We regretfully report that as of late October, 2014, the Van Wickle House has been closed to the public. This is because of structural issues that have arisen due to the house being flooded during our last few severe storms (Irene, Sandy, etc.). Franklin Township shares our concern for the future of this home, and we are working diligently with county, state and federal agencies to save this historic structure with a complete restoration.
In the interim, we are improving the grounds and other structures for your use and enjoyment. The nature trail, which was also lost due to severe weather, is being reinstalled. An Eagle Scout Candidate has made it his project to repair the observation decks and install signage with information on the ecosystems, plants and wildlife that can be found on the property. Whenever possible we will host outdoor events at the site, and you are welcome to enjoy the site for bird watching (very popular) or a quiet stroll. Our future plans also include renovating the Vergano Center, including displays on the house’s timeline, the Delaware and Raritan Canal, and information on the construction and renovation of the house as it becomes available. The property is still available for rental as an outdoor venue.
In the late 1600s, Evert Van Wickle, a young Dutch carpenter, stepped onto the rich soil of New Amersfoort, Long Island. Evert must have prospered, as around 1700 he bought about 800 acres of land on the Raritan River in New Jersey.
Evert’s son Symen brought his bride Geradina to these acres on the Raritan in 1722, and built his home facing the Raritan at a spot known as the “upper fording place,” and at that time an important link between Middlebush and Piscataway, via the “Old Middlebush Road” (now DeMott Lane).
Of a style commonly called “Anchorbent Dutch,” the house is a combination of Dutch, Flemish, and English influences and is an excellent example of early 18th-century Dutch architecture unique to the New Jersey-New York area. The house itself, of massive anchorbent post-and-beam construction, measures 30 by 40 feet, sitting solidly on a stone foundation.
The house has witnessed many fascinating historical events. During the Revolutionary War, the British occupied the Raritan Landing for several months in 1777. In early 1834, the Delaware & Raritan Canal arrived in the front yard.
Standing like a rock since c.1722 the house has been farmhouse, colonial showplace, and home for generations of owners. Restoration has included the addition of such important new features as a public restroom, an outdoor stage, formal gardens, wetland boardwalk, Vergano program center, nature trail, and youth camping site.
This historic home, located at 1289 Easton Avenue in Somerset, plays host to a variety of Meadows programs and events. For upcoming events please see our calendar.