House Tour of the Week- The Benjamin Temple House

Visit the historic Benjamin Temple House, home to the brother-in-law of John Hart, one of New Jersey’s signers of the Declaration of Independence. This colonial home will also be the site of the Ewing Township Historic Preservation Society’s First Annual Country Auction on Saturday, August 22!

The Temple House was built circa 1750 by Benjamin Temple, a prosperous farmer and one of the settlers of the Ewing-Hopewell area. He was a friend and brother-in-law of John Hart, signer of the Declaration of Independence. The house stayed in the Temple family for 150 years. Very few frame houses of this type and age exist today.

This Georgian style house has evolved over the years with additions and modifications made by each generation who has 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 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.

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.

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 Ewing Township Historic Preservation Society, 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.

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. http://www.ethps.org/index.html

Open for tours on Wednesdays from 10:00am-2:00pm
Also, available for tours by appointment

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