Arts & Entertainment

Somerville: Holiday Candle Light Tours and Music featured at the Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage

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The Wallace House in Somerville was the winter headquarters of Gen. George Washington in 1778-79.
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SOMERVILLE, NJ - Hourly holiday candle light tours will be given at the Wallace House State Historic site, along with hearthside cooking demonstrations and period music from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9. 

“Mrs. Mary Wallace” will guide visitors around her home and share personalized insights on the memorable winter of 1778, when she and her husband John Wallace shared their home with General George Washington and his entourage. In the Wallace House kitchen wing, re-enactor Kathy Ormosi will be presenting hearthside cooking, and discussing the foods of the season.   

The tour will adjourn to the nearby Old Dutch Parsonage, to listen to Robert Mouland perform period music on antique instruments and enjoy light refreshments. 

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Fee: $10 per-person.  Pre-registration is required. Tours are offered at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Each hourly tour will be limited to ten visitors per group. Call 908-725-1015 to register.

Program is sponsored by the Wallace House & Old Dutch Parsonage Association, a private non-profit organization dedicated to supporting these two important Somerville, New Jersey historic buildings.  More information about the organization can be found at www.wallacehouseassociation.org

The parking lot entrance and interpretive center for the sites is located at 71 Somerset Street, Somerville. For directions and more information about the sites, visit www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/historic/olddutch-wallace/odwh-wallacehouse.htm

The Wallace House, built in 1776, served as George Washington’s winter headquarters during the Middlebrook Cantonment of 1778-1779. The house was the country residence of retired Philadelphia merchant John Wallace; Washington rented the use of half the house for himself and his staff and paid Wallace $1,000 for the use of his house and furniture. During his stay, the General hosted foreign dignitaries and planned strategies for the spring military campaign. The house is fully restored and furnished with period furniture.

The Old Dutch Parsonage was constructed in 1751, by the congregations of three local Dutch Reform Churches. The house was occupied by the Reverend John Frelinghuysen and his family until his death in 1754. His successor, the Reverend Jacob Hardenberg was the principal founder and first president of Queens College in New Brunswick, now Rutgers University. 

Both sites are administered by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, and are open to visitors Wednesday through Sunday. The Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage are both listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. 

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