After a successful move, historic home in Cranbury lives on

Historic house at new site in Cranbury Millstone Park on Oct. 1.
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Historic house at new site in Cranbury Millstone Park on Oct. 1.

A historic house in Cranbury that was saved from demolition was officially moved to its new site at Cranbury Millstone Park.

The Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society (CHPS) on Oct. 1 moved an iconic landmark from 87 Old Trenton Road to Cranbury Millstone Park in order to preserve the home.

“We have professional house movers moving this house. They had to carefully knock out the existing foundation stones, slip one piece of steel in at a time, get it to the right height and support it to get it ready to move,” said Steve Golisano, trustee of CHPS.

The house was carefully moved across the street to the inside of an excavated site at the park.

“One moment of truth was crossing under all the wires. PSEG reconnected all the wires and no one lost service between this whole event,” Golisano said. “We had it set up so that no one lost any power. Within the last couple months, we had to get our final approvals and everything in place for final approvals.”

The CHPS acquired the historical home legally in May of 2019, when Peter Camamis transferred the deed of the historical home to the CHPS in order for them to preserve it on a new piece of land. Camamis had purchased the land where the house had previously stood on from Mildred Scott. He wanted to build a new house on his newly acquired property.

In September 2018, CHPS members found out there was a demolition permit for the historic house.

Two months after finding out the home was to be demolished, the CHPS members voted to move the home after doing more research, according to the Vice President of the CHPS, Audrey Smith.

The house was originally built in 1713. Its site gives a glimpse into the colonization of New Jersey and a direct line to what led to the American Revolution, according to CHPS officials.

The about 800 square foot building, through research, is considered to be either the 34th or 35th oldest building in New Jersey, according to Golisano. The original deed to the land where the house was eventually built, dates back to 1693, which is several years before Cranbury’s first recorded buildings in 1698.

“I am really happy for this town and the historical society. When this is finally set up as a museum, we will have our 18th century museum in the park to go along with our 19th century museum in downtown,” Golisano said.

The efforts involved with the house have been spearheaded by CHPS members Bob Dreyling, Karen Kelley, Bobbie Marlowe, Audrey Smith, William Bunting and Golisano.

Back on Sept. 9, Cranbury Township voted unanimously at a township committee meeting to enter into a ground lease and license agreement with CHPS pertaining to the historic house’s new location at Cranbury Millstone Park.

“There will be some repair work that will be done to touch up what has been aged or damaged. We will then clean up the exterior first and have it look nicer,” Golisano said. “Once we are done with the exterior we will be able to do more work with the interior. Really stripping it down too, and replacing back the features that were originally in the house. We will be able to determine those features as we peel back some more layers that will guide us into the renovation.”

There is a tentative 2-year schedule to renovate the building before it can be opened to the public. Smith said for the restoration some of the work the society feels can be done by volunteers.

“We are pretty sure people are excited for the project and want to pitch in and make this a lasting monument for the town,” Golisano said.

The full video of the the historic house move is available on the Historical and Preservation Society’s Facebook page.

For more information about the historic house and how to help, visit www.cranburyhistory.org.