Christmas In The Country House Tour: December 8, 2019

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.