Historical Society of Princeton House Tour Spans Several Styles, Eras
ITALIANATE AND GOTHIC: John Notman designed the original portion of this house at 86 Mercer Street, part of the Historical Society of Princeton’s 17th Annual House Tour on Saturday, November 3.
The Historical Society of Princeton’s 17th Annual House Tour is planned for Saturday, November 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Six houses will be open for the event, which celebrates significant architecture and design in the community.
Each home is a distinct example of its own time and style. Visitors will observe modifications, redesigns, furnishings, and personal art collections during the self-guided tour.
The Italianate and Gothic style house at 86 Mercer Street is the official residence for the president of the Princeton Theological Seminary. Architect John Notman — also responsible for Prospect House, Lowrie House, and Guernsey Hall in Princeton — designed the original portion of the house, circa 1851. Built on land owned by the Stockton family, the house was presented by Commodore Robert Field Stockton to his son, probably as a wedding present. The house has enjoyed a recent major renovation, with much of the magnificent original cast ironwork restored and with modifications to make the building comfortable as a modern family home.
The stucco contemporary architectural house at 50 Random Road was designed by Studio Hillier in 2012. The house represents a growing wave of modern and sustainable design in Princeton, featuring a sedum-covered green roof, rain cistern, bamboo flooring, smart thermostats, solar panels, and an electric car charging station. The house boasts large, open common spaces to encourage togetherness. Beechwood Landscape Architecture and Construction developed the relaxing outdoor space, through which Harry’s Brook flows.
The classic early 20th century stone house at 34 Cleveland Lane is one of the earliest residences on the street. A recent top-to-bottom renovation was done by A+B Architectural Design Lab, blending a contemporary addition with original historic features. A large, sun-soaked eat-in kitchen was added during the renovation and the backyard was extensively relandscaped. An extended sunroom with cork flooring opens toward a new pool. Paintings by Dutch masters hang on the home’s walls.
The grand Georgian Revival home at 117 Library Place was built on the former Morven Tract in 1905 by the Matthews Construction Company, which later built many of the notable stone buildings on the Princeton University campus. The house has had a number of distinguished owners, including Judge William Clark, chief justice of the Allied Appeals Court in Nuremburg; Ambassador Ann Martindell; and Nicholas Katzenbach, attorney general of the United States under President Lyndon Johnson.
The current owners renovated the dwelling. Some features from when the home served as a Junior League showhouse remain, including a vibrantly hued staircase personally painted by architect Michael Graves. The house contains a collection of 19th and 20th century art from around the world.
Prolific Princeton builder-architect Charles Steadman built the house at 72 Library Place in 1836 at 26 Library Place. The house was moved to its current location in 1889, when Woodrow Wilson, then a Princeton University faculty member, made it his first home in Princeton before becoming governor of New Jersey and president of the United States. Classic Steadman details including elegant transoms, molding, and fireplaces, remain preserved. A formal garden sits adjacent to the house.
Also known as Rothers Barrows, the house at 52 Arreton Road, designed by famed Philadelphia architect Wilson Eyre Jr. of Eyre and McIlvaine, was built in 1919 as part of a large Princeton equestrian estate. One of New Jersey’s finest examples of the American Arts and Crafts style, Rothers Barrows is on both the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places. The current owners extensively renovated and restored the home, preserving important period features such as original Moravian tile, windows, and woodwork. Publications have featured the intricate foyer ceiling.
“Princeton’s uniqueness and historicity as a town is grounded in its remarkable built environment,” said HSP Executive Director Izzy Kasdin. “This year’s tour provides a window into almost two centuries of architectural development in Princeton and the varied styles that define our town’s landscape. We’re so pleased to be able to recognize homeowners who steward this long legacy of magnificent architecture in Princeton. The house tour is always an enjoyable and enriching experience for all involved!”
Advance tickets are $45 for HSP members and $50 for non-members. All tickets purchased the day of the tour are $50. Proceeds help fund the Historical Society’s core mission activities throughout the year, including exhibitions, historical collections access, and engaging educational programming for schools, families, and adults.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call (609) 921-6748 x106 or visit www.princetonhistory.org. On the day of the event, all tickets must be purchased at Updike Farmstead, 354 Quaker Road, before venturing to any of the houses on the tour. This is a change from previous years’ ticket purchasing policies.