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When business or visits take you to Burlington, you can easily eye a couple of historic sites, and still fit lunch in between. Good dining and sites line High Street. So, pick your lunch spot from Dining in the Historic District, and pick a site or two from these...
Take a walk back in time and engage your mind with Self-Guided Tours of historic sites in the City of Burlington. Available year-round, these are especially fun when taken during one of our special annual events (see Events Calendar). The Site Numbers (in circles: ) below may appear out of order, but the sites are arranged in order of best walking route.To help you find your way, print out a copy of our Historic District Map. Or, request a FREE Map Brochure– by <E-mail> or call (609) 386-3993. Supplies are limited.
Some sites may contain stairs. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
Burlington Island 1624
Visible from Riverfront Promenade
The first recorded settlement in New Jersey places Europeans on this island in 1624. They were Walloons from Belgium who established a trading post to barter with the Indians. New Jerseys first record of an African presence notes slaves of a Dutch colonial official. Subsequent to the Dutch, Swedes and Finns occupied this island, finally seized by the English in 1664. The first murder in recorded New Jersey history took place on this island in the 1670s when two Indians murdered two Dutchmen. Since 1682 one of the oldest trustees in the nation, the Board of Island Managers, has administered funds from part of the island for the education of City students.
Hoskins House 1797-98
202 High Street
This colonial period structure has been restored as a model for restoration and preservation throughout the City of Burlington. Many of the restored furnishings and antiques are from our City. There have been several archeological digs, where pottery, jars, and tools have been uncovered.
Former Site, Isaac Collins Print Shop ca. 1680
206 High Street
At this location, Isaac Collins presided over a print shop where he published all government documents, including money, birth certificates and the minutes of the Royal Council. Collins arrived in Burlington in the 1760s and established himself as a printer of the first degree. His accomplishments included the states first weekly newspaper, The New Jersey Gazette, superb almanacs, and several editions of the Holy Bible. Ben Franklin used Americas first copperplate press here in Burlington to print New Jerseys first colonial currency.
Temple Bnai Israel 1801
212 High St.
One of South Jerseys oldest synagogues, Temple BNai Israel was established 1916. Originally, this structure was built for Lydia Ritche, and was later the home of U.S. Senator Garret Wall and his son, James, first mayor of the City of Burlington under the 1851 charter. The building became the residence of the McNeal family, founders of U.S. Pipe and Foundry Company, and an adopted daughter, Marguerite V. Burton. Marguerite married a German Baron in 1912, and a German diplomats son in 1917, provoking a duel between them, and inciting international controversy during World War I.
Dr. John Howard Pugh House 1716
214 High Street
Known as the Counting House, this example of Georgian/Federal architecture was created after 1768 from two houses circa 1709 and 1716, with further alterations in 1860. Between 1767 and 1776 occupied by Samuel Allinson, author of a state laws compilation, and a member of the Friends prominent in local anti-slavery movements. His grandson, William J. Allinson, opened a pharmacy in town (see Burlington Pharmacy). Dr. J. H. Pugh moved to Burlington in 1854, living in the house from 1857 to 1905. During the Civil War, he served without compensation at the U.S. General Hospital in nearby Beverly. After the war, he served in the House of Representatives, resumed his medical practice, was president of the Mechanics National Bank of Burlington, and served on the State Board of Education. Much that is original to the private dwelling has been preserved by present owner, Mr. John A. Hammer, CPA, who has periodically opened the building to visitors during street fairs and other special events.
Site of Thomas Gardiner House was 1685
228 High Street
One of early Burlingtons most influential Quaker leaders, Thomas Gardiners new house was built on this site circa 1685. It has since been torn down. Gardiner served as Surveyor General of West Jersey. His son, also Thomas Gardiner, lived in his fathers house and attained the position of Treasurer of West Jersey.
Endeavor Fire Co. 1795
19 E. Union Street
The Endeavor, is the oldest fire company in the State of New Jersey under the same name. It was established by John Hoskins, Jr. and other Quakers in an effort to solve the growing problem of fires in eighteenth century Burlington. Each member was required to obtain a bucket, a ladder and axe, and to pass a morals test.
The spire on top of the Endeavor stood on the original Town Hall and Market House 1797 which was on High Street at Union. Today the Endeavor is but one of six fire companies which bravely serve the people of the City of Burlington.
Burlington Pharmacy 1731
301 High Street
This is the New Jerseys oldest pharmacy in continuous operation. It was reputedly nce a center of anti-slavery activity in Burlington, owned by Quaker William J. Allinson, an ardent abolitionist. Poet John Greenleaf Whittier denounced slavery from its doorstep, and oral tradition has it that tunnels under this building hid slaves as part of the Underground Railroad. Isaac Collins, the royal printer, lived in this building from 1770 to 1778.
Dr. Richard Smith House 1700
315 High Street
The earliest parts of this building date to 1700 when it was constructed by Joseph Scattergood, a carpenter from Philadelphia, for Dr. Richard Smith. Dr. Smith sired one of colonial Burlingtons largest and most influential familes. Dr. Smiths son Richard Jr., was an international trader and representative to the Provincial Assembly. In 1720, he built the house now known as the Coleman House. He purchased Alcazar in 1739, and built the Blue Anchor Tavern next to it 11 years later. As his father Richard Jr. did, so too did Richard Smith, Esq. serve in the Assembly. Later State Treasurer, he served one term in the Continental Congress before resigning based on his Quaker opposition to the Revolutionary War. Later the bulding housed William R. Allen, a Whig, who served two terms as mayor, and for whom a school was named in honor.
Nathaniel Coleman House 1792
320 High Street
Nathaniel Coleman, a Quaker silversmith, lived in this home from 1793 to 1842. His work is now prized by collectors. The Friendly Institution, a local charitable society, was organized in this building on December 14, 1796. The Friendly Society continues doing good, charitable work to this day, over 100 years later.
Friends Meetinghouse orig. 1785
341 High Street
This buildings location has been the meeting place of area Quakers for over 300 years. The original seats and tables built during the Revolution are still in use. Constructed on the site of the original hexagonal meetinghouse used from 1685 to 1785. The building and grounds are reminders of the important contributions Quakers have made to the areas culture over the centuries.
Among the noteworthies interred in the burial grounds behind the building are founder of Bryn Mawr College Joseph Taylor, printer Isaac Collins, and missionary Stephen Grellet.
Chief Ockanickon Gravesite 1681
To the rear of the Friends Meetinghouse under a huge sycamore is a plaque and stone marking the grave of Chief Ockanickon, Chief of the Mantas tribe of the Lenape, and an early Native American friend of the settlers. A boulder near the tree bears his mark, and a bronze plaque with his last words: Be plain and fair to all, both Indian and Christian, as I have been.
Blue Anchor Inn est. 1750
SW corner of High & Broad Streets
Site of the historic Blue Anchor Tavern, established 1750. This famous hostelry was used as a public house where food, drink, lodging and a place to meet and exchange ideas were available to locals, and visitors. During the Revolution, this building served both Colonial and British forces. A stage line ran from the Blue Anchor to points north. The current structure has also served guests of national fame. The Belden House, as it was later known, was a favorite lodging place for stars of the American Stage performing at the Opera House located nearby. Republicans utilized this building as a headquarters during Abraham Lincolns presidential political campaign. The bar within is the site of a legendary arm-wrestling match between candidate Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.
Alcazar ca. 1680
406 High Street
Incorporated into this building is the oldest extant construction in the City of Burlington; first occupied by Thomas Ollive, an original founder of the City and a prominent member of early West Jersey government. In time it became the home of international trader Richard Smith, Jr., and his son Richard Smith, Esq., a member of the Continental Congress who resigned because of his Quaker vows of nonviolence when war with Great Britain was imminent. It was later the dwelling of Henry C. Carey, noted American Economist and muckraker.
Birch-Bloomfield House 1750
415 High Street
James Birch built his first carriage repair shop in 1867 and from there his business career soared. He later built a three-story factory in East Burlington where he produced more than 200 models of carriages exported around the globe as far as Japan, China and South Africa. Henry Ford visited the Birch factory and offered to have automobile bodies built in Burlington. Birch refused, believing there would always be a market for carriages and the automobile business was suspect.
Joseph Bloomfield was a Captain in the American Revolution, Chief Justice of the New Jersey Vice-Admiralty Court, and Mayor of Burlington. From 1800 to 1812, he served as Governor of New Jersey and during the war of 1812 he was commissioned as a Brigadier General.
Statue of Mercury 1881
427 High Street
This cast iron statue was erected in 1881 and served as the centerpiece of the Birch Opera House which was located on the site of the present Post Office. The figure is believed to have been cast in England and is a copy of a sixteenth century work by Flemish sculptor Jean Boulogne. Now resplendent in gold leaf, it stands atop a base inscribed BIRCH 1881' for the year it was placed at the Opera House. Most appropriate that the Messenger of the Gods now stands before the U.S. Post Office.
Bard-How House ca. 1743
453 High Street
This building was probably constructed about 1743 by Bennett and Sarah Pattison Bard. It is the earliest of the historic houses maintained by the Burlington County Historical Society, and provides vistors the opportunity to experience living conditions in the bustling City of Burlington during the mid-1700s. Samuel How, Sr. purchased the house in 1756. He was an Inferior Court of Common Pleas Justice, and a representative to the Provincial Congress of New Jersey. In 1782 the house was passed to his sons Samuel, Jr. and John. There are many antiques on display here, including a Tall Case Clock by Isaac Pearson, ca. 1740.
James Fenimore Cooper House 1782
457 High Street
The Cooper House was the birthplace of Americas first true novelist, James Fenimore Cooper, author of The Last of the Mohicans, Leatherstocking Stories, and numerous other books about the American Wilderness. Cooper items are on display.
Upstairs, find furnishings and items that once belonged to Napoleons older brother, Joseph Bonaparte, who fled to Bordentown following the Battle of Waterloo.
This is part of the Burlington County Historical Society complex, which also includes the Bard-How House, the Capt. James Lawrence House, the Delia Biddle-Pugh Library at the Corson Poley Center and Aline K. Wolcott Museum.
These buildings contain significant historic collections. The furniture and accessories, including a permanent display of case clocks (grandfather clocks) and carriage, are fascinating reminders of our colonial past. New displays and shows are mounted on an ongoing basis.
Capt. James Lawrence House 1742
459 High Street
Captain James Lawrence was the naval war hero of the War of 1812. As commander of the U.S.S. Chesapeake
, he accepted the challenge of Captain Broke aboard H.M.S. Shannon. After taking a terrible battering, the Chesapeake was boarded and Captain Lawrence, who had been mortally wounded, shouted to his men, Tell the men to fire faster and not to give up the ship; fight her till she sinks!. This became paraphrased as, Dont Give Up the Ship, and was sewn onto a flag, becoming the motto of the U.S. Navy. There have been six American vessels commissioned in his honor. He is buried in New York City. Find more details about the gallant young Captain in Military Masters.
Herman T. Costello-Lyceum Hall 1839
432 High Street
Originally called Lyceum Hall, the building was constructed for use by the public as a lecture hall, theatre and for other cultural purposes. It became City Hall when the new City charter was adopted in 1851. It was renovated in 1910 under the direction of Burlington architect, Henry Armitt Brown. Presently, it is once again undergoing restoration and renovation, perhaps to serve once day as an arts and cultural center.
Whether high-speed, or high-style, we hope you enjoyed your meal, and will return to our Historic District. Why not bring the family, or your seniors group?
NOTE: Some of the sites listed in Tours (4-5, 7, 11, 13-23, 25-28, 30-33, 38-44) are private property owned by individuals or organizations, and must be viewed and enjoyed with respect from without.
These contacts are offered only to aid those interested in requesting access to the following private interests:
Burlington County Historical Society 453 High Street (properties include Bard-How House, Cooper House, Capt. Lawrence House, Delia Biddle-Pugh Library at the Corson Poley Center and Aline K. Wolcott Museum) For walking tours, tours of the interiors of their buildings, hours and more information call (609) 386-4773
City of Burlington Historical Society Carriage House, Ellis Lane (properties include Hoskins House, Carriage House, Friends School House) For information call (609) 386-7125
Bethlehem African Methodist Episcopal Church 213 Pearl Blvd. Tours by arrangement (609) 386-6664
Burlington Friends Meetinghouse 341 High Street Tours available by arrangement (609) 387-3875
Temple B'nai Israel 212 High Street For more information call (609) 386-0406
See the past for yourself– its our present to you. Welcome to the City of Burlington.
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