Local History

FACTS AT A GLANCE

    • Located in Bernards Township, New Jersey (which contains the localities of Basking Ridge, Liberty Corner and Lyons)
    • Settled by immigrants from Scotland and Northern Ireland
    • First 3,000 acres purchased from Lenni Lenape Indians in 1717
    • During the Revolution, General Washington visited Lord Stirling's estate
    • William Annin lodged Lafayette's troops in his house
    • Basking Ridge Military Hospital treated wounded soldiers
    • Thirty five veterans of the Revolution were buried under the oak tree in front of the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church
    • Last slave in Basking Ridge was Nathan Woodward (died in 1901)
    • Railroad arrived in 1872, brought visitors to experience country air
    • By an act of Congress in 1926, the US Veterans Medical Center at Lyons was created and opened in 1931.
 

BASKING RIDGE HISTORIC SITES

THE BIG OAK TREE

Originally situated in the graveyard of the Presbyterian Church, this 600 year old white oak tree was a site where George Washington supposedly picnicked in the late 1770's.  Unfortunately this oak tree had to be cut down in 2017.

BRICK ACADEMY

Built in 1809 as the Basking Ridge Classical School, its function was to prepare young men for the College of New Jersey, otherwise known as Princeton University. It has also served as a public school, a union hall, and a town hall. It now serves as a historic museum for Basking Ridge.

THE VAN DORN MILL

Built in 1768 as a wooden structure, it was rebuilt in 1843 as the finest stone structure in New Jersey. Thousands of stones were hauled from the hedgerows of nearby farms. Builders were paid one dollar per day to build the stone mill. Altogether this amounted to $5,000, a large amount of money in the 1800's. However, the mill paid for itself in the first year of operation.

THE BASKING RIDGE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

This Greek Revival church was built in 1839 and is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

OTHER NEARBY HISTORIC PLACES