King Victorian Home & King Canal Store/Roxbury Historic Trust
209 & 211 Main Street
Ledgewood, NJ 07852
(973) 927-7603/(973) 584-7903
Open: Check their website/Seasonal
My review on TripAdvisor:
The King Canal Store Museum at 209 Main Street
I visited the King Canal Store Museum and the King Homestead during the Morris County “Pathways to History” tour in May of 2022. This interesting store was still intact with its merchandise lining the shelves with a pot belly stove in the center of the store which was the center of action when the store was open to the community. All sorts of grocery items and notion items still line the walls.
The guide explained that upon the death of the owner wanted to store closed and sealed. His daughter only opened it in the 1930’s in the depth of the Depression so that residents could buy items at a reasonable price.
The King Store and the King Homestead are historic buildings located in the Ledgewood section of Roxbury Township. The Roxbury Historic Trust acts as curator for these county owned buildings. These buildings represent significance in New Jersey commerce from 1815-1928 and were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 (Wiki).
The homestead was closed that afternoon that I went but I was able to walk on the porch and around the grounds. It was a beautiful property, and it was well maintained. The family lived in the house until 1975.
History of the King Canal Store:
(From the Museum website)
The King Canal Store is a unique, 2 1/2 story building constructed of stone in 1815 by Woodruff and Hopkins. At the ground floor its walls are three feet thick. The Woodruff family operated the store until 1835. It was abandoned for two years and in 1837 Albert Riggs (Son of Silas Riggs, a tanner by trade and owner of several canal boats) acquired the building and reopened it as a general store serving the community and the Morris Canal trade as it was located 150 feet from the Morris Canal basin (Wiki/Museum website).
Theodore King was the son in law of Albert Riggs, took over the store in 1873. He lived on the second floor of the building with his wife, Emma Louise and daughter also named Emma Louise. In 1881, Mr. King built a new residence on adjacent property and then began a renovation of the store, changing the decor to Greek Revival and the color scheme to cream with brown trim. In the process, the exterior was given a smooth coat of stucco which was scored to resemble large blocks. The interior of the store was given an Italianate design with a cream and maroon color scheme (Wiki).
Mr. King died in 1928 and his daughter closed the building, its contents remaining just as they were with a few occasional openings in the 1930’s to help the locals in the depths of the Depression. Emma Louise King maintained the closed-up store and lived in the well cared for home until her death at 92 in 1975. From 1989, the Roxbury Rotary Club has worked with the Roxbury Historic Trust to restore the exterior and the first-floor shop and create the King Store Museum (Museum website/Historic Ledgewood Guide).
The King Canal Store Museum has grocery items lining the walls
The Theodore F. King Homestead:
The King Family Homestead at 211 Main Street was in the family until 1975
The King Homestead, a vernacular frame house to start had several additions with Italianate and Queen Anne influenced detailing. It is possible that the original house may just have consisted of the current parlor, the two exhibition rooms and one or both of the staircases to the second floor. There were two front bedrooms and a smaller bedroom in the rear of the home.
The stairs to the basement contained the kitchen (which was a common practice during Victorian times) with a dumbwaiter added to the dining room so that the food could be brought up from the kitchen. Another addition to the home was the first-floor front office used by both Mr. King and his daughter. The mural in the first-floor dining room was by artist James William Marland in 1936 (Wiki).