Christmas In The Country House Tour: December 8, 2019

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The Knowlton Historic Commission will sponsor the first Christmas In The Country House Tour, a self-guided tour of historic homes decorated for the holiday season, and sites of historic interest in Knowlton Township, on December 8 from 1-4pm. 

Advance tickets for the holiday house tour are available for $15 at Eventbrite.
Or admission may be purchased on the day of event for $20.

Ramsaysburg

The excursion begins at the historic Ramsaysburg Farmstead Tavern House, the prominent building fronting Route 46, where participants can collect tickets, a tour map and program and enjoy a cup of wassail and holiday refreshments any time until 2:30pm. 

Catering to both road and river traffic and commerce, the tavern and about fifty acres along the Delaware River in newly formed Knowlton Township appealed to brothers James and Adam Ramsay in 1795. The prime location, complete with a tributary cascading from the mountains into the Delaware River, held unlimited potential.Built in two parts, the building’s original portion is dated circa 1800. It is at once typical of the average construction of its era, and atypical in its form and function. Built as a tavern/store and a dwelling place, the original portion of the homestead was definitely a multi-use structure.

Delaware

In the mid 1800s, commerce at Ramsaysburg yielded to the village of Delaware, which was established by local businessman John I. Blair for the purpose of serving as a terminus for the Warren Railroad, built in the 1850s. Blair laid out the streets, and built a hotel, store and train station in 1856 that turned the town into a commercial center and a main shipping point for local agricultural products. The railroad also brought tourists to town, capitalizing on its proximity to the Delaware Water Gap, the river, and the surrounding woods and fields. The Delaware Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

Historic view of Delawanna House, just north of the village of Delaware. The river is visible at the left side of the picture.

Your tour map will direct you along Valley Street past the Delaware Presbyterian Church, built in 1875. The Delaware Post Officeat 9 Clinton Street has occupied the building since 1884 without interruption, making it the oldest in New Jersey still operating in its original building. Dr. Jabez Gwinnup came to Delaware Station from Belvidere in 1816. He was the first to build a home here actually which predates the village.  The pioneer physician died at age 70 and is buried at Ramseyburg Cemetery in Knowlton. The Gwinnup House still stands today at 61 Valley Street. On Ann Street, Albert Ammerman’s blacksmith shop, which he established on property he purchased from Blair in 1866, is also still prominent in the village on Ann Street. The Delawanna House, a former summer boarding house on the outskirts of the village, will be open for inspection. Further up Delaware Road, the Silverthorne Farmhouse, built sometime before 1825, will also welcome visitors. And don’t miss a visit to the Garden State Heirloom Seed Society Museum which now occupies an old farmhouse at Delaware Lake. The museum occupies three rooms on the ground floor of the old home and includes an assembly of ingenious aides for the everyday manual tasks of a “pre-industrial” farmer, as well as artifacts that document the extensive dairy industry that characterizes the township’s agricultural heritage.

Garden State Heirloom Seed Museum

Polkville

In addition to Ramsaysburg, a number of small farming and milling villages arose late in the eighteenth century, including Centerville, Polkville, and Warrington. By the nineteenth century, each of these villages had a post office, and several had taverns. There were thirteen gristmills, seven sawmills, ten tanning vats, four distilleries and a glass manufactory. The Knowlton Presbyterian Churchwas one of the first places of worship in the historic community. The crossroads community of Polkville was named in the 1840s when then President Polk selected this vicinity for a post office. The hamlet contained a large grist mill, school, smithy shop store, tannery, tavern, and several dwellings. Two surviving nineteenth century residences on Polkville Road will open their doors for this year’s house tour.

Howell Farm at 150 Polkville Road

Hainesburg

Travelers can cross the Paulins Kill on the historic Warrington Stone Bridgenear the village of Hainesburg. Originally known as “Sodom”, the town was renamed when the post office was established, in honor of John Haines who made a liberal donation to the school district in which the village is located. John Blair acquired the land now occupied by the village in 1843 and divided it into building lots. Within a few years, there were numerous stores, shops and houses in the town. By 1880, Hainesburg had a Methodist Episcopal Church, a hotel, school, store, two blacksmith shops, three mills, and two wheelwrights. There was also, of course, a railway depot which, by 1918, was serviced by the New York, Susquehanna and Western, and the Erie-Lackawanna railroads.

The hamlet’s most prominent structure is the former Hainesburg Inn. This odd building, a combination of Italianate, Second Empire and Queen Anne styles has been adapted as an animal hospital. Across the street, Winterberrie’s Yarn Shop now occupies a former general store where you can purchase a wide variety of knitting and sewing supplies. Another stop you won’t want to miss is The Rosemary Inn, a beautifully restored farmhouse on a farm set beneath the Kittatinny Ridge just off Hainesburg River Road. And on Frog Pond Road, Jim and Cheryl Mangine will be delighted to show you around a burgeoning crop of Christmas trees at Triple Creek Farm and Nursery.

Advance tickets for the holiday house tour are available for $15 at Eventbrite. Or admission may be purchased on the day of event for $20.

The Ramsaysburg Homestead is a twelve-acre historical park along the Delaware River in Knowlton Township. The property and the structures on it—a tavern, barn, cottage, smokehouse and shed—were built from 1800 to 1870, and represent the activity that occurred at the homestead during its heyday. A natural amphitheater stretches from the historic structure to the bank of the Delaware River, a serene setting for picnics. There is walk-in access for canoes and kayak paddles on the river.

The Ramsaysburg Homestead is located on Route 46 east at the intersection with Ramseyburg Rd. in Delaware, NJ.

The Knowlton Twp. Historic Commission received an operating support grant from the Warren County Division of Cultural and Heritage Affairs with funds from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.

Fall Equinox Drum Circle: September 21

Knowlton Township Historic Commission is pleased to announce that drum group Aduna (The Tree of Life) will hold a drum circle to unite people and listen to the healing rhythms of West African regions of Senegal, Mali, Guinea and the Ivory Coast . 

Hosted by lead drummers Laura Dempsey and Shelley Janes with backup drummer Lori Gold. Some of the instruments Aduna will perform with are the Djembe, Djun Djun and Congas. Aduna meets weekly in Ogdensburg, NJ.

The event, which will be held in the Ramsaysburg barn, is FREE and will take place rain or shine. The event will begin at 6:00 and end at dusk (about 8:30). 

No experience necessary to come and join in this unique experience. Bring your own drum, instrument and/or dancing shoes. OR just come to watch and celebrate the beginning of autumn. The event is open to all from the community and surrounding region. Families welcome! 

The Aduna group is always growing, changing, learning and studying the vast rhythms of Africa. Drum circles are a very unique experience that heal the soul while having lots of fun. It is a great way to unite people! 

Riverside Fall Festival, October 6, 2019

The Knowlton Township Historic Commission will host the annual Riverside Fall Festival at the Ramsaysburg Historic Homestead on Sunday, October 6, from noon to 5pm. There is no admission fee and ample free parking.

Attendees can taste an assortment of locally-grown apples, as well as cider pressed on-site. Children can create corn-husk dolls and participate in a variety of activities. The 15th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry, Company B will demonstrate a period encampment. Winterberries Yarn Shop will provide a spinning demonstration and pop up yarn shop. Quilts, on loan from Sharon Kubich, president of the Evening Star Quilters, will also be on display. Marty Ridder, of Marty’s Clock Clinic will demonstrate antique clocks and explain their place in history. E&R Mathez farm will be on hand to explain the benefits of river-friendly farming as well as offer samplings of their delicious honey. There will also be opportunity to sample a variety of selections from local wineries. 

The Ministers of Apollo will perform Irish/ English/American music of the 1780s to pre-Civil War era. Humpty Junior’s will offer an array of delicious food for purchase.

A special art exhibit, entitled Landscapes in Peril, will include work that depicts precious local landscapes, particularly those threatened by a proposed DOT Rock Fall mitigation project through the scenic Delaware Water Gap.

Mt. Tammany by Rita Baragona

The Ramsaysburg Homestead is a twelve-acre historical park along the Delaware River in Knowlton Township. The property and the structures on it—a tavern, barn, cottage, smokehouse and shed—were built from 1800 to 1870, and represent the activity that occurred at the homestead during its heyday. A natural amphitheater stretches from the historic structure to the bank of the Delaware River, a serene setting for picnics. 

As always, visitors can enjoy the interpretive nature trail through the property, exchange stories around the firepit, a self-guided slide show about the era of timber rafting, and relish magnificent seasonal views along Delaware River. Pets are welcome on a leash.

The Ramsaysburg Homestead is located on Route 46 east at the intersection with Ramseyburg Rd. in Delaware, NJ. For more information please check the website, www.ramsaysburg.org or on Facebook.

The Knowlton Twp. Historic Commission received an operating support grant from the Warren County Division of Cultural and Heritage Affairs with funds from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.

July 27: Nancy and Spencer Reed

The second of this year’s Concerts at the Barn Series at Ramsaysburg features the renown vocalist/bassist Nancy Reed and guitarist Spencer Reed. Artistically consistent and always the consummate professional, Nancy has performed for nearly forty years in a wide variety of settings. Mr. Reed’s resumé is equally impressive. Joined by Ed Ludwig on saxophone and Eliot Sigmund on drums, four decades of jazz collaboration promise an evening full of inventive jazz vocals and instrumentals.

For more about Nancy and Spencer Reed, including complete biographies and music samples, please check their website.

Gates open at 5:00pm and music will start at 6:00. Guests are welcome to arrive early and bring a picnic with beverage of their choice. Please feel free to invite your friends and family! Indoor, outdoor and cabaret seating is available, or bring your own lawn chair or blanket.

There is a suggested donation of $10. Your generosity supports future events. Supported in part by a grant from the Warren County Cultural and Heritage Commission under the direction of the Warren County Department of Land Preservation. Knowlton Township Historic Commission is grateful for the continued support of Warren County over the last five years.

June 29: Two String Bands

Knowlton Township Historic Commission’s 2019 Summer Music at the Barn series kicks-off with two great string bands on Saturday, June 29. Gates open at 5:00 and music will start at 6:00. Guests are welcome to arrive early and bring a picnic with beverage of their choice. Please feel free to invite your friends and family! Indoor, outdoor and cabaret seating is available, or bring your own lawn chair or blanket.

The Sycamore Banjo Band will bring a great selection of tunes from the early twentieth century (1900-1940), including jazz tunes, pop standards, and even some western swing. Check their Facebook page for more information.

Consisting of five musicians who play twenty different instruments between them, The Skylands Dulcimer String Band produces a unique dynamic sound that inspires audiences. An offshoot of the Rockaway Dulcimer Club, the group has added Celtic harp, Irish Bouzouki, bowed psaltery, bodhram, tin whistle, mandolin, banjo, guitar and electric bass to an assortment of banjammers, mountain and hammered dulcimers. With a repertoire that includes an eclectic mix of folk, Celtic, Appalachian, classical and classic rock pieces, the band’s sounds transcend and adapt to a wide range of settings. Check the band’s website for more information.

There is a suggested donation of $10. Your generosity supports future events. Supported in part by a grant from the Warren County Cultural and Heritage Commission under the direction of the Warren County Department of Land Preservation. Knowlton Township Historic Commission is grateful for the continued support of Warren County over the last five years.

Memorial Day Community Picnic – Monday, May 27, 2019

Hosted by Knowlton Township Historic Commission (KTHC), the annual Memorial Day Community Picnic will take place on Monday, May 27th, 2019. All are welcome to attend from the community and surrounding region. The event begins at 12:00 noon, rain or shine. The event is FREE with on-site parking available. Donations are welcome – your generosity will help to support future events and endeavors. The event will be held rain or shine. Pets are welcome on a leash.

2019 Memorial Day activities will include: a flag raising ceremony, open table pot-luck picnic, self-guided scenic walks along the interpretive trail and Delaware River; and a two o’clock presentation regarding “The Timber Rafting Era on the Delaware River”.  

Ken Metcalf, member of the Knowlton Township Historic Commission, will give a slide presentation on The Timber Rafting Era on the Delaware River”.  Mr. Metcalf is a Knowlton Township resident and has been researching the Timber Rafting era for the past five years and has previously given this presentation to The Delaware River Sojourn group during their annual paddle down the Delaware River. Mr. Metcalf will cover the history of the Timber Rafting period on the Upper and Lower Delaware River as well as point out other adjacent rivers involvement in this period. The presentation will take place in the barn.  

The community is welcome to enjoy a self-guided hike through Ramsaysburg Homestead’s newly established interpretive trail through a mature forest adjacent to the Homestead. Interpretive signaae highlights the geology and hydrology indigenous to the Delaware River Valley. This trail was dedicated in October 2017 through the accomplishment of Boy Scout Alex Hicks of Belvidere Troop #141 in achieving his Eagle Scout merit.

All are invited to arrive by canoe or kayak. Take a self-guided kayak and canoe journey by floating down the Delaware River from the Columbia, NJ boat launch to the landing at the Ramsaysburg site. The distance between the two points is approximately three miles down-river. River travelers should look for the large brown sign stating “Ramsaysburg – Landing” at marker 204.0 along the left bank (NJ side).

Riverside Fall Festival, October 7, 2018

The Knowlton Township Historic Commission will host the annual “Riverside Fall Festival” at the Ramsaysburg Historic Homestead on SUNDAY OCTOBER 7, 2017 from 10am to 4pm.

Named for Irish immigrants, James and Adam Ramsay, the 1795 settlement was a key location for trade along the Delaware River. Among the Ramsay brothers’ many ventures was a thriving lumber business. The river launching point where the homestead property now stands served as both a terminus for lumber rafts coming from upriver and for shipping downriver to the ports of Easton and Philadelphia. Prosperous trade continued throughout the early and mid-1800s until the development of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad in the early 1850s by Warren County native John I. Blair. With the advent of the more economical train transportation, river commerce faded.

The Commission hosts a series of annual events at the Ramsaysburg Historic Homestead, a twelve-acre riverfront property located on Route 46 at Ramseyburg Road. These include the Memorial Day picnic, the Riverside Fall Festival and Christmas in the Country, Plein Air Painting, as well as a series of summer Barn Concerts. An interpretive nature trail is near completion at the site, which also offers car-top launch access to the Delaware River for kayaks and canoes.

2018 Fall Festival activities will include: quilting exhibits, 15th Regiment NJ Volunteers – Company B – Reenactors, lace making, apple tasting, cider making, smokehouse demonstration with Myron Baley’s famous bacon, woodworking exhibitions, and more. Humpty Juniors will be offering tasty, seasonal refreshments. At two o’clock, Chuck Walsh, President of the North Jersey Rail Commuter Association will present a talk and slide presentation, “The Lackawanna Cut-Off and Railroads of Knowlton”. Chuck is a Knowlton Township resident and has been involved in the effort to preserve and reactivate the Cut-Off for over 30 years. He will cover the history of the Cut-Off—which is a rail line that runs from Lake Hopatcong, through Knowlton, to the Delaware Water Gap—and will also bring us up to date on the latest details on NJ Transit’s project to reactivate the line to Andover, NJ, and beyond. In addition, Chuck will touch upon the Cut-Off’s relationship to other rail lines in Knowlton, including a rail line and tunnel that was to have begun at Ramsaysburg that was never built.

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