History of Littell-Lord Farmstead
The Littell-Lord Farmstead, located in Berkeley Heights, Union County, New Jersey, United States, is a pastoral site reminiscent of Union County's agricultural past. It was built around 1760 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 7, 1979. It currently serves as the home and public museum of the Berkeley Heights Historical Society.
The farmhouse was built around 1760 by farmer and weaver Andrew Littell, who lived there with his wife and seven children. It was passed down through the Littell family until it was sold to the Lord family in 1867. Elizabeth Wemett of the Lord family sold the property to Berkeley Heights in 1975.
The farmstead property, all of which is owned by the township of Berkeley Heights, includes the main farmhouse, an adjacent Victorian annex in the Carpenter Gothic style (which served as a schoolhouse in the 1870s), a stone spring house, a summer kitchen, and 18 acres of farm and forest land.
The first floor features an Empire-Victorian parlor and a 19th-century kitchen. A staircase leads to an enlarged second floor, once a small loft. Upstairs is a child’s room containing antique toys and a Victorian bedroom with cottage furniture. The central portion of what is now the Farmhouse Museum was built in 1760. It is believed that the original house consisted of three rooms on the first floor and an open loft above. Andrew, his wife Mary and their seven children resided in this house.
Listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places
Operated by the Historical Society of Berkeley Heights
"A pastoral site comprising a 19th-century Gothic cottage, stone springhouse, summer kitchen, Osage orange trees and a pond, provides the setting for the Littell-Lord House. This charming rural complex is a rare reminder of Union County’s agricultural past. The property was built circa 1760 by Andrew Littell, a farmer and weaver. Although Andrew died in 1790, the property remained in the Littell family’s ownership until 1817, when it went through a succession of owners until the Lord family purchased the farm in 1867. These later owners, including the Lord family, constructed several additions to the house."
-Hands-on replicas of 19th-century toys
-Last remaining stone springhouse in Union County
-Pump house & Corncrib
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December 20, 2022
Historical architects from Connolly & Hickey Historical Architects gave a public presentation to Council during the December 20, 2022 Township Council meeting on work done on the yellow museum building on the Farmstead property, including the bid documents prepared to put the first phase of reconstruction out to bid.
The Township Council on July 19 passed a resolution connected to the renovation of sections of the foundation of the historic Littell-Lord Farmstead in Berkeley Heights. The resolution comes after the Township received a $60,000 grant awarded through the New Jersey Historic Trust in October 2021. Read full story in TAPinto here.
The July 19 resolution sets out pre-qualifications for potential contractors with experience in historical buildings applying to work on the renovations; the focus of work first is the rear kitchen foundation area, which is crumbling. The Township's historical architects from Connolly & Hickey Historical Architects are putting together the bid drawings in a way that gives some flexibility in the bidding. The first priority is the structural work designed by Keast & Hood with the repair of any architectural features (flooring, trim, siding, etc.) directly related to the structural repairs.
Our historical architects from Connolly & Hickey have been working with our structural engineers from Keast & Hood to put together estimates for the next phase of restoration efforts. Connolly & Hickey has prepared bid documents for the Township, which will be addressed at the Township Council meeting on July 19, 2022. The Township will then be authorized to go out to bid for various phases of the stabilization work to be done, which can only be completed by approved vendors proficient in working on historical building.
Meanwhile, Connolly & Hickey is helping the Township submit necessary paperwork as part of our award of the 2021 New Jersey Historic Trust Grant, in the amount of $60,000.
The Historical Preservation Committee is hard at work organizing fundraisers for the continued work; we thank them for their efforts!
The archeology phase of the restoration project was completed. The archeology project was part of Phase 2 of a long-term, six-phase plan to restore the Littell-Lord Farmstead to its glory. The Littell-Lord house, circa 1760 and full of artifacts from the 18th and 19th century, is a glimpse into the past of life as it was in Union County.
Securing a stable and watertight building is critically needed at the site as interior work is not possible until this vital first step is complete. The restoration of a stable foundation and necessary archaeological work needed to be completed in accordance with the procedures and standards of the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office (NJHPO).
The first part of Phase 2 began with the archaeologists from Hunter Research, who provided a “Phase I” Archaeological Survey in support of planning to stabilize and preserve the Littell-Lord farmhouse. The work involved excavation of 4-6 test pits around the foundation of the addition to the house and within its basement. All work was completed in accordance with the procedures and standards of the NJHPO. We have a commitment from the NJHPO that they will work closely with us on this project.
Any artifacts will be processed and cataloged in accordance with the requirements of the NJ State Museum, and will be turned over to the Littell-Lord upon completion. Additionally, a technical report was prepared in accordance with the requirements of the NJHPO following completion of the research, fieldwork and analysis. After conclusion of this work, it was determined by Hunter Research that a Phase III survey was not needed. That Phase III more in-depth survey requires 12 to 14 days of field work and 12 3-foot square excavations in areas where the Phase 1 survey suggested archaeological potential and includes processing and cataloging of artifacts in the same manner as Phase 1 with the addition of research and photography of artifacts. The Phase III report will detail the archaeological investigations, identified features and artifacts and offer a significant interpretation of the archaeology of the site in terms of its history and that of the larger region. The report will include historic maps, a site plan showing test locations, site and artifact photographs, artifact tables, and a summary of subsurface testing data and a catalog of artifacts.
The house eventually may have to be lifted to properly address the decaying foundation. Lifting steel will be installed to support the dwelling. Supporting crib piles will be placed at the existing crawl space and/or grade level while a new foundation is constructed. The footings will be removed and replaced to create a high crawl space under the entire building and reinforced slab throughout.