Status: Progress Made
2003: Knowlton Township has received a special use permit from the state enabling emergency stabilization. The HPC continues to negotiate with the State for a long-term lease.
06/2004: The State House Commission has approved a 20 year lease for the property with Knowlton Twp.
11/2004: The Knowlton HPC has received a New Jersey Historic Trust grant for the prepapration of a Historic Structure Report.
6/2010: The Knowlton Township Historic Commission has applied for and received four county, state, Federal and private foundation grants so far for restoration planning and stabilization of the Ramsaysburg Homestead.
11/2010: Stabilization work is progressing steadily on the Ramsaysburg Homestead. The majority of the roofing has been replaced, windows have been repaired and doors secured. A “visioning” process to determine the best long-term public use of the site is planned for the near future, funded by a Garden State Preservation Trust grant.
The Ramsayburg Homestead consists of a house, tavern, and numerous outbuildings on an approximately 12-acre site along the Delaware River. James and Adam Ramsay acquired this property, which already included a tavern, in 1794. They continued to operate the tavern and established a store, around which a hamlet grew. The little community prospered modestly, catering to both river and road traffic, until construction of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad in the 1850s shifted commercial activity to the new town of Delaware, one mile to the north.
Both the original Ramsay House and its barns and outbuildings have been unoccupied for many years, and are threatened with demolition by neglect. Yet, despite deterioration, the frame two-story house, a notable example of the region’s early domestic architecture, retains many late 18th-, early 19th-century features, such as beaded clapboards, mud-straw wall nogging and Roman ovolo-molded window surrounds.
The township is hoping to acquire the property for its Delaware River access with funds from the Green Acres program. However, neither Green Acres nor Knowlton Township has indicated an interest in restoring the buildings on the property. This is another example of the disregard commonly shown to historic resources on property acquired by the State for open-space preservation.
The local Historic Preservation Commission is exploring the possibility of the township leasing and rehabilitating the property, but is powerless to do anything until the property has been sold. In the meantime, the buildings are not stable and continue to deteriorate.
Hal Bromm, Knowlton Twp. Historic Commission
628 Route 94
Columbia, NJ 07832
PO Box 315
Stockton, NJ 08559