Tag: Historic Homes of New Jersey

The Ayres/Knuth Farm Foundation                       25 Cooper Street                                           Denville, NJ 07834

The Ayres/Knuth Farm Foundation 25 Cooper Street Denville, NJ 07834

The Ayres/Knuth Farm Foundation Inc.

25 Cooper Street

Denville, NJ 07834

(973) 625-9345

https://www.ayresknuth.org/

https://www.facebook.com/AyresKnuthFarm/

Open: See website on hours/Seasonal

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46392-d24065367-r838840100-Ayres_knuth_Farm-Denville_Morris_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Video on the Ayres/Knuth Farm

On the second day of the Morris County, NJ “Pathways to History’ tour, I was on my way back to Morris County for a second day of adventure. My first stop on the tour was the Ayres/Knuth Farm (The Ayres/Knuth Farm Foundation Inc.), a former working farm just off Route 10.

The main farmhouse on the Ayres/Knuth Farm

Not only was the site open for touring but they also had a mini car show with antique cars and fire trucks owned by some of the members. Seeing some of these Model T Ford’s and Steam Engine Fire Trucks in perfect condition shows American quality motorship at its finest.

What I liked about the farm is that it had been a working farm up until the last fifty years and showed the progression that the farm took in its almost 100 years in the county. The farm itself dates back to pre-Revolutionary War days with the farm being purchase in either 1735 or maybe 1759 by Obadiah Lum. The property itself was settled and developed by Daniel Ayres, who was born in New Jersey in 1778 (The Ayres/Knuth Farm Foundation).

The Ayres-Knuth Farm and the outer buildings

105 acres of land was given to him by his father-in-law, David Garrigus upon the marriage of his daughter, Hanna in 1803. His son, William took over the farm in 1856 upon the death of his father in 1856, changing the farm to add husbandry and fruit cultivation. When William retired in 1896, none of his children wanted the farm and it was sold. Changing hands many times, it was bought by Martin and Anna Knuth in 1906. The farm was taken over by two of their children and it remained in the family until the 1990’s upon both of their passings. In 1996, the Township of Denville purchased 52 acres of the original farm and it is now managed by the Ayres/Knuth Foundation Inc. (The Ayres/Knuth Farm Foundation).

On this clear and sunny Sunday morning, it was fun to walk around the former working farm to see how it developed. Both families learned to modernize and add to the operation. I was able to tour the smaller tenet farmhouse (built in 1895), the barn (built in 1895 (and the various outer buildings like the chicken coops (built in 1895), outhouse (built in 1930) and the Smokehouse (built in 1825). The small well was built in 1797 and was the oldest structure left on the property.

What I found interesting is that there still are tenant farmers on another tract on the property still working the land and the property is protected by grants from Morris County. So, it still is technically a working farm. A lot of care was taken to preserve the farm as is and the volunteers told me that there were plans to fix up the other buildings. The Tenant House needed a lot of work and was run down but the main Farmhouse had been renovated and was closed that day.

Most of the farm has either been sold off or is being utilized but the core of the farm buildings can be toured, and it is interesting to see a working farm in New Jersey that dates back to the 1700’s and was still active until the mid-1990’s. That is longevity. Still is a step back into the past to see how a working farm once thrived along with the changes that came with the development of Morris County in the late 20th century. The area still has the rural feel, and the well-maintained property is a glimpse into our rural past.

The History of the Ayres/Knuth Farm:

(From the Ayres/Knuth Farm Foundation Inc. site):

The Ayres/Knuth Farm has a long history not just in the County or State level but in the country. It is believed that the farm was formed around 1759 but could be as early as 1735. It was located in the Franklin section of Denville. Obadiah Lum purchased 180 acres and built the first forge and sawmill on the Den Brook. Lum purchased the property from Thomas and Richard Penn, the sons of proprietor, William Penn with financing from Colonel Jacob Ford, who owned extensive land including mines in Morris County. Franklin developed into one of the primary agricultural hubs of Denville due to the high quality of soil of the area and proximity to numerous towns with markets where the crops could be sold.

The historic marker on the farm

The Ayres Farm was first settled by Daniel Ayres who was born in Middlesex County in 1778. His mother was Anna Jackson, who was the daughter of General Joseph Jackson, who was known as the founder of Rockaway. Daniel married Hanna Garrigus, the daughter of David Garrigus, who was a prominent landowner in Franklin and owner of the Franklin iron forge. In 1803, David Garrigus conveyed 105 acres to his son in law.

Daniel died in 1856 and his son, William Ayres took over the farm. In 1860, he expanded the farm to 300 acres and practiced a mixture of husbandry and a cultivation of different grains. They also raised sheep for wool and cows for butter. He built the existing farmhouse in 1855 and in the 1860’s built the Tenant House for hired hands in the expanding farm. Over time the farm grew to 500 acres.

During the economic depression between 1873-1879, William Ayres adopted to the changes in the market and shifted the focus of the farm to dairying, poultry and vegetable farming. He also sold lumber to the railroads and expanded into fruit cultivation particularly apples, peaches and pears.

The Ayres/Knuth Farm today

William Ayres retired from the farm in 1896 and since none of his children wanted to take over the operation, the property changed hands several times until 1906, when Martin and Anna Knuth purchased the farm and moved in with their five children. They kept the tradition of husbandry and fruit cultivation and a mix of vegetables as a truck farming operation.

The farm faced a lot of tragedies in the 20th Century with the death of Martin Knuth in 1935. Between a destructive fire in 1936 and a lapse of insurance, the barn was not rebuilt. With an economic Depression going on in the 1930’s, the farm was largely reduced to a subsistence-level truck farm operation. Anna Knuth died in 1950 and her two children, Frank and Sue took over the operation. Both remained on the farm until their deaths in the 1990’s. They grew a variety of crops and produced eggs that were sold locally.

The farmhouse was not electrified until the 1960’s and indoor plumbing was never installed. In 1996, a few years after the deaths of Frank and Sue Knuth, the Township of Denville purchased the nearly 52 acres of the original Ayres/Knuth Farm and the property is now managed by the non-profit Ayres/Knuth Farm Foundation Inc. The site now houses a series of historical buildings that is maintained by the foundation that are part of the original farm.

Silas Riggs Saltbox House/Roxbury Township Historical Society                                                  213 Main Street                                      Ledgewood, NJ 07852

Silas Riggs Saltbox House/Roxbury Township Historical Society 213 Main Street Ledgewood, NJ 07852

Silas Riggs Saltbox House/Roxbury Township Historical Society

213 Main Street

Ledgewood, NJ 07852

(973) 927-7603

http://www.roxburynewjersey.com/society.htm

Open: Check their Website/Seasonal

My review on TripAdvisor:

I visited the Silas Riggs Saltbox House on a visit to the Roxbury Township Historical Society during the Morris County’s “Pathways to History” event. The event gave us a chance to visit many different sites in one day.

The Historical marker in front of the house

The Silas Riggs Saltbox House is part of the King Victorian Home & King Canal Store complex it shares with the Roxbury Historic Trust. The Silas Riggs home is a preserved colonial era, Revolutionary War period residence. It is managed by the Roxbury Township Historical Society as a “Living History Museum”, hosting events that bring a sense of the past to those who step inside (Roxbury Historical Society).

The Silas Riggs Saltbox House during the tour

The last historical site on my tour that day, it was also one of the most interesting not just because of the history of the home itself but the care and TLC the site is given by its volunteers and docents. The Riggs home is a place that you feel you have stepped into someone’s home who just left for the afternoon. Many historical societies that I have been to in the past are usually dusty and musty with artifacts thrown here and there. The Riggs home was decorated by lifestyle of the periods that it was lived in.

The volunteers were nice enough to stay open for me and we ended up talking for over 45 minutes on the house and how it was decorated. There was a care in this home as the walls and ceilings were in perfect shape and the home was so welcoming that it did not feel like a museum but more like a tour through someone’s grandmother’s home.

You are welcomed in the front room by an office set up with a large knit quilt and period furniture in a sun filled room that is such an engaging place to be greeted and just talk. The period furniture is in perfect shape and fits the mood of the room.

The front parlor room

To the side of the room is the old office area space where work would have been done and the family would have gathered. The sun-drenched room would have been a bit homier in its day but reflected how homes back then were used for both business and pleasure.

The living room/office of the Silas Riggs house

The kitchen was a reflection of kitchen’s today as the center of the home for not just cooking but socializing. The kitchen was not just a source of cooking but heat for the house. There must have been a lot of family gatherings in this room. The Historical Society during the holidays uses the kitchen for a special “Soup Dinner”, where freshly made soup is made in the hearth along with homemade corn bread. This fundraiser is considered very popular, and you have to sign up early to experience being part of the home’s family. On a cold winter night, this must have been the perfect room to be in. Even today, the kitchen is the gathering spot for all families.

The kitchen hearth of the Silas Riggs house

The bedroom that connected the back kitchen to the front parlor was decorated with period furnishings, clothing from the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. The furniture had a heavy look with dark colors and sturdiness to the items in the room as made by hand and meant to last for a long time.

The volunteers were telling me that many people came to the home and said that they could move in right now. This was the care and detail that has been put into this site. It is not just that the home is a reflection of the period, but it is set up in a way that makes you feel that the family is still greeting you when you walk in the door. The museum is a cheery atmosphere that invites its visitors in for the day.

It is such an interesting home to visit.

The History of the Silas Riggs Saltbox Home:

(From the History Girl website)

https://www.thehistorygirl.com/2012/09/three-centuries-of-history-in-roxbury.html

Architectural historians have said that the Saltbox house was one of the earliest homes built in Ledgewood, NJ in the circa 1740. Saltbox houses are a flat in the front with a central chimney set square in the middle of the roofline. The roofline of a saltbox house is asymmetrical with a short, steep roof in the front and a much longer, sloping roof in the back which accommodates the one-story extension of the home.

While the original owners of the Silas Riggs Saltbox House are unknown, but records indicate that by the early 1800’s, the house was owned by Silas Riggs and his wife, Harriet. Silas was a tanner by trade and supplied the local mines with leather pouches used to transport ore. He was also a contractor for a section of the Morris Canal in 1830. He oversaw the operation of three barges in the area. His son, Albert, ran the nearby Canal Store during the canal’s early years.

The design of the house is of post and beam construction, held together with wooden pegs visible in the second story eaves, the Saltbox house, is so called because of its extended, rear sloping roofline, recalling the design of salt containers of colonial times (Roxbury Historical Society).

King Victorian Home & King Canal Store/Roxbury Historic Trust                               209 & 211 Main Street                           Ledgewood, NJ 07852

King Victorian Home & King Canal Store/Roxbury Historic Trust 209 & 211 Main Street Ledgewood, NJ 07852

King Victorian Home & King Canal Store/Roxbury Historic Trust

209 & 211 Main Street

Ledgewood, NJ 07852

(973) 927-7603/(973) 584-7903

http://www.roxburynewjersey.com/trust-home.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Store_and_Homestead

Open: Check their website/Seasonal

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46563-d15096918-Reviews-King_House_And_Stores_Museum-Ledgewood_Morris_County_New_Jersey.html

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 inside of the King Canal Store Museum shows the center of the community

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 Canal Store Museum still has items still lining the walls

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 King Family Homestead at 211 Main Street

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).

Day One Hundred and Sixty-Five: Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. presents “From Revolution to Renewal-Exploring Historic Bergen County, NJ”          Essentials of Marketing Class Project-Bergen Community College                                           April 27th, 2020

Day One Hundred and Sixty-Five: Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. presents “From Revolution to Renewal-Exploring Historic Bergen County, NJ” Essentials of Marketing Class Project-Bergen Community College April 27th, 2020

To all your history buffs, please visit Bergen County, NJ for interesting experience of visiting our historical sites and restaurants. Check out our Team Project from Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. “From Revolution to Renewal-A Historical Tour of Bergen County”.

Professor Justin Watrel, CEO & Co-Founder Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc.

mywalkinmanhattan

I had the most interesting semester for Spring Term at the college where I work. Everything started off fine. We had classes in the the afternoon, good discussions on Marketing and had a very successful Team Project marketing the Lyndhurst Snack Shop, the new Bulldog Cafe, for business (See Day One Hundred and Fifty-Nine in MywalkinManhattan.com):

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/12969

BCC Bulldogs

The Bulldog Cafe on the Third Floor of the Bergen Community College Campus

https://www.facebook.com/gdsbulldogcafe/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46586-d20210133-Reviews-Bulldog_Cafe-Lyndhurst_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Project I gave the students:

BCC-Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. Snack Shop Project 2020

I had just handed out the next Team Project, “From Revolution to Renewal: Exploring the  Historic Bergen County”, a major tourism project I wanted to the students to work on for the remainder of the semester the week before the break. I had the students to break up into groups and get to know one another and get their game plans…

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