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Touring the Fourth Oldest House in Springfield: The Swaim Homestead

Anthony Ott Credits: Ellen Dickson
Marker for Anthony and Abigail Swaim Credits: Ellen Dickson
Original Fireplace Credits: Ellen Dickson
Original Flooring Credits: Ellen Dickson
The Swaim Homestead Credits: Ellen Dickson
Original Wood Beam with bark in basement Credits: Ellen Dickson
Battleground Cemetery Credits: Ellen Dickson

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Anthony Ott and his wife Carol live at 231 South Springfield Avenue in Springfield.  They have a passion for restoring historic homes.  When they bought their current home it was considered a "tear down".  However, the Ott’s made the decision to restore the historic home with a few concessions to modern day conveniences. Anthony is clearly proud of the restoration most of which he has done himself.  He says of the homestead, “It has charm, it is very quaint. The reason I like older homes is the way they are constructed… so solid.” 

Through his research he found out that it was one of the four surviving original homes in Springfield built in 1744 with an addition in 1810. An interesting architectural note is that the two parts of the house do not connect on the second floor, which is why there are two staircases.

A tour of the basement included beams of wood with the bark still attached. The bark was left on to deter insects.  All floorboards are original.  The solid stone and brick foundation is original and two feet thick.. The hearth has a large fireplace and a baker's oven.  A dated stone on the rear chimney is embossed with the names Anthony and Abigail Swaim.  They were the original settlers and builders of the home.  It was unusual to have the wife’s name acknowledged on a plaque during that time period.

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Anthony Swaim died on July 5, 1758 at 40 years of age. His wife Abigail died six years later leaving six under age children. The parents are buried in the Revolutionary Battle Ground Cemetery on Mountain Avenue in Springfield.

According to a pamphlet on the site of the cemetery published by the Daughters of the American Revolution; as of 1717 when earliest settlers were documented, Springfield’s boundaries included portions of what is now Millburn, parts of Summit, South Orange, Maplewood and New Providence. 

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