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Annual Historic House Tour – December 10, 2016

By popular demand, the Washington Township Historical Society will once again be hosting its Annual Historic House Tour in December. Join us on Saturday, December 10, from 11AM- 4PM for the 33rd annual tour. The tour will include six homes, the Pleasant Grove Cemetery and the Highlands Presbyterian Church which will also be hosting the luncheon for the tour this year.

Two homes are located in the downtown area of Long Valley. The E.J. Neighbour house is an American Foursquare which was a popular design from the late nineteenth century until about 1930. The home’s boxy, uncomplicated style developed as a reaction to the stylistic excesses of the Victorian Era.

The second home in the valley was built by master carpenter Charles Hall in 1910. Beautiful chestnut woodwork and a graceful front porch were both specialties of Mr. Hall’s craftsmanship.

Schooley’s Mountain boasts two more of the homes on the tour. The three bay Jesse Hoffman House was built before 1799 and is a two-story vernacular stone home with a center entry. It is located on what was a five hundred acre Elijah Bond tract in the hamlet of Springtown along what was once called the Washington Pike.

Built on the grounds of the former Heath House, the other home in the Schooley’s Mountain area combines the former stable and carriage house into a modern home. The elegant front door with fan and side lights was repurposed from Belmont Hall, another of the grand and historic hotels located on Schooley’s Mountain during the late 1800s.

The Old Parsonage for the Pleasant Grove Church is a new addition to the tour as is the Pleasant Grove Cemetery. The parsonage was built on land donated by the Hann family, the original settlers of Pleasant Grove. The home was used as the manse until 1963 and has been lovingly renovated since the 1980s.

Pleasant Grove Cemetery dates to the founding of the first Pleasant Grove Church in 1806. There is a marker in the cemetery which reads, “To the memory of William and Elsie Hann, emigrants from Germany, and early settlers of this township, who died in 1794, aged 90 years each.” Many prominent families of Washington Township have family members buried in the cemetery including the Orts, Neighbors, Lindaberrys, Slikers, Zellers and Hunts.

The home of one of the Society’s members is also on the tour. The last stop, not to be missed, is not a historic home but boasts an extensive Dickensian Village waiting to transport you back to Merry Ol’ England and the beauty of Victorian Christmases.

Highlands Presbyterian Church will be open for tours as well. Parking at the church will be for the tour of the church as well as the house on Heath Lane.

Visitors are invited to the museum during tour hours to enjoy refreshments, new displays and to shop. The Society’s Craft Group will have some of their unique items for sale.

In respect of the homeowners’ privacy, NO photography will be allowed inside the homes. The homes are not handicapped accessible and comfortable walking shoes are a must. The tour is not appropriate for children under the age of 12. Carpooling is recommended as parking at some of the sites is limited.

Tickets for the tour are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the tour. Advance tickets may be purchased by mailing a check and a self-addressed stamped envelope to: WTHS, PO Box 189, Long Valley, NJ 07853 or by contacting the museum directly at info@wthsnj.org or 908-876-9696. Tickets will also be for sale at the museum all Sundays in November from 2PM to 4PM, Sunday, December 4th during Long Valley Holiday Happenings from 2-5, as well as Friday December 9th , 10 AM to 5PM, and December 10th, the day of the tour, starting at 10AM.

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