Weekend Journey through the Past Oct. 12 & 13

Weekend Journey through the Past Oct. 12 & 13

Posted on October 11, 2019


Interactive house tours and arts activities, history trading cards—and a colonial cannon—will connect visitors to Somerset County’s rich heritage during the 14th annual Weekend Journey through the Past.

Thirty historic sites around the country—four of which were visited by George Washington—will be open to the public free of charge from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13. For details visit the event website at www.SCHistoryWeekend.com  A video introduction to the annual program can be found at http://bit.ly/2019WeekendJourney.

“On behalf of the Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Cultural & Heritage Commission, I invite you to step back in time and enjoy this very popular fall event,” said Freeholder Brian G. Gallagher. “This is a rare opportunity to visit any or all of more than two dozen historic sites and learn about Somerset County’s long and distinguished history.”

Witness what life was like a century or more ago, from daily work responsibilities and pleasant pastimes to the hardships endured during the American Revolution. Learn about former Somerset County residents: celebrities, politicians, artists, military heroes and ordinary people who made a difference.

Explore Somerset County’s quaint villages, rolling farmsteads, lively towns and unspoiled natural areas. Participating sites are grouped into three convenient tours by location: Northern, Central and Southern Somerset County. An interactive map will be available on the county’s GIS website in October.

Returning this year are Somerset County Commemorative History Trading Cards. Each card features a notable person, place, event or theme taken from four centuries of Somerset County’s rich history and deals out fun facts, activities and even a few mysteries to solve. Cards are available only during Weekend Journey. Ask for them when you visit this year’s participating historic sites; most sites offer at least one trading card.

In addition to free tours, participating sites will host a variety of programs and activities, including:

  • Appearances by historical figures such as George and Martha Washington, NJ’s own Molly Pitcher and the man who carved many of Somerset County’s tombstones
  • Scavenger hunts, story time, kids’ crafts and colonial-period toys and games
  • Live performances of period music and dancing
  • Interactive arts workshops including shadow portraits
  • Beekeeping, pottery and quilting demonstrations
  • Photo opportunities including George Washington’s mountain-top view and a selfie with the U.S. Open Trophy
  • Displays of artifacts including sports memorabilia, vintage fire engines and a Civil War diary
  • The firing of a 6 pounder colonial cannon by uniformed representatives of the Sons of the American Revolution
  • Visit the County Clerk’s office to view documents dating back over two hundred years (Saturday only)
  • Somerset County’s Diversity Celebration and the Somerset County Fireman’s Inspection Day Parade (Saturday Only)

Visit www.SCHistoryWeekend.com for the most up-to-date schedule and location of events.

Somerset County’s annual Weekend Journey through the Past is an initiative of the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, in collaboration with many countywide local historical organizations and commissions and other county organizations. It is made possible in part by funds from the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

2019 Weekend Journey through the Past Participating Sites by Location

North County Sites

  1. Boudinot Southard Ross Estate, Basking Ridge
  2. Brick Academy, Basking Ridge
  3. Jacobus Vanderveer House, Bedminster
  4. Kennedy Martin Stelle House, Basking Ridge
  5. Kirch-Ford-Terrill House, Warren
  6. Mount Bethel Baptist Meeting House, Warren
  7. Pluckemin School House also known as The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster
  8. Texier House Museum, Watchung
  9. USGA Museum, Liberty Corner
  10. Vermeule Mansion also known as Van Derventer Brunson House, North Plainfield
  11. Washington Rock, Green Brook

Central County Sites

  1. Abraham Staats House, South Bound Brook
  2. Andrew Ten Eyck House, Branchburg
  3. Daniel Robert House also known as Somerville Borough Hall, Somerville
  4. General John Frelinghuysen Home, also known as Raritan Public Library, Raritan
  5. Old Presbyterian Graveyard, Bound Brook
  6. Phillip Van Horne House, Bridgewater
  7. Presbyterian Church of Bound Brook, Bound Brook
  8. Relief Hose No. 2, Engine House, Raritan
  9. Somerville Exempt Fire Museum, Somerville
  10. South Branch School House, Branchburg
  11. Van Veghten House, Bridgewater
  12. Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage, Somerville

South County Sites*

  1. Blawenburg Reformed Church, Blawenburg (Montgomery)
  2. Griggstown Bridgetender’s House, Franklin Township
  3. Hageman Farm, Somerset
  4. Harlingen Church Parsonage, Belle Mead (Montgomery)
  5. Harlingen Reformed Church, Belle Mead
  6. Historic 1860 School House also known as Borough of Millstone, Millstone Borough
  7. Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum, Skillman (Montgomery)


Three Montgomery sites will be Open for visits both days and three more, just on Saturday:

Harlingen Church, corner of Rt. 206 and Dutchtown-Harlingen Rd., will be open both days as will the church’s 1846 Parsonage. Guests can try their hand at a quilting bee, making apple & clove pomanders, and kids can try using a quill pen.  Dr. Dan Pullen, a lifelong resident of this area, will be giving a presentation accompanied by pictures titled, “Growing up in Montgomery Township” from 5 to 6:30 pm on Saturday, October 12. Church organist mini-recital Sunday 1:00 to 1:30PM. Please come see and hear the amazing history. Contact: 908-359-3556 or http://www.harlingenchurch.org.

Blawenburg Church, 424 Rt. 518, Blawenburg 08504 (GPS use Skillman, NJ 08558) will open its doors for visitors during the Weekend Journey through the Past both days. The church is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, and docents will provide historical information about the 189-year-old sanctuary. On Saturday, October 12, the informational tours will be offered continuously from 10am until 5pm. On Sunday, tours will be offered from 12pm until 1:45 and from 2:45 to 4pm. At 2pm, organist Kathleen Connolly will present a recital reflecting the Dutch roots of the church and area settlers. Blawenburg Church was built in 1830 as the Second Reformed Dutch Church at Harlingen and became a separate entity as the Reformed Dutch Church at Blawenburg in 1832. More at: http://www.blawenburgchurch.org/wj

Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum, Skillman, Hollow Rd. near Camp Mtg. Rd., Skillman – View exhibits and renovations inside the church on both Saturday and Sunday. Listen to recorded life stories of members of the founding African American families in the region. Participate in a seasonal art activity from 1-3 on both days. Learn about the planned SSAAM/Sourland Conservancy program/office space.

Plus DISCOVER MONTGOMERY’S PAST The Van Harlingen Historical Society will also open its buildings ONLY from 1 PM to 4 PM on Saturday, Oct. 12. including the following sites:

  • 1752 Dirk Gulick House (506 County Road 601)
  • Farm Museum (124 Montgomery Rd) Parking available at the 124 Club at the 1860 House
  • 1853 Bedensville Schoolhouse (Burnt Hill Rd, Skillman, Gray & white one-room school bldg. next to Kid Connection)

Drop in for a look and to learn more about Montgomery’s local historical society. http://vanharlingen.org/

Source: Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission and Van Harlingen Historical Society