Stepping back in time: Seven homes featured this year in Highstown-East Windsor Historical society House Tour


The Hightstown-East Windsor Historical Society will host its biennial House Tour, “A Step Back in Time,” from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23. This year’s tour includes seven historic houses dating back to the 1800s. All of the houses have been preserved, refurbished or renovated, and represent a variety of styles representative of New Jersey history. Antique cars will be at each of the homes.
Pre-sale tickets for this event will be $20 and available after Labor Day at Perennial Home, 119 W. Ward Street, Hightstown. The day of tour tickets will be $25 sold at the society headquarters, 164 North Main St. Hightstown.
One of the highlights of the tour is the restored Augustus T. Skillman House, 208 Stockton Street, Hightstown, built circa 1889. Augustus was a tinsmith by trade, selling stoves and tinware.
After having served as a private residence from the mid-1890s through the 1930s, the property later operated as a doctor’s office and an optometrist’s office. Partitioned rooms and false walls were removed to open the house up to its original grandeur. The kitchen has been outfitted into what previously served as the main examining room of the medical office.
The Queen Anne style home with Eastlake detailing has been entirely refinished with the exterior cedar shingles restored and painted. The porch was entirely rebuilt with railings built to the exact replicas of the original. The porch flooring is mahogany and the ceiling is yellow pine.
Gorgeous stained glass door inserts were found in pieces in the attic. The panels were reconstructed and installed in the inner vestibule doors. The oak and walnut flooring seen throughout the entire first floor is newly installed with each room having a different design element. The first floor chestnut moldings were stripped and refinished, including the staircase and functional pocket doors. Hand-stenciled walls in both front parlors and original marble fireplaces are not to be missed.
There is a beautiful coffered ceiling made of quarter-sawn oak in the family room. Walls were removed creating a large functional kitchen incorporating marble counter tops, soapstone sinks, and gorgeous wood free-standing pieces.
This house demonstrates what creativity and respect for already existing resources can produce — a masterpiece of simplicity and beauty.
For more information, contact Shirley Olsen, publicity chairman and chairman of the Hightstown East Windsor Historical Society House Tour at 609-448-8388 or 609-273-2166.