FLEMINGTON, N.J. – A 30-stop self-guided walking tour supported by an eight-page brochure and online is the result of a new effort by Flemington Community Partnership and Hunterdon County Historical Society.
Organizers say the one-square mile tour is “one of New Jersey’s most historic square miles.” It is designed to be walked in less than an hour.
Locations include architecturally significant and historical buildings, a park, a horse fountain and a 1750 gravesite.
The walking tour brochure describes Flemington as a crossroads for commerce, agriculture and culture dating back thousands of years to the Lenni Lenape people and continuing through the first European settlers in the 1600s to the present day.
“Historic Flemington has so many beautiful buildings and walkable streets,” said Ann Meredith, executive director of Flemington Community Partnership. “We wanted to give our visitors a fun way to travel through centuries of history—while enjoying the great charm of our small town.”
Historical Society executive director Patricia Millen said 65 percent of the borough is on the National Register of Historic Places. Flemington is unusual architecturally because it contains so many different time periods, including Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne and Victorian, she said.
“You can see the variations of styles through the centuries,” Millen said. “What’s special about Flemington is that so many of those buildings are preserved.”
A few walking tour highlights:
- Hunterdon County Courthouse, 75 Main St. – Built in 1828 on the site of the original courthouse, the structure was renovated to appear as it did during the famous 1935 Lindbergh kidnapping trial. The stone jail at the rear held the accused kidnapper, Bruno Hauptmann, during the trial.
- Union Hotel, 76 Main St. – Journalists from around the world stayed here when covering the Lindbergh trial.
- Samuel Fleming House, 5 Bonnell St. – Once called Fleming Castle, was the home of Irish-born Fleming, an early settler and tavern owner for whom the town is named. Preserved by the Daughters of the American Revolution, it is now a house museum with a garden where many community events are held.
- Chief Tuccamirgan’s Grave, between 56 and 60 Bonnell Street – The Delaware Indian chief formed a close friendship with the family of John Phillip Case, who lived on the site of the Dvoor Farm. According to legend, Tuccamirgan was buried in a sitting position, facing east with his tomahawk.
- Children’s Choir School, 3 Chorister Pl. – Originally a stable, it housed a choir school from 1895 to 1958 that was credited with starting the national junior choir movement for singers from all religious denominations.
- Deats Building, 120-124 Main St. – With eight chimneys, this 1881 building eventually became the first structure in Flemington to have electricity and telephones. It was owned by wealthy gentleman farmer Hiram Deats, who made sure that the neighboring building – now the Flemington Free Public Library – would sit back from the road so he could have an unobstructed view of town.
- Stangl Pottery Factory, 12 Mine St. –Three large kilns, where the highly collectible Fulper and Stangl pottery were made, are the centerpiece of this renovated space that’s used today as an art gallery, farmers’ market, coffee shop, restaurant and concert venue.
- The Reading/Large Residence, 119 Main St. – An ornamental Greek Revival house whose two-story white columns are a commanding presence in town. Now home to the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce, the building was one of several constructed by local country carpenter Mahlon Fisher, who became a master builder. Fisher also built the Doric House on 114 Main St., now home to the Hunterdon County Historical Society, and brought the Greek Revival style to the Samuel Southard Law Office on 59 Main St., which in the 1920s was used as a women’s public restroom.
The brochure is available at the kiosk on Main Street just north of the Hunterdon County Historical Society on 114 Main St. It can also be picked up at the Hunterdon County Historical Society on Thursdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and downloaded at exploreflemington.com and hunterdonhistory.org.