Raritan Township February 2019

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.


This structure is in good condition – fairly large.  Roofing is intact.  As you can see, there is no chimney or flue of any kind.  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 enclosing the vent.  This structure may require some additional research.  Somehow I suspect that this may have been a residence made with beautiful stones and good stone work.


The opposite short side is shown below.    The short sides are about 12″ 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.  Stay tuned!



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This stone building isn’t the only historical outbuilding on this property, although this one is quite hidden from view.  There is a barn and a corn crib.  Each are in good condition and show foundations of stone.


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The barn with the white doors does have a cupola.  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.

Raritan Township 2018

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, we can a large hearth and it has a year, 1879, stamped at the floor of the hearth.



It was exciting to be able to date the summer kitchen.  The blue door 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 an 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 town, 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.