Benjamin Temple House (Temple-Ryan Farmhouse)
~On the National, State and Local Historic Registries~
Check out more pictures of the Benjamin Temple House.
This Georgian-style house has evolved over the years with additions and modifications made by each generation who lived here. The front entrance opens into the oldest portion of the house, with four rooms (two rooms on the first floor and two rooms on the second floor) leading off the side hall and the staircase. This oldest section of the house is distinguished by the original paneled fireplace surrounds, dentil crown molding and corner cupboard.
Around 1840 an addition to the home included two more rooms downstairs and three more rooms upstairs. The house’s original stand-alone, one-story kitchen was dismantled, and it is thought the lean-to kitchen attached to the northern-most end of the house was constructed. As was the common practice in early America, more space was added to accommodate subsequent generations of the family.
Very few frame houses of this type and age exist today, and there are several notable features of the hallway, including a five-light transom above the door and a closet under the stairs. At one time, the closet area may have contained a wash basin and linens. The doors in the hallway are original and several still have hardware from the 18th century. The half-turn stairway leads up to the second floor of the original section of the house.
Although the house is owned by Ewing Township, the Ewing Township Historic Preservation Society protects and preserves the house and the many historic documents, photographs and artifacts from Ewing Township’s history in this beautiful setting. The building also serves as a great location for the Society’s historic lectures, events, and other programs. The Benjamin Temple House is open to the public and researchers Wednesdays 10-2, first Sundays of the month from 2-4, and by appointment. Call ahead to confirm open hours.
In 1903 the farm was sold to Patrick Ryan, whose family ran a successful dairy for the next 50 years. The house was originally built on the old Hopewell-Trenton Road (Route 31), but by the early 1970s it was threatened with demolition during the construction of I-95. Through the efforts of the Friends of the Benjamin Temple House, the house was moved in May 1973 from its original location on the Ewing-Hopewell border to its present location on Federal City Road in Ewing Township.
The Temple House was built circa 1750 by Benjamin Temple, a prosperous farmer and son of one of the early settlers of the Ewing area. He was a friend and brother-in-law of John Hart, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Temple was an ardent supporter of the Revolutionary cause. Two of his nephews, John and Nathaniel, fought in the War of Independence.