Blackwells Mills Canal House was built around 1835, one of many
dwellings erected for the men and women who operated the swinging
bridges. In 1932, the canal closed down; the old bridges began to
disappear along with the bridge tenders. The house, however, remained,
and like the canal itself, became the property of New Jersey. The
house continued to be occupied for nearly 40 years. In 1970, its
last occupant, Sandor Fekete, a 90 year
old retired canal worker, died. In 1971,
a group of local canal buffs formed the Blackwells Mills Canal
House Association. They leased the house from the state and began
to restore it as a community center, museum, and library. As these
efforts began, another very significant development took place.
The D&R Canal was declared a state and national historic site
and subsequently also a New Jersey State Park.
electricity, heat, telephone and other amenities were installed,
a curator's apartment was completed upstairs, and a couple moved
in. Outside, a new white picket fence went up, fresh paint covered
the walls, and a new roof, featuring real cedar shingles, added
an authentic air to this unique 19th century home.
house serves the area with such programs as craft and antique
shows, open house tours, art exhibits, canoe instruction, children's
events, fireplace cookings, market days, plant sales, exhibits,
and weekend instruction in such fields as gardening, canoeing,
bird watching, and photography.
In the 1970's,
Canal House was invited to join the Meadows Foundation. Since
then, both groups through joint efforts, program the house to
serve the community-at-large.
Open house tours of the Blackwells Mills Canal House are held
the Second Sunday of each month. The Second Sunday house tours have been suspended until further notice.
B lackwells Mills Canal House
Blackwells Mills Road & Canal Road
Somerset, NJ 08873
tel. (732) 873-2133
Map and directions
There are no upcoming scheduled events at the Blackwell Mills Canal House. Please check back soon!