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What to do on a rainy Saturday? Go on a history tour with PNJ!

Completed in 1764 by the East Jersey Proprietors, the Proprietary House is the only remaining official royal governor's mansion still standing in the original thirteen colonies. It was home to William Franklin, New Jersey's last Royal Governor and son of Benjamin Franklin.

As tropical storm Ophelia bore down on the New Jersey, supporters of Preservation New Jersey were warmly welcomed into the extraordinary Proprietary House in Perth Amboy. This four-story brick residence, built in 1761, became the last Royal Governor’s Mansion to be occupied by Loyalist William Franklin (son of America’s founding father Benjamin Franklin.) The incredible history and preservation of the building was amply explained by Mary Ellen Pavlorsky, Lisa Nanton, the Perth Amboy City Historian John Kerry Dyke, and the Assistant City Historian Mel Ramos.

An hour flew by as members toured the Proprietary House, then everyone boarded a luxurious bus that wound its way through historic Perth Amboy. Arriving at St Peter’s Episcopal Church and graveyard, the audience met inside with Priest-In-Charge, Mother Rachel Tyler and listened to the City Historian explain the church’s wonderful interior, and its long history of preservation. First established in 1685, St Peter's is the oldest Episcopal Church in New Jersey and its grounds contain the oldest extant gravestones in New Jersey. It is the resting place for many historic figures including the gravesite of Thomas Mundry Peterson, the first African American to vote in an United States election after the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Skirting the raindrops, everyone re-boarded the bus for a view of the city’s original Market Square and to hear Historian John Dyke’s narrative on the Perth Amboy City Hall that served at one time as the NJ State Capital and which still remains the oldest public building in continual use in the United States. From there it was onto the handsome Kearny Cottage the home of four generations of the Kearny family and the residence of Commodore Lawrence Kearny known as the diplomat who opened relations between the US and China during the 1840’s.

Inside St. Peter's Episcopal Church. This historic church is located at Rector and Gordon Streets in Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey. It is the oldest Episcopal parish in New Jersey and contains the oldest extant gravestone in New Jersey.

PNJ had planned to hold an outdoor networking opportunity at the beautifully restored Perth Amboy – Tottenville Ferry Slip but it was precluded by the weather. All the food and beverages were transferred back to the Proprietary House’s wine cellar and the day ended with additional discussions on history and local preservation efforts.

This free tour was and organized by PNJ’s Programs & Events Committee and sponsored by Middlesex County.

Preservation New Jersey is dedicated to exemplifying the Historic Preservation of New Jersey’s built environment through our commitment to local tours, a virtual series of Q+As with PNJ, peer to peer interaction with preservation commissions, and the empowerment of our annual list of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey. Stay in touch through our newsletter, website, and social media.


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04. 10. 2023
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It was a nice tour, very informative and interesting. Many thanks to Preservation NJ for hosting the tour, excellent presentations and a nice gathering at the close.

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