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The Somerset County Historical Society (SCHS), and its partner Somerset County, are proud to announce that the Howe Farmstead in Franklin Township will undergo extensive restoration and historical preservation work to restore this farmhouse and surrounding property to its past glory. Once completed, the farmstead will serve as an interdisciplinary engagement site that will host local history events, new-age programs and leisure activities. These efforts will recreate the beauty of the original Howe Farmstead in a way that honors its longest residents, Dr. Eugene and Lois Howe, who resided in the farmhouse from 1947 to 2008.
The Howe Farmstead is a historic group of buildings and land nestled inside of Colonial Park. The original farmhouse (c. 1732) is believed to have been constructed and owned by a member of the Van Doren family that owned property in the area. A good example of the eighteenth century Dutch farmhouses found throughout Somerset County, the land surrounding the house also includes a carriage house, hay barn, corn crib, chicken house, hired man’s house, outhouse and well. The original dwelling now serves as the kitchen wing, with a larger two-story farmhouse addition added on c. 1790-1810.
This is the first time a historic property is being restored as an all-original venue for historical and other purposes in this unique fashion, while paying homage to an up-and-coming concept of “socio-history.”
"Socio-history," explains Rikki Lyn Hauss-McCarthy, a trustee of the SCHS, "doesn't disregard the architectural significance of the Howe Farm or other properties. Instead, it fosters a broader focus to include the people that built, preserved and resided on the property and their contributions, as well as the cultural norms of each era that the farm has survived through.”
The SCHS is currently seeking concerned citizens, nonprofit organizations and businesses to provide financial and labor support to renovate and preserve the Howe Farmstead. In taking on this project, the SCHS seeks to build collaborative partnerships dedicated to historic preservation that will ensure the farmstead remains an important fixture of the community for years to come.