Sunday, October 5, 2014



WHEN: Saturday, October 11, from 10:00 AM-5:00P M and Sunday, October 12, from Noon-4:00 PM
FREE to the public of all ages.

Leisurely visit twenty-six historic house museums/sites, countywide, in scenic Somerset County, New Jersey. Go to for more information.

Don’t miss  an opportunity to step into and experience the past by visiting up to 26 historic sites countywide open. This annual Autumn weekend features interpreted tours led by costumed docents; special collections & exhibitions; period military drills & encampments by living history re-enactors; NJ’s 350 Years of History highlighting WWII home front, Central NJ transportation history, and Revolutionary War; open hearth cooking; traditional blacksmithing; 19th century firefighting wagons & apparatus; antiques sales; historic bridge rehabilitation design & construction phases; Art exhibitions of fine local artists; participatory crafts activities for kids; live theatre and live period music performances; Actors/Actresses portraying historical figures, such as John Quincy and Abigail Adams; genealogical resources; silent movie at the historic Brook Theater by the Garden State Organ Society; participatory barn dance instruction; daily chores of 18th century life; military history; demonstrations; local history videos; interesting architecture … and so much more.

Docents like these at the Abraham Staats House in South Bound Brook immerse our younger generations in history so they develop a love and respect for things historic, hopefully growing up to be the next stewards of historic preservation for future generations.

Visitors may follow a scenic route, with driving directions prepared for each of three sections in the County—northern, central, and southern—or choose the sites that intrigue them most and drive from one to the next at a leisurely pace, stopping for a bite to eat along the way at any of the many fine eateries in Somerset County.

The northern route includes eight stops in the Watchung Mountains, an area that was never heavily industrialized, and which still retains much of its Colonial agrarian character. Thirteen sites in the central section lie a short distance from the Old York Road, a prominent commercial course from New York to Philadelphia, predating the Revolutionary War.

In the southern tier, five more sites are connected by some of Somerset's most scenic roads, paralleling both sides of the Millstone River and Delaware and Raritan Canal.

For those who enjoy a challenge, an educational and fun detective investigation activity for kids and the entire family will test your powers of deduction to solve 26 mysteries. One unique item from the past will be featured, displayed and identified, along with its description, at each of the 26 participating historic sites during this year’s event. As a rookie detective enlisted to investigate, you are assigned to reveal the true identity and function of each mystery item.

Your Task, Research and Investigative Travels: In advance, download an “Official Investigative Task Booklet “ from the event website . Next to the name and town of each participating historic site you’ll find a small photo of a mystery item you are assigned to identify. After examining the photo carefully, write down in you booklet what you believe the item is. Once you do that for all pictured items, take your task booklet, along with a pencil, and go to as many participating historic sites as you can on Saturday, Oct. 11 and /or Sunday, Oct 12 searching the premises to locate the mystery item. Once you find it, read the posted information identifying and describing it to see if your powers of deduction were correct, and rate your final rank as a weekend detective.

For the “Tech. Savvy”.. you can also view each site’s mystery item from your smart phone prior to visiting each by accessing the mystery photos from the event's

Though you won’t have a booklet to record your guesses, you and your family or friends will have fun challenging each other to guess each item’s identity in advance, before you walk through the door to discover it’s true identity, or confirm that you guessed it correctly when you arrive at each site. Enjoy your quest! We are all looking forward to your visit.

Please note: website updates may not yet be complete. All website pages are anticipated to be updated by /before end of the 1st week of September 2014.

Three new sites participating in this year’s event are 1.)The Somerville Fire Museum displaying, among other fascinating exhibits/artifacts, a 1880 Amoskaeg Steam Pumper; 2.) Duke Farms Coach Barn, the 1st major building constructed at Duke Farms with its distinctive clock tower which though nominally serving as a stable and carriage house, also housed a circular office for J.B. Duke, his estate manager, and an apartment for his chauffer; and 3.) the restored historic 1886 Nevius Street Bridge (above), oldest documented metal truss bridge in Somerset County adjacent to Raritan Water Power Canal Park and the Duke Estate. Bridge Engineers will be on hand to welcome your visit to discuss the design and construction of the restoration process, enhanced by display board visuals. This bridge is open to pedestrian traffic with benches located along the span.

The range of historical stewardship along the way is impressive. State of New Jersey historic sites and parks include the Wallace House, and Washington Rock Park, all with relevance to the Continental Army. Local municipalities supervise and interpret places like the Old Presbyterian Graveyard in Bound Brook, the Somerville Fire Museum or the Mt. Bethel Meeting House in Warren. Under the watchful eye and dedication of organizations like the Meadows Foundation, the Heritage Trail Association, the Old Millstone Forge Association and many others, historic properties interpret and commemorate early Dutch and American heritage. Local parishes and friend's groups tend to the Presbyterian Church of Bound Brook, Coddington Farmstead, the Abraham Staats House, and others. Destinations along the way range from one-room schoolhouses in Millstone, South Branch, and Griggstown to nationally renowned museums in elegant mansions like that at the USGA Museum and Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History in Far Hills. In between, the hills of Somerset will bloom with prime fall foliage.

2014 Participating Historic Sites / Locations

  • USGA Museum in Far Hills

  • Boudinot Southard Ross Property/Basking Ridge (N)

  • The Brook Theater /Brook Arts Center/Bound Brook (C)

  • Codington Farmstead/Warren (N)

  • Duke Farms Coach Barn/Hillsborough (S)

  • Frelinghuysen (Gen.John) House/Raritan Public Library/Raritan (C)

  • Griggstown School House/ Franklin\Kennedy Martin Stelle Farmstead / Basking Ridge (N)

  • Kirch Ford Terrell House/Warren Township (N )

  • Millstone 1860 Schoolhouse/Millstone Boro.Hall / Millstone (S)

  • Mount Bethel Meeting House/Warren Township(N )

  • Nevius Street Bridge / Raritan/Hillsborough (C)

  • Old Millstone Forge Blacksmith Shop & Museum/Millstone (S)

  • Old Presbyterian Graveyard/Bound Brook (C)

  • The Presbyterian Church at Bound Brook (C)

  • Relief Hose Company No.2 Firehouse/Raritan (C)

  • Somerville Fire Museum/Somerville (C)

  • South Branch School House/Branchburg (C)

  • Abraham Staats House/South Bound Brook (C)

  • Andrew Ten Eyck House/Branchburg (C)

  • United States Golf Association/ Frothingham Mansion/ Far Hills (N)

  • Jacobus Vanderveer House/Bedminster (N)

  • Van Horne House/Bridgewater (C)

  • Van Veghten House/Bridgewater (C)

  • Wallace House/Somerville (C)

  • Washington Rock State Park/Green Brook (N)

  • Wyckoff-Garretson House/Franklin/Somerset (S)

Somerset County's Weekend Journey Through The Past is an initiative of the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission and Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, in collaboration with dedicated representatives of local history organizations/commissions, as well as some local artists/arts organizations. For details about participating sites and contest entries, please click on the event website.