Everittstown Historic District
The Everittstown Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2013, The Gombach Group.
Everittstown is a small crossroads village, which has remained virtually unchanged since the third quarter of the 19th century. It is a nearly pristine example of a 19th century community; the visual impressions of tiny Everittstown being pre-automobile.
The village has a number of noteworthy architectural features in the vernacular sense. The Baltus Pickel house is the finest building in the Everittstown Historic District. Vernacular Italianate in style, it was built around 1860 and is a fine example of local craftsmanship. While the Pickel House is the best architectural structure in the district, the focal point of the village is the Opdyke Store. Built around 1880, this commercial building is a late example of vernacular Greek Revival. Other noteworthy structures are the small 19th century frame octagon outbuilding, the 18th century stone tavern, and the simple vernacular 19th century I-form frame work houses which are representative of country architecture of the last half of the 19th century.
Commercially, the 18th century tavern, the Greek Revival front store, the blacksmith shop, the wheelwright shop, the town bakery, the creamery, and the shoemaker shop, all pre-1900, are still extant, although no longer functioning as original.
The grist mill is the only apparent industrial building extant in Everittstown. Built in 1880 (cut down to 3 stories in the 1960's) on the site of an 18th century mill, the industrial archeological potential beyond this facility is extremely high, particularly in light of documented evidence of a saw mill and a distillery in the center of the village.
Dr. Henry Holcombe (1797-1859), a prominent county physician, was Everittstown's first doctor and lived on Palmyra Road.
The only religious buildings in Everittstown were Methodist. The first building, erected in 1825 in the center of the cemetery, was moved to its current site at Mill Street and is a private residence. The present Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1881 and is still functioning.
The Baltus Pickel property is an example of a 3rd quarter 19th century farmstead. The wagon sheds, chicken coops, barn, barnyard, silo and outhouse coupled with the fine Italianate Villa building establishes this as one of the best surviving mid-19th century farmhouse complexes in the township.
Everittstown was originally called Everitts Mill. Samuel Everitt, born on December 12, 1718 bought large tracts of land from James Parker and William Everitt, his brother bought a 140.5 acre tract from John Stevens in 1753 upon which there was a mill. These lands were located near each other and were within the great tract of the West Jersey Society.
It is not clear if Samuel was a miller also, but it is possible that the brothers operated the mill. William was a Freeholder from 1756 until 1770.
The mill situated on the Nishisakawick Creek is at the eastern end of what is today known as Mill Street. It is believed that this mill was in operation for approximately one hundred years.
David Everitt, son of Samuel and nephew of William, bought the property in 1785 from the heirs of William. David was born in 1764 and died in 1846. David was a Major in the Revolutionary War and also kept a store in Everittstown. He is credited with giving the village its present name.
An 1806 Book of Mortgages between David Everitt and Moore Furman lists a grist mill, saw mill, four dwelling houses, a distillery, a store, plus barns and outbuildings on this 140.5 acre property.
Snell dates the "new five story stone mill" as "built on the site of the old mill" in 1885. Snell credits Dr. Holcombe with its construction. However, Baltus Pickel sold it to Samuel Sigenfuss in 1869. The confusion probably arose from the fact that Baltus Pickel married Dr. Holcombe's daughter, and the Doctor, living close by was probably very interested in his son-in-law's project.
The wheel of the mill was unusual in construction but is no longer in existence. It is recorded that it was of "modern improvement." The gearing being of iron instead of wood but the master wheel on the upright shaft was partly of one and partly of the other, a combination that is believed to have been rare. The hub spokes and rim were iron but the cogs were made from blocks of hard maple securely set in slots through the rim. The big wheel was of the overshot bucket design made of iron and steel. (Hunterdon Democrat — May 11, 1933).
Among the later owners of this mill were Baker and Skinner in 1873, then Joseph Hoff, the last miller, who sold to Willard Curtis in 1915. The building is still standing but has had three top floors removed and has suffered many internal alterations.
It appears that the Walter's home may have been the original house with the mill, as the mill, stone barn and house are in a line along an embankment. Also, it was the home of Joseph Huff the last miller.
There is a fine stone house above the mill that was probably built or added onto about the time that the new mill was built. This is the home of the Jack Barnes' and was also the original Everitt acreage.
An 1822 Deed verifies that there was also a saw mill in operation. Possibly after the construction of the major portion of the village the need for the sawmill decreased. However, there was a portable steam powered mill in operation on Palmyra Road south of the village which was operated by Frank Eich in the early 1900's. The early mills attracted other tradespeople to Everittstown.
The original blacksmith shop must have been near to the one built by Samuel Hoff which is still standing and houses a small shop owned by Luther Fleming. It is located on the west side of Palmyra Road across from the Methodist Church. The last blacksmiths were John Hinkle around 1906-1908 and Theodore Zielstorff around 1908-1914. This according to Mrs. Eleanor Myers, life long resident of Everittstown, who was born in the house next to the old shoemaker's shop.
In 1794 Abraham Larew purchased ten acres of land in Everittstown and soon after erected a tavern hotel.
There is a recommendation for license dated 1800 for Abraham Larew "a fitt person to keep a public house where he now dwelse and do certify that the said Abraham Larew is of good repute for honesty and temperance that he has two spare feather beds more than are necessary for his family's use and that he is well provided with house room stabling and provender."
The present stone tavern is believed to have been built by Isaac Larew, Abraham's son. Names of later innkeepers include William L. Nixon (1866), Elijah R. Mettler (1857), Jack Zigenfuss (1873), and Enoch H. Opdyke (1882).
There have been many storekeepers in the village since David Everitt in 1806. Isaac Larew is said to have built the storehouse in 1811 across from the tavern. Mahlon Rittenhouse (late 1800's), Stacy Sherman (early 1900's). It is now the home of John Cronce, Jr. However, it remained a store when Horace Neice bought it in 1924. After major renovations he used it as a dwelling, restaurant and service station. The small building behind it was used as a slaughter house.
According to deeds Samuel Hudnut bought the corner store house from Richard Riggins. This deed mentions "storehouse and lot." Whitfield Kitchen was a wheelwright here about 1880 and the last business to be operated here was a harness shop by Edwin Clayton.
The present store was constructed around 1880. Among its shopkeepers were F.H. Opdyke, Harry Warne, Mr. Conner and Theodore Piel around 1907-1908.
Dr. Henry Holcombe, born August 5, 1797 was a Princeton graduate and moved to Everittstown in 1822 to set up his practice as physician and surgeon.
He was one of the founders of the County Medical Society and an honorary member of the Philadelphia Medical Society. He married Catherine Case, daughter of Samuel Case and had a daughter who married Baltus Pickel. Dr. Holcombe served the area for thirty-seven years until his death in 1859.
Dr. Holcombe's residence is a simple I house. There is a very large bake house located on the property and it is believed to have provided bake goods for the community since few of the homes in the village had ovens. It contains a large walk-in fireplace and an unusual beehive oven with two doors. Behind this is a large wood shed.
The first congregation of the Methodist Church in Everittstown was organized in 1817 with the Rev. George Banghart and the Rev. Richard Petherbridge as colleagues. The original church was built in 1825 and was located in the center of the cemetery. The present building was built in 1881 and sits south of the original location. The spire was removed when it was struck by lightning. Congregations at Quakertown, Frenchtown, Milford and Little York originated from this church. The present parsonage was built about 1903 when Nathaniel Schuster gave the land to the church for this purpose. The first parsonage is the first house on the southeast corner of Palmyra Road. The original 1825 church was moved across the village to what is now Mill Street.
The Industrial Directory of 1906 lists a large creamery at Everittstown. Little York and Everittstown creamerys are listed as being built between 1893 and 1903. The creamery was turned into a residence about 1913 after Nathaniel Shuster purchased it in 1919 from Levis Swope. It sits on the south side of Rt. 513 opposite the parsonage. In 1879 a shoemaker shop was being operated by a Mr. Brewer in a building on the corner of Palmyra Road and the old mill lane. The present owners, Daniel Laubach and William Perrine, have unearthed the stepping stone which advertised the business.
According to the Hunterdon Democrat May 11, 1933 there has been a tailor shop in the village also but the location is unknown. At a later date in the early 1900's Fannie Hiner was a milliner and lived in what is now the Hopkins home on the east side of Palmyra Road.
Barber & Howe, Historical Collections of the State of New Jersey, 1844.
Hunterdon Democrat — May 11, 1933.
Hunterdon County Hall of Records:
Mtg. Book 6 page 413 — September 10, 1783
Bible - Family Records (Everitt).
Gordon's Gazetteer of New Jersey, 1834.
Hunterdon Democrat, "Historically Speaking," Hubert Schmidt.
† C. F. Brasch and Ruth Harrison, Alexandria Township, with Terry Karschner, New Jersey Office of Historic Preservation, Everittstown Historic District, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, nomination document, 1980, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.