Historic Houses Tours: January 2020
Historic house tours are not available Wed., Jan. 22; Thurs., Jan. 23; or Fri., Jan. 24.
Please call (908) 725-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm tour availability before visiting.
Five Generals Bus Tour
Sunday, February 16, 2020
The Heritage Trail Association’s signature tour takes travelers through five historic houses used as generals’ headquarters during the 1778-79 Middlebrook Cantonment including Gen’l Washington’s headquarters at the Wallace House. Register with Heritage Trail.
Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage Association Annual Meeting
Washington’s Birthday, Saturday, February 22, 2020
Celebrate Washington’s Birthday with the nonprofit Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage Association, learning about the work they carry out to support education and preservation at Wallace House & Old Dutch Parsonage and how you can get involved in the coming year.
How “Finding” Lost Waterways Can Help Us Adapt
Sunday, March 15, 2020, 1:30pm
As we travel through our communities, few of us think about the hidden world of streams and rivers that once flowed across the landscape. In the face of climate change and increased precipitation, real life has shown us that stormwater runoff and flooding have intensified. Centuries of piping, culverting and development have hidden the vast majority of waterways in urban areas including a Raritan River tributary that flows below Wallace House & Old Dutch Parsonage. The impact of these factors can be devastating: communities are alienated from their streams and historic ecologies, habitats are degraded, and water quality is compromised. In this program, participants will examine the changes made to our urban streams and hydrology over time. How to read a topographic map, identify watersheds, and #lookfortheriver – to empower community members to explore their own local landscapes – will be included in this program too.
Dr. Heather Fenyk, founder and president of the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, leads this presentation. This program is funded by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
This program is one in a series celebrating the Department of Environmental Protection’s 50th Birthday.
The Old Dutch Parsonage was constructed in 1751 with funds from three Dutch Reformed Church
congregations of the Raritan Valley. This two and one half story brick Georgian building was first occupied by the Reverend Mr. John Frelinghuysen and his family. While Frelinghuysen served
the three congregations, he also tutored several young men in his home, preparing them for the seminary.
John Frelinghuysen died in 1754 leaving behind his wife, Dinah, and two children, Frederick and Eva.
He was succeeded by the Reverend Mr. Jacob Hardenbergh, one of the young men whom he had once tutored.
Unlike his predecessor, Jacob Hardenbergh did not tutor students in his home. He was, however, interested in education. In 1766, Hardenbergh drafted, circulated, and submitted a petition to the Royal Government to establish a new "classical and divinity" school in the Colony of New Jersey. As a
result of his efforts, Queen's College was chartered in the same year.
In 1785, Jacob Hardenbergh became the first President of Queen's College, known today as Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
Jacob Hardenbergh also played an important role during the American Revolution. A supporter of the
American cause, he served in the Provincial Congress of New Jersey.
While the Continental Army was encamped in the Watchung Mountains during the winter of 1778-79,
Hardenbergh became friendly with General Washington. Jacob Hardenbergh helped ease tensions between the army and local residents who, although supportive of independence, were greatly inconvenienced by the troops' presence.
In 1781, Jacob Hardenbergh left Somerville to take a position in New York. The Dutch Parsonage remained a pastor's residence until 1810, when the church sold the building to Dr. Peter Stryker, a prominent local physician. In 1836, Stryker sold the house to the Doughty family.
The Doughtys owned the house until 1907, when they sold it to the Central Railroad of New Jersey.
The railroad purchased the property to make improvements to the railroad right-of-way and slated the house for demolition. Fortunately, the Parsonage was saved by interested persons who moved it to its
present location in 1913. The State of New Jersey acquired the property in 1947.