlers of this property.  I looked through the bible entries of the family that built the beautiful barn and probably the various outbuildings.  It was an awesome experience and I am most grateful to the owner for his invitation to learn who built his beautiful barn!  I had initials and a year – and with the help of the resources in Flemington, I was able to come up with a family history going back many generations.  I would like to thank the Hall of Records and the Historical Society for their helpful discussions and suggestions.



My Photo Essay of Hunterdon County

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I noticed my first spring house (photos above and below) in Delaware Township about 8-9 years ago.  It is on a small narrow country lane, one that I drove down every day for several years on the way to work in our lab/offices in Rosemont, NJ.  I never noticed it until one day there was a traffic jam of ducks waddling across the road – and they took so long that I had lots of time to get out my camera and start taking photographs of the quacking grid lock that was developing.  I raised my eyes, and there she was.  The most beautiful spring house you could imagine.  Very over-grown with tall weeds, grasses, vines, brush trees.  The variations in color and textures were perfect – and the stones equally appealing.  It was a perfect stone structure for the spring house.  I fell in love.


I visited and photographed this spring house in all four seasons, many times.  Hoping to get the “just right” photograph.  My biggest fear, even today, is that one day I will return to do this again, but it will be gone…..

So, what exactly is a Spring House?  Or Springhouse?  Well, it usually has water, from a surface spring.  This patch of water, which can be flowing, is protected by an enclosure, typically from stone, brick or wood, with a door that can be closed from the elements and possible intruders.  It is damp, and cool, year round.    The surface area varies and the materials of construction vary as well.  Some are solid structures made masterfully from stone with great care and cost.  Others are more simple, but each springhouse contains the same elements of an enclosed water source.

These spring houses can be quite cool, serving as a short term refrigerator for dairy products, especially milk, and roots, vegetables.  In some communities, with dairy farms, these spring houses were a drop off spot for milk containers, for subsequent deliveries. In some cases, it seems that the spring house was solely build to protect the surface water source.  These can be quite small, perhaps 4′ wide x 6′ deep and 8-10′ tall.  The inside space no bigger than a small coat closet.

On richer homesteads with surface water, spring houses can be quite large.  They may have dirt floors and solid thick stone walls and roofs.  Possibly a window or two.  In some cases, the spring house can be combined with the summer kitchen which is delightful to see!  These structures look like self contained small dwellings, possibly two floors or lofted, with hearths, baking ovens, water channels, etc.  A picture of ingenuity!  Indeed, it is easy to see that necessity is the mother of invention.  They are not the water wells of the homestead, but cool locations for storage and protectors of surface springs.

May 15,  2018: Traveling through Hunterdon County’s townships, I occasionally run across a gem of a spring house, summer kitchen or combination structure, if I am lucky!  Here is a one near a road in Delaware Township.  It is a fine stone two story building in Delaware Township.  I’m wondering is this, perhaps is a smokehouse?


Not far from this springhouse is another set back from the road.

I especially like the wooden doors that have survived on these structures for a century or more.  The hardware and the wood capture my attention quite easily.

Raven Rock b3

June 17, 2018:  Occasionally I run into a little perfect springhouse.  This one is in Delaware Township on an exquisite rural road – one of my favorites.  This springhouse is hidden behind the home, slightly recessed from the dwelling.


The lush garden surrounding the springhouse is impressive.  Sometimes I am only able to snatch a photo and can’t explore inside for details. I’ll try to revisit this outbuilding on another occasion.

Occasionally I stumble across a springhouse that has not survived.  This one is just off the road in Raritan Township.  It is on a property where a new house is under construction.  Sadly, this will probably disappear soon.



Spring 2022 – Update

I’m finishing up a book, rather, a photo journal, on root cellars in Hunterdon County. It has been a long, tedious exercise, full of ups and downs along the way. Now it is full of beautiful photographs of vintage structures. thanks to the property owners willing to share they historic outbuildings.

I expect the final draft to be completed in the next few weeks and then, hopefully, the book will be off to the press.

Special Farm in Hunterdon County

Some farms are special, this one is totally awesome. Beautiful organic fruits, vegetables, greens, herbs, tomatoes, berries, okra, cauliflower, broccoli, growing happy with an osprey nest overlooking the site. And there’s a place for bees to feel at home. This one is hands down special – the farm stand is a great place to visit to bring home fresh vegetables for a dinner or two. Or get it delivered! Old Village Farm, Milford, NJ. Did I say ORGANIC?

May 2021

I feel an apology is in order since I have neglected this site for too many months! But it hasn’t been for lack of research and work. I have spend many days tracking down and photographing wonderful outbuildings throughout Hunterdon County and other parts of the garden state. Working with local historians throughout the various counties and townships, I’m making progress in photographing and cataloguing outbuildings including smokehouses, springhouses, outkitchens, ice cellars, root cellars and more. The pandemic has given me lots of quiet time to scour the state for interesting properties with receptive owners allowing me access to their properties.

I am particularly grateful to those of you who have reached out to me with questions and details of your specific outbuildings. This has been a treasure to me – opening my eyes to new and different locations throughout the state with awesome historic structures. Thank you.

I’ll be back soon, hopefully with a compilation of new and exciting posts.

October 2020 Delaware Township

This morning I visited once again my favorite springhouse located in delaware township.

It is sad to see this beautiful structure beginning to see signs of abuse. Someone has opened the door unthoughtfully and damaged the frame around the door and left the door ajar.

The two anchor stones before the arch are starting to erode. I think this is one of those structures that should be repaired and preserved. I think I’ll make that suggestion to the township historians to see what remedies there may be.