Updated: Sep 11, 2019
It’s no secret that Cranbury Township’s downtown is a carefully preserved architectural and cultural treasure, where history mixes with fine home design. As part of the Historic House Tour “Memories on Main Street”, on September 28, five homeowners will open their doors to invite the public to see what they’ve done with these stately homes’ interiors.
All these houses have stories to tell.
Historic detail abounds in the house at 14 North Main Street, built in 1910 by Harry N. Scott. The original owner, Scott also had of a livery stable and construction business and held the concession on repairing the town’s streets. The house’s high-end details speak of Scott’s prosperity: intricate tiger oak floors, burled doors, and a grand staircase. The current owners have added a modern kitchen while preserving the original architectural details.
At 46 North Main Street, original owner William S. Silvers built the house in 1881. He was also an owner of the J.S. Silvers Bros. & Co. Spice Mill, once a prominent local business. At another point in the house’s history it belonged to the township clerk who issued marriage licenses and other official documents from a home office.
Featured on the official poster for this year’s house tour, 82 North Main Street was originally the home of John Duncan, an owner of the Cranbury Mill. By the 1890s, the house had been remodeled in Queen Anne style, including a two-story addition on one side of the house with stained glass windows. The stained glass transom window in the center hall was designed and crafted by the current owner. Until five years ago, the old barn at the rear of the property had horse stalls and a dirt floor. The small building by the driveway with its Victorian gingerbread trim, currently being renovated, was one owner’s insurance business office.
At 33 South Main Street, a recent renovation uncovered hand-hewn ceiling beams. Their ax marks suggest the house may have been built earlier than the owners thought, perhaps in the 1700s. The property features those newly exposed beams and a second-floor vaulted ceiling that reaches into the attic.
Many changes have been made at a house at 144 North Main Street since its construction in 1937. It was designed by Warren H. Conover of New York and built for the Barclay family. Its current owners purchased it in 1992 and added a guest room and master suite while converting an attached garage into a family room.
In addition to the historic houses, the tour includes stops at the Cranbury Museum, the Firehouse Museum, two historic churches, and the society’s gift shop at the Elizabeth M. Wagner History Center, 6 South Main Street. The nearby Barn Park is also on the tour featuring a restored barn and the New Jersey Civil War History Association’s “Living History” markers.
Advance tickets are on sale for $20 online on the Events page of this site, at the Highbar Boutique 33 N. Main Street in Cranbury and in Princeton at 7 Palmer Square, at Studio 43 hair salon, 43 N. Main Street in Cranbury and at Perennial Home, 119 W. Ward Street, Hightstown.
Tickets will be $25 on the day of the tour and will be sold at the Elizabeth M. Wagner History Center, 6 South Main Street and the Cranbury Museum, 4 Park Place East. Tickets will also be for sale on Cranbury Day, Sept. 7, at the Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society’s table on Main Street.
Proceeds of the tour underwrite the organization’s many historical preservation projects.