On October 23, 1682, when he took up a tract of 400 acres, Francis Collins became the first settler within the boundaries of what is today Haddonfield. An English Quaker and a bricklayer by trade, Collins soon built his house, “Mountwell,” but things didn’t really get rolling until 20-year old Elizabeth Haddon arrived in 1701 to establish her father’s claims here. John Haddon was a wealthy businessman from London, a Quaker and friend of William Penn; in 1698 he purchased land in West New Jersey.
In 1702, Elizabeth married John Estaugh, a young Quaker missionary of some renown. In 1713 they built a beautiful brick mansion on what is now Wood Lane. This date of 1713 has been marked by several celebrations in this century as the “founding” date of Haddonfield. As the furthest point inland of navigation on the Cooper River, Haddonfield flourished throughout the 18th century; by the Revolution it was the largest village in the area.
When the Industrial Revolution arrived in the 1800s, Haddonfield mostly took a pass, evolving into a center of distribution of goods to its neighboring regions than as a base for any kind of manufacturing. There were scattered exceptions, most notably in the pottery business (Potter Street) and some tanneries (Tanner Street). But by and large Haddonfield left the heavy industry to the manufacturing centers in Camden and Philadelphia.
The 1900s brought greater development, as Haddonfield evolved from an agricultural village to a fully developed suburban community. Residents recognized early on the value of preserving a village atmosphere. The Haddonfield Historical Society was founded in 1914; its historic district was the second in New Jersey after Cape May.
We will concentrate our walking tour on King’s Highway, the main road through the British colonies that was built wide enough for the King of England. That generous road never needed to be widened to accommodate automobiles or trollies or parking and the result is a shaded “main street” under 200 year old trees as impressive as any in the region...
343 King’s Highway East
John Gill IV was a farmer and landowner in Haddonfield who dabbled in politics and banking. When he became a widower with four children he set his sights on Elizabeth French, a wealthy woman in her mid-40s from up the road in Moorestown. To lure her to Haddonfield Gill tore down the brick house that he had inherited on this property and built this the red brick, center-hall two and a half story Georgian mansion. It was 1841 and that architectural style was decades out of fashion but it resembled the French home. Despite a parade of subsequent owners, including Colonel Alexander Brodie, former Governor of the Territory of Arizona, Greenfield Hall is very much unchanged from its original 1841 appearance. In 1960 it became the headquarters of the Historical Society of Haddonfield.
Samuel Mickle House
343 King’s Highway East
This small plank house from the early 1700s, considered the oldest residence in Haddonfield, was owned by Elizabeth Haddon Estaugh, founder of Haddonfield, for 12 years. The small dormers on the front in the gambrel roof is a very early 18th century style. It was moved from another section of town in 1965 by Historical Society to the site of its headquarters. The exterior front portion, including a heavy batten door, has been restored to original vertical beaded New Jersey cedar boards.
WALK WEST ON KINGS HIGHWAY, STAYING ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE STREET.
Third Methodist Church
301 King’s Highway East
This building with impressive Greek portico was raised by the Methodists in 1857. In 1922, the building, now minus its steeple, was purchased by the Civic Association for town meetings. The Haddon Fortnightly, a civic and social club for women organized in 1894, bought the building in 1931. In 1973 it was placed on both the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places.
Richard Snowden House
265 King’s Highway
This early Victorian house was built in 1844; the distinctive mansard roof and dormers were later additions. The cornice work and early classical dentils and moldings are particularly fine. Richard Snowden was engaged in the pottery business in town.
255 King’s Highway East
Charles Hendry, son of noted physician, Dr. Bowman Hendry built one of the town’s most beautiful, elegant period houses in 1834. A semi-enclosed small porch added on the wing to accommodate a doctor’s office is the only altercation. The doorways are the most noteworthy feature of the house; they are deeply paneled with leaded glass transoms in beautiful diamond and oval designs. It was later occupied by noted writer and publisher James Lane Pennypacker.
Indian King Tavern
233 King’s Highway East
Built in 1750 and named for the local Lenni Lenape Indians, this early American public house and tavern was an important social, political and military stop along the King’s Highway. In 1777, as clashing armies devastated Trenton, the Assembly reconvened in the Indian King to pass legislation officially creating an independent state of New Jersey and adopting its Great Seal. Legend has it that, throughout the 1780s, Dolley Payne -- who later became First Lady Dolley Madison -- was a frequent visitor. In 1903 the three-story brick building became New Jersey’s first State Historic Site.
209 King’s Highway East
During the Revolutionary War the British Army passed under this buttonwood tree when they evacuated Philadelphia June 19, 1778 on their way to Monmouth Courthouse. A second buttonwood tree was failing and was cut down in 1977.
TAKE A FEW STEPS BACK TO FRIENDS STREET AND TURN LEFT.
Friends Meeting House
45 Friends Avenue
This meetinghouse was built in 1851. It replaced the 1721 site which was torn down after a rift in the congregation in 1826 following escalating tensions between elders from the city and the farms. The walls of the Quaker burial ground are said to have been partly built from the bricks of the original building. This meeting house is the oldest church or building used to conduct worship in Haddonfield.
TURN LEFT ON LAKE STREET. TURN RIGHT ON HADDON AVENUE.
Haddonfield Public Library
60 North Haddon Avenue
On March 5, 1803, the Haddonfield Library Company, one of the first in New Jersey, was founded as a subscription library. Users had to pay an annual fee to join, although non-members could use the Library and borrow books at a nominal fee per book. Formed “to extend the benefit of learning and to promote a spirit of literacy,” the Library Company seldom purchased novels because Quakers of that era advised against reading such material. The early years of the Library Company were plagued with financial problems; and the Library had no permanent home. It moved often between the Friends School and various locations around town. In 1887 a second library, the Haddon Athenaeum, was organized. The Athenaeum was also a subscription library; but, unlike the Library Company, it purchased novels. The Athenaeum also had a game room (discontinued because of the noise) and sponsored lectures and educational courses. By 1900, although having fewer books (2150 to 2527), the Athenaeum’s circulation was thirteen times higher than that of the Library Company. In 1908 a merger of the two libraries was proposed. When no agreement was reached, the Athenaeum offered its books and building to the town on the condition that a municipal library be established. The voters overwhelmingly approved this referendum in 1909. The Library Company, although remaining a separate incorporated entity, agreed to place its books in the newly founded public library. Soon outgrowing the Athenaeum building, in 1917 the Library began construction at its present site. Most of the money for the building, jointly owned by the Library, the Library Company, and the Historical Society, was raised by donations. Modeled on Jefferson’s Monticello, the building was not completed until 1919 because of the World War.
TURN AROUND AND WALK BACK DOWN HADDON AVENUE TOWARDS KINGS HIGHWAY.
47 North Haddon Avenue
The values of the Quaker philosophy are reflected in the simplicity of design of this two-story brick school. The Haddonfield Friends School was founded in 1786.
Haddon Fire Company No. 1
15 North Haddon Avenue
On March 8th, 1764, 26 men being among the chief owners of property and heads of families in the village, met in the Friends Meeting House, which at the time was located on the Ferry Road (now Haddon Avenue), and formed the Friendship Fire Company of Haddonfield. Each Member was required to furnish two leather fire buckets and the Company supplied six ladders and fire hooks. Various fines for not keeping the equipment in proper shape or not attending meetings were instituted.
In 1811 there was a reorganization, and the name changed to the “Fire Company of Haddonfield.” The first apparatus was hand drawn, then came the horse drawn vehicle, and finally the motor vehicle. All fire fighting equipment has come a long way since the original organization of the Haddon Fire Company No.1. The apparatus is housed, and the company holds its meetings on the original site of the organization of the company. Haddon Fire Co. No.1 remains to be the second oldest volunteer fire company in continuous services in the United States. The current station was built in 1952.
TURN RIGHT ON KINGS HIGHWAY.
Gibbs Tavern & Smithy
127 King’s Highway East
This building was constructed as a tavern in 1777. Despite its many different uses over the years (the center portion harkens back to its days as a bank), only the first floor has been significantly altered.
King’s Highway East, opposite Chestnut Street
In a ravine carved by the Cooper River east of Grove Street in the northern end of the borough dinosaur bones were discovered in 1838. When a full excavation on the John E. Hopkins farm was initiated by William Parker Foulke in 1858 nearly 50 bones of a plant-eating, duck billed dinosaur were discovered in the dense, slimy and sandy clay. Haddonfield was suddenly famous as the site of the first mostly complete dinosaur skeleton (there was no skull - at that time no dinosaur skull had ever been found) ever unearthed. Ten years later, Hadrosaurus Foulkii became the first dinosaur skeleton to ever be mounted in a museum. In 2003, this 8-ft. tall, 18-ft. long bronze likeness created by sculptor John Giannotti was dedicated.
19 King’s Highway East
This early Episcopal Church was founded and built inn 1842 of native New Jersey ironstone. The church, an excellent example of classic English Gothic architecture, was enlarged in 1891.
CROSS THE STREET AND WALK BACK EAST ON KINGS HIGHWAY.
First Presbyterian Church
20 King’s Highway East
In 1858, the first Presbyterian worship services in Haddonfield were held in the Town Hall. Shortly after, these worshippers presented a petition to the Presbytery of West Jersey to arrange for a regular minister to lead their services. It would not, however, be until 1873 that the first pastor began his ministry in Haddonfield. The present large Gothic church dates to 1906, financed by Henry D. and Mary Moore as a memorial to their son, Gilbert Henry Moore. The three large stained glass windows in the sanctuary were designed and constructed by Tiffany.
First Baptist Church of Haddonfield
124 King’s Highway East
In 1817, Reverend John Sisty began preaching to a small group of Baptists in the Grove School in Haddonfield. At that time there was only one house of worship in the little village, the Quaker Meeting House. The First Baptist Church was organized in the school in 1818 and built its own meeting house the following year on land which is now the Baptist Cemetery. The present church building in the middle of the small business district was erected from 1885-1886 on designs from Isaac Purcell.
232 King’s Highway East
Considered one of the most beautiful early 19th century brick mansions on King’s Highway, thishome was built in 1813 on the site of an earlier frame house. Samuel Reeves completed the western end of the house when he purchased the property in 1835.
242 King’s Highway East
Built in 1928 on designs by Walter William Sharpley, the imposing Neoclassical government building sits far back from the sidewalk and so rests lightly on the Haddonfield streetscape. Built of limestone, the portico is fronted by a quartet of classic columns and pedimented entrance.
Samuel Champion House
250 King’s Highway East
Built by Samuel Champion in 1835, this frame structure spans the period between the end of the Federal era of architecture and the beginning of the Victorian age. Two entrances are very fine with paneled doors and arched fanlights. A one-story addition was erected in Victorian period for an attorney’s office.
The Old Guardhouse
258 King’s Highway East
This two-and-one-half-story structure of gray painted brick, constructed in the 1700s, was connected with the Indian King Inn across the street by an underground passage. Prisoners unfriendly to the American cause during the Revolutionary War were tried by the Council of Safety at the inn and brought to the guardhouse through the tunnel.
Jacob Clement House
264 King’s Highway East
The original front part of this house was built in 1742 but in 1852 Jacob Clement ripped it from its sedate pack of Georgian Colonial neighbors by slicing away the facade, shuffling it over to Potter Street and giving the house a bold new Gothic appearance. Its most outstanding, unusual feature is the front portico, with metal roof and curved detail, painted in the original green and tan broad stripes. Look closely at the sides and rear and you can discern the simple colonial details and original windows.
344 King’s Highway East
John Roberts was an owner of the Indian King Tavern and built this as a farmhouse in 1816. In its nearly 200-years it has been renovated and enlarged into a massive brick mansion that has been home to several prominent Haddonfield residents.
YOU HAVE NOW RETURNED TO THE TOUR STARTING POINT.