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Hanover Village Historic District

East Hanover Twp, Morris County, NJ

The Hanover Village Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡] .

The Hanover Village Historic District in East Hanover Township on Morris County's border with Essex County is a roughly L-shaped village defined by the intersection of Hanover and Mt. Pleasant Avenues, the latter parallel to State Highway Route 10. The eastern boundary of the Hanover Village Historic District is the Passaic River, which explains the flat, alluvial land that characterizes the topography of the village. Eighteenth and nineteenth century village growth resulted in a combined linear and agglomerative development pattern, with some agricultural lots connected to the house lots they served and others lying outside the present-day district boundaries. The village building are relatively small and most of the houses were built in close proximity to one another. Despite the intense pressure exerted by the post-World War II commercialization of Route 10, the Hanover Village Historic District exhibits some startling remnants of its early history. In addition to a handful of early houses, the Hanover Cemetery and the large tree-bordered fields surviving to its north impart a strong sense of how the village must have looked in the 19th century. So do the innumerable trees of venerable age still found throughout the district, especially along the banks of the Passaic River.

Almost all of the Hanover Village Historic District's 46 principal buildings are frame, single-family houses, none exceeding 2+ stories in height. Because of this uniformity, the towered church, which is the architectural focal point of the village, is especially arresting. Situated at a commanding location on Mt. Pleasant Avenue where it meets Hanover Avenue in a T intersection, the white-painted neoclassical building soars above its surroundings. The adjacent Cobblestone School, named because of its construction material, also contrasts with the district's other buildings. Only three other buildings were constructed for non-residential purposes: a blacksmith shop (162 Mt. Pleasant Avenue), a general store and post office (159 Mt. Pleasant Avenue), and the academy (20 Hanover Road).

The Hanover Village Historic District's collection of early domestic architecture (four houses were recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey) includes a trio of similar 1+ story 18th-century houses that exhibit excellent integrity and important associative history (Calvin Green House, 41 Hanover Road; Rev. Jacob Green House, 27 Hanover Road; Ellis Cook House ("Halfway House"), 174 Mt. Pleasant Avenue). Three Federal-era houses of the familiar side-hall and paired chimney type survive. One (Aaron Ball House, 38 Hanover Road) retains its original form; the second (S.R. Cook House, 164-166 Mt. Pleasant Avenue) was doubled in size in the middle of the 19th century when it acquired bracketed eaves and was transformed into a double house; the third (J.R. Mead House, 157 Mt. Pleasant Avenue) acquired some Romantic Revival trim and a subsidiary wing in the 1850s or '60s.

The mid-19th-century Romantic Revival that made traditional building types outmoded is represented in the Hanover Village Historic District by a number of houses located along Mt. Pleasant Avenue. It was here that a modest amount of residential development began to spread eastwards from the Presbyterian Church towards the Passaic River beginning in the 1850s. Most new construction took place between 1868 and 1887. The houses from this period exhibit vernacular combinations of Carpenter's Gothic detailing applied to L or T plans. Around the time of World War I another flurry of construction brought with it some infill along Mt. Pleasant Avenue, with a number of Bungalows and catalogue-type houses contemporaneous with construction of the Craftsman-influenced Cobblestone School.

In addition to the principal contributing buildings, the Hanover Village Historic District includes a significant number of contributing accessory buildings, among them barns, a large icehouse, equipment storage sheds and a variety of small buildings whose original functions are not always easy to determine, but which definitely include wagon sheds, tool sheds and chicken coops. Typical of the district's 19th and early-20th century practice of small-scale agriculture, these simple frame structures continue a long line of traditional building techniques. The latest significant category of accessory buildings is comprised of small garages built during the 1920s.

The Hanover Village Historic District's single engineering structure is a reinforced concrete bridge (Cooks Bridge) that spans the Passaic River at the terminus of Mt. Pleasant Avenue. Built ca.1930, it replaces several earlier spans at the same important location, one of them alleged to be the first bridge to cross the Passaic.

‡ Robert Guter, Acroterion, Inc. and East Hanover Historic Preservation Commission, East Hanover Historic District, Morris County, NJ, nomination document, 1992, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Hanover Road • Mt Pleasant Avenue