Ewing Township Houses on the Local Historic Registry
St. Michael’s Cemetery is all that remains of Mercer County’s first church, built by local Anglicans circa 1704, and called Hopewell Church or Christ Church. The building and congregation were gone by the 1740’s. Only two headstones in the 2-acre cemetery are still legible: Samuel Tucker, who held many important positions in New Jersey government (he publicly read the Declaration of Independence from the New Jersey Statehouse steps), and his wife Elizabeth Gould Tucker. Both died in the late 1780’s. The current 1934 brick wall around a portion of the cemetery replaced an 18th century stone wall. (Sullivan Way, on the grounds of the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital)
The original part of the David Howell House (a brick farmhouse circa 1730) was one room down, one room up, and a cellar. The brick in the house was from England and was used as ballast in the ships that came across the Atlantic to take tobacco back to England. In 1790 an addition was added which is now the center hall with living room, dining room, and two large and one small bedroom upstairs. The house as it stands today is ninety percent original with all shutters, doors, and window frames still pegged.
The Benjamin Temple House (a.k.a., Temple-Ryan Farmhouse), built circa 1750, is a well-preserved example of a rural Georgian colonial wood-frame farmhouse. The oldest portion of the house, a side-hall plan with two rooms on the first floor and two on the second, is distinguished by its original paneled fireplace surrounds, dentil crown molding, and corner cupboard. The right side of the house, circa 1840, was added to accommodate the growing Temple family, and includes a lean-to kitchen. The entire house was moved to its current location in 1973, to avoid demolition when I-95 was constructed on the original Temple property.
The Scudder-Reeder House is a large stuccoed stone house adjacent to the Delaware and Raritan Feeder Canal, an area of much commercial activity during the mid-nineteenth century. It was built by Daniel Scudder around 1780, enlarged by Amos Reeder in the mid-nineteenth century, and later sold to Alexander B. Green, a lumber and coal merchant, at the end of the century. The original house, a modest side hall plan built of rough cut rubble stone, still remains, integrated within several significant renovations.
The Green-Reading Knight Farmhouse was built by William E. Green circa 1800 and was originally called Cherry Grove. Upon his death his wife married a man named Pierson Reading, and the house was resold to the Knight family who farmed it until 1911. In its final transformation, it became the State of New Jersey Hog Farm. Although no longer managed by the state, it is significant as a surviving farm in a mostly suburban development. The two-story home is the most high style Federal style architecture surviving in Ewing Township, with its simple brick façade and a semi-circular fanlight over the elegant door. Inside the house are several carved fireplace surrounds, original stair rails, moldings, doors and hardware, and an old iron sink.
The William Green Farmhouse is a significant example of Georgian vernacular colonial farmhouse architecture. The earliest section of the house, circa 1717 to 1730, is a 2 1/2 story brick house distinguished by its fine Flemish bond brickwork, making the house an example of early 18th century patterned brick English Quaker architecture in southern New Jersey. Built by members of the prominent Green family, residents included William Green, an early Hunterdon County judge; Enoch Green, Princeton University valedictorian, class of 1760 and a Revolutionary Army chaplain; and William Green III, who served in the Hunterdon militia during the Revolution.
The Anthony Cook Farmhouse was built circa 1750. It is believed that Anthony Cook, its original builder and owner, built the house as a belated wedding present for his wife. The home has a very simple floor plan with four rooms on the first floor and four on the second floor. Interesting features include four original brick fireplaces, wide pine floorboards, and to the rear of the property an authentic eighteenth-century brick spring house. One of the earliest homes in the area, it is now surrounded by the Glendale development built in the early 20th century.
Hill’s Hollow (a.k.a., Moore-Hill Farmhouse and Stone Barn) was built in one of the earliest settled areas of Ewing. In the late 1600’s this region was sold by Native Americans to Adlorde Bowde, who in turn sold large tracts of land to settlers. This house was built around 1765, and at that time consisted of two rooms: a downstairs for daily living, and a second floor for sleeping. In the 18th century the farm was passed down through the Scudder family, and Amos Scudder, a scout for Washington’s army, is believed to have lived in the house. Aaron Moore, one of the first five Ewing Township Committeemen (1834-38), also resided here.
The Tindall-Lanning House is probably the earliest surviving home constructed at Cross Keys on the Trenton-Hopewell Turnpike (Route 31). The oldest section of the home, circa 1790, features two bays, and the newer section, circa 1830, consists of a two-story, three-bay side hall style. It was probably constructed by Joseph Tindall after the subdivision of Stephen Lanning’s property following his death in 1781.
Grandson of Stephen Lanning, one of Ewing’s earliest settlers, Nathaniel Lanning built this house circa 1812 on the original Rogers Park Road leading from Trenton to Pennington (now Route 31). The original structure was expanded in the mid 1800s, and the farm was also occupied by the Lanning family through the end of the century. It appears it was occupied by tenant farmers until it was sold in 1940.
The Wilmot House is a charming example of 19th century vernacular architecture. The house is located on the original Birmingham Road, today know as Wilburtha Road, leading from Green's Ferry to the hamlet of Birmingham. The house is a two story, two bay, squarish clapboard house. The western section of the house, delineated by the gable roof, dates to the early 1800s.
The Spafford Bergen House was built by Spafford Bergen circa 1890 during the time that Ewingville was changing from a farming community to a crossroads village. The house has plaster cast crown moldings, ornamental slate fireplace mantles and an acid-etched entry door illustrating Bergen’s transition from farmer to businessman. In 1889, he and some other businessmen founded the Trenton Bone Fertilizer Company.
Considered in the style of a Queen Anne cottage, the design probably came from an architectural pattern book of the time. The original porch that wraps around on three sides was recently restored by the present owner. All but one of the seven fireplaces are original.
The Paxson House was built in 1892 on farmland originally owned by the Fish family, one of the early families to settle in the Ewing area. This 2-1/2 story house has a side-gabled roof and an asymmetrical cross gable. Its two-story bay window and front porch (one of three porches) exhibit the exterior characteristics of the late Queen Anne style of architecture. The home was constructed next to Ewing's Altura subdivision, a turn-of-the-20th-century residential district and the first of its kind in the township.
The West Trenton Train Station is a good example of the Georgian Revival Style and consists of a central two-story brick center section with a hipped slate roof and symmetrical one-story wings at both ends. Its main ridge parallels the railroad track. The station has served as a terminus for one of the commuter branches of the Reading system. Currently, SEPTA trains connect the Ewing station to Philadelphia.
The Fish-Howell House is located on what used to be called Old River Road and part of the Altura development in West Trenton. Home ownership has been traced back to circa 1831 when the original owners of the house were Israel Fish and William Howell. Other prominent local families who owned the house in later years were the Chambers, Moore, and Thackeray (Thackray) families.
The Ottobre House (a.k.a., Bainbridge/Pearson House) is a gabled, Victorian-style house with a porch that wraps around approximately half the building. It is believed that the first owner – Willis P. Bainbridge, a prominent Trenton attorney – built it as a summer home in 1891. Isaia Birks, a developer and realtor, bought the home in 1917, and ten years later became the first Trentonian to make a radio telephone call across the Atlantic Ocean (to his brother, Harry Birks, in England).
The Ewingville Schoolhouse was built in 1896 to replace an earlier one-room frame schoolhouse. The school served Ewing children grades 1-7 from the areas around Bull Run Road, Pennington Road, Eggerts Crossing Road, Carlton Road, and the present day Lanning School district. The school was closed in 1914 when the larger Lanning School on Pennington Road was built. At that time it was converted to a private residence and sold. As a private residence there have been modifications to the original design. The Ewingville School is the last remaining one room schoolhouse in Ewing Township.
This structure (New Jersey State Police Log Cabin) was built in 1934 by the Civilian Works Administration during Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency. The edifice is done in the typical American Midland folk building style (a log cabin) and shows a strong similarity to western military outposts constructed during the Indian Wars of the 1870s and 1880s. The single story cabin measures 44 by 88 feet and has a gable roof which extends to form porches on both gable side walls. The original use for this structure was dormitory space and as an exhibit area for demonstrations such as pistol shooting and close drills. Today the log cabin serves as an annex of the New Jersey State Police Museum Complex.
The Trenton Bath House (a.k.a., Kahn Bath House) was a pivotal work of Louis I. Kahn, its famous designer and architect. His inspiration came from his visit to ancient Roman and Greek ruins. The 1955 Bath House is arranged in the form of a Byzantine cross plan with pyramid-shaped roofs over four pavilion-like square bathhouses around a center atrium. Kahn's plan was to harness natural light as well as the natural flow of air to create a building that did not require electric lights or fans to circulate the air. It is one of only about a dozen of his major buildings that still exist today.
Built by the Jewish Community Center, the complex was used for more than fifty years, then purchased by Mercer County and Ewing Township. After restoration in 2010, this special architectural building now functions as the bathhouse for the Ewing Community Center.