Above: The Salem County Open House Tour includes many colonial patterned-brick houses, such as the John Jarman House, built in 1755.
The Salem County Historical Society is pleased to announce that Open House in Fenwick’s Colony, our popular spring open house tour, will be held on Saturday, May 7th, from 10a.m. to 4p.m. at historic sites around Salem County.
The 2016 Open House Tour will be highlighting historic sites of southern Salem County, as we travel the old colonial roads from Salem through Alloway Township to Upper Pittsgrove Township. Many of the sites on the tour played a key role in the American fight for freedom—whether freedom to worship according to conscience, freedom from the British during the Revolutionary War, or freedom for refugees from persecution.
Visitors will have the chance to tour several 18th Century patterned-brick houses, including this year’s featured house, the David Davis House in Upper Pittsgrove Township. This patterned-brick house was built in 1731 by David Davis, who was a founder of the Pilesgrove Friends Meeting. The diamond diaper pattern on the gable end was revealed when the stucco was removed from the house in 1981. Be sure to visit this historic treasure, now open for the tour for the first time in almost 20 years.
Patterned-brick enthusiasts will also have the opportunity to tour the John Dickinson House, the most ornate patterned-brick house in the United States. Built in 1754, the west gable wall showcases a variety of patterns created with vitrified bricks. Several other colonial brick houses will also be on tour, including the William Nicholson House (built 1730), Holmeland (built c.1729), the John Jarman House (built 1755), and the Hancock House (built 1734), which was the site of a Revolutionary War massacre.
Before these brick houses were built, many of the early settlers of Salem County originally lived in houses built of logs. Several log cabins will be open for visitors on the tour, including one which was the original home of the Swing family in 1750. Ye Olde Centerton Inn is another colonial frame landmark, which has served travelers in Pittsgrove Township since c. 1706 and is open for the first time as part of the tour.
In addition to private homes, the Open House tour will include several old houses of worship from a broad range of faiths, including a Quaker meeting house in Hancocks Bridge; Presbyterian, Baptist, and Lutheran brick meeting houses; and a Jewish synagogue built by the Alliance Colony in Pittsgrove Township. In 1882, a number of Jewish families fleeing from the pogroms of Russia founded the Alliance Colony near Norma as the first agricultural colony in the United States. Built soon after their arrival, this synagogue remains as a testimony of the refugees’ fight for freedom. Be sure to visit this piece of Salem County’s long heritage of providing refuge for religious groups seeking freedom to worship according to conscience.
Explore the villages of southern Salem County, with stops in Friesburg to see the Phillip Fries House from the Federal period, in Daretown to see the Old Pittsgrove Presbyterian Church which celebrates its 275th anniversary this year, in Alloway to see the Wistarburgh Glassworks exhibit at the Alloway Museum, and in Salem to see two beautiful Victorian homes and the Olde Salem County Courthouse. We are excited to celebrate the worthy heritage of the settlers of Daretown, Friesburg, Alloway, Hancocks Bridge, Salem, and other towns of Southern Salem County during this year’s Tour!
In total, tour participants will visit 20 private homes and sites, all located in the southern section of Salem County convenient to Route 55, the Delaware Memorial Bridge, Route 295, and the NJ Turnpike.
Tickets may be purchased prior to the tour on the Salem County Historical Society’s website, www.salemcountyhistoricalsociety.com. On the day of the tour, tickets may be purchased at the Salem County Historical Society (western side of the county) or New Dodge’s Market (eastern side of the county).
Please be sure to mark your calendars for May 7th and join us as we celebrate our heritage along the colonial roads of Southern Salem County! Contact the Society for more information at (856) 935-5004 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also visit our facebook page to enjoy special previews of the tour. Thank you and hope to see you in May!