The Knowlton Township Historic Commission will host the annual “Riverside Fall Festival” at the Ramsaysburg Historic Homestead on SUNDAY 15 OCTOBER 2017 from 10am to 4pm.
A special ceremony at 12 noon will celebrate the Commission’s 20th anniversary with esteemed dignitaries and members of the community, honoring former Mayor Frank Van Horn and former Committeeman Rene Mathez . Van Horn endorsed the 1997 creation of the Knowlton Historic Commission at the urging of local residents, and Mathez was instrumental in arranging the lease of the Ramsaysburg site to the commission.
Over twenty years the Knowlton Township Historic Commission, a volunteer organization that functions as part of the township’s government, has worked to raise awareness of Knowlton’s historic resources and to educate the community on the importance of preserving the township’s unique agricultural heritage: the historic farms, barns, wagon sheds and outbuildings that reflect the legacy of farming and river trade that established the area. Under the leadership of Chairperson Hal Bromm, the Commission has organized historic barn tours, walking tours of potential historic districts, ice cream socials, and other community-based activities. The commission has also nominated several of Knowlton’s hamlets and villages for inclusion on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, including Delaware Village, Hainesburg, Columbia and Ramsaysburg. Delaware Village was awarded a position on the registry in 2003.
The commission’s most important achievement is the fifteen-year endeavor for the restoration of the Ramsaysburg Historic Homestead. To save the Ramsaysburg site, the Commission worked with elected officials, led by Mr. Mathez, to lease the property from the State of NJ following acquisition of the site by the NJ Green Acres program. Mathez was instrumental in bringing the recreational attributes of the site to the attention of the Department of Environmental Protection, focusing on its riverfront location comprising nearly twelve acres. Facing imminent demise, the severely deteriorated structures on the property were stabilized thanks to a 2003 emergency grant from the Delaware River Greenway, and have since been restored through grant funding generously awarded by the NJ Historic Trust, Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund, Warren County Municipal and Charitable Conservancy Trust Fund, and other generous donors. Restoration work will continue with a newly awarded Transportation Alternatives Program grant to fully restore the structures at the Ramsaysburg Historic Homestead.
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.
2017 Fall Festival activities will include: quilting exhibits, a ribbon-cutting of our newly established interpretive trail, Boy Scout demonstrations of pioneer skills, 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 East Stroudsburg University Associate Professor of History Martin Wilson will present “Resorts Along the Delaware.”