The village of Mount Rose [†] was a thriving center of rural commerce and agricultural industry. Richard Stout opened its first store around 1822 near the intersection of Pennington-Rocky Hill Road and Hopewell-Princeton Road. By 1830 Josiah Cook and Reuben Savidge had opened a second general store. By mid-century, a number of other merchants had hung out their shingles, including two shoemakers, a dressmaker, a couple of wheelwrights and a blacksmith. A harness shop, agricultural implements warehouse and a small steam sawmill also operated in Mount Rose.
Local fruit growers were regulars along the roads to Mount Rose where Nathaniel Drake had opened an applejack distillery on the western end of the village shortly after mid-century. Hundreds of barrels of peach brandy, apple cider and apple whiskey were churned out of Drake’s distillery every season.Today, the only remaining structure from that once-busy complex, known as the Whiskey House, is listed on the National, New Jersey and Hopewell Township registers of historic places. Mount Rose’s first schoolhouse, established about 1820, was a stone building located just east of the first general store. It was replaced by a new frame building during the Civil War. The original schoolhouse closed in 1935 and was later converted into a residence that still survives.
Mount Rose peaked in 1880, its growth slowed by the development of the village of Hopewell. Today only a few original buildings survive and the village’s identity is barely discernible.
† Martha H. Runyon, Mercer County Division of Culture and Heritage, M is for Mercer,, 2013, www.mercercounty.org, accessed August, 2020.
Hopewell-Princeton Road • Pennington-Rocky Hill Road