UNION, NJ – History is on display at real estate showings of Union's oldest house.
The house, referred to as the Brandt-Headley Farm House, is at 1835 Vauxhall Road
The listing for the home says it was built in 1783. But according to Tom Haggery of the Union Historical Society, an 1882 book references that the west wing of the home was built around 1700. Haggerty says the books indicates that the center portion was built somewhere between 1820 and 1840 and the east wing around 1850. Current tax records indicate the home was built in 1773.
Current owners, Joe and Donna Hely, said they bought the home 23 years ago. “We’ve owned several old homes and have always had a passion for them.” Joe Hely said the house has 12 rooms, including a home theater and a three-season room in the back. “We believe the Angus family ran an upholstery and decorating shop out of this [theater] room in the 60s and 70s,” he said.
Haggerty said the Historical Society believes the first owner was William Brant III in the 1720s. (Despite the common spelling of Brandt, the Historical Society says the name is spelled Brant.) William Brant IV owned the home from 1747-1798 and then one or more of his four children, including William V, owned the home until 1845.
William Brant VI owned the home until 1881. It is thought that his daughters sold the home to the Headley family in about 1883. Four Headley’s owned the home through 1936.
“You know what you’re getting when you buy an old home,” said Joe Hely. “It’s a labor love. It’s a lot of work, but we have the passion for it.” Hely said he and his wife collected antique furniture over the years to fill their homes. He said they’ve found some old shards of pottery in the yard over the years and even a medicine bottle from the 1800s.
In the oldest part of the home, an original chandelier hangs over the dining room table. The chandelier, from the 1700s, was converted to electric sometime in the 1930s, Hely thought. Such details as a beehive oven in one of the original fireplaces remain as a testament to the home’s rich history.
“We love this house,” said Joe Hely. “But we think we need to downsize at this point in our lives.” The home is currently listed for $450,000. To see the listing for this home, click here.