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calendar   Thursday - July 23, 2015

One of our local hidden gems

Our little piece of Hunterdon County NJ feels like a step back in time to many of our weekend visitors. Because it is. You go 2 blocks off the highway and it’s like going back 170 years. I love it.

This was a highly rural area until the 1840s, but farms and businesses began to blossom here in the 1850s, around the time the railroad came through. The great growth period was over by the 1920s, and the area went back to sleep for the next 50 years. But that growth left us with lots of mid 19th Century to early 20th Century homes, and plenty of locally constructed mail-order iron bridges, and we’ve been very fortunate that so many of them have survived. We have streets full of them, entire neighborhoods, all restored. Victorians, Colonials, Italianates, Greek Revivals, Gothics, Craftsmen, Dorics, you name it. Plus plenty of the truly American style “I built it” houses just too tough and ornery to fall down. Ever. Makes for great walking tours for the tourists, who then need to go shopping and get a meal or two, and perhaps visit one of our several museums. We do quaint here, but the real deal not the pretend kind, and we do it all the way to the bank.

Anyway, hardly a mile off the beaten downtown track is the well hidden McCloughan Mansion. Now owned by a restoration consortium, this 1850-1860 Italianate brick villa is slowly being brought back to its formerly grand condition. Not that it was ever really all that bad; it was just empty and lonely for a few decades. Nobody lives there now, but the place isn’t spooky at all.

But I mean it about the well hidden part. The road it fronts is heavily wooded and bushy, and you can only catch the smallest glimpse of this place as you drive the up hill curve past its frontage. From the back it can’t be seen, not even in winter, even though the property is hardly 100 yards from the busiest local highway in the county. So all the in-town houses get the adoration and awards, and this place ... I wonder if many of the residents even know it’s there? I only just discovered it myself a couple weeks ago, when I went looking for the ancient barn next door, with its distinctive copulas.



image

more info:
http://docs.rwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=hp_capstone_project
http://www.oldhousedreams.com/2013/08/02/c-1860-italianate-annandale-nj/
http://www.annandalevillage.com/gallery/McCloughan_Prospectus_130629.pdf
http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat/index.ssf/2012/05/clinton_townships_preservation.html
http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat/index.ssf/2013/06/from_stately_mansion_to_one_of.html


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/23/2015 at 12:27 PM   
Filed Under: • Architecture •  
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