Burlington Things to Do

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    St. Mary's Episcopal Churchyard

    by KiKitC Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    St. Mary’s churchyard is the resting place of many prominent citizens of Historic Burlington.

    "The earliest known headstones date from 1706 and 1707, respectively marking the graves of Mary and Edman Steward. Also buried within Bowes Reed, a Revolutionary leader and mayor of Burlington; Joseph Bloomfield, a Revolutionary War officer, mayor and governor of New Jersey; Elias Boudinot, patriot, president of the Continental Congress, and director of the U.S. Mint; William Bradford, Boudinot’s son-in-law and Attorney General of the U.S.; and, several bishops of the Episcopal Church (G. W. Doane, William H. Odenheimer, and Wallace John Gardner). A few distinguished parishioners, such as Colonel Daniel Coxe, and the first rector, John Talbot, were accorded the ancient honor of being buried within Old St. Mary’s Church"
    ---- from St Mary's Parish website

    There are hundreds are graves here, many which have long since become illegible from time and erosion.

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    Visit The Shield Marker

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    Along the Riverbank, west of Wood Street, this marker indicates the site where the ship Shield, bringing new Settlers to Burlington was enveloped in ice.

    On December 10, 1678, the ship “Shield”, came to Burlington and tied up to a large buttonwood tree here. History states the river froze overnight, forcing the passengers to walk ashore across the ice.

    The “Shield” of Stockton was the first ship to navigate the Delaware from the Atlantic to Burlington, setting the stage for Burlington’s eventual emergence as the third largest port in the New World. The rock, with the engraved plaque, marks the spot where the ship was tied and the passengers came ashore.

    There now stands an historical marker on the spot where the ship tied off.

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    Grubb Estate

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    Located at 46 Riverbank, along the Delware, Henry Grubb is said to have built tunnels from the riverbank under their home for the concealment of runaway slaves.

    Grubb not only operated the first tavern in Burlington, but also had business interests in mining and manufacturing. There are two Victorian Style homes on the estate grounds, and included a tannery, a brewery, and a brickyard. It could be possible that the water channels required for such operations may have given rise to rumors of his anti-slavery actions.

    The Grubb Estate stands today as an Underground Railroad site. The estate is currently privately owned.

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    General Grant House

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    General Ulysses S. Grant brought his family here to escape harm during the Civil War.

    "The GENERAL GRANT HOUSE (private), 309 Wood St., is a graceful, two-story shuttered home of yellow stucco with green trim. French windows are upstairs and down, and a delicate wrought-iron rail around the roof of the porch is overhung with wisteria. There is a hospitable expanse of lawn and great shade trees, all enclosed by a green picket fence. To this house General Grant sent his family during the Civil War. He is said to have been in residence there the night Lincoln was assissinated."
    --- New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past, 1939

    In 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant brought his family here to avoid conflict during the Civil War. The family lived here until the war's end in 1865.

    History reads that on April 14, 1865, Grant and his wife declined President Lincoln's invitation to attend a play at the Ford Theatre. That night, Lincoln was shot at the Theatre.

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    Burlington Pharmacy

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    Don't laugh. I'm not suggesting that you go to a pharmacy because you need healing...this is an historic pharmacy. It is the oldest pharmacy in continuous operation in New Jersey.

    This historic pharmacy was built on the corner of High and East Union Streets in Burlington in 1731. The date is proudly incoporated into the side of the building along East Union Street.

    History reads that this building, owned by Quaker William J. Allinson, an ardent abolitionist, was a center of anti-slavery activity. Oral tradition states that Allinson hid slaves in tunnels under the pharmacy as part of the Underground Railroad. Slavery was denounced from the pharmacy doorsteps by poet John Greenleaf Whittier.

    The pharmacy is now run under the Wheatley Burlington Pharmacy Department name.

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    West New Jersey Proprietors Office

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    West Jersey Proprietors Office

    Located on West Broad Street, adjacent to the Kinsey House, this tiny building has a large history.

    "The WEST NEW JERSEY PROPRIETORS OFFICE (not open to public), Broad St. between High and Wood Sts., is a tiny, one-room, red brick building with white trim and a peaked roof. A yard and carriage shed enclosed by a red brick wall adjoin the office. In the gable of the roof is the shield or coat of arms of the Proprietors, a set of balanced scales upheld by a tree. The office contains original documents signed by William Penn. The strange corporation known as the Proprietors of West New Jersey dates back to 1676, when William Penn and his associates divided the Province into two parts for colonization and governement (see HISTORY)."
    --- New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past, 1939

    When Burlington was Capital of West Jersey, The Council of West Jersey Proprietors maintained their records in this tiny office. Many rare and valuable documents are stored here, including The Concessions and Agreements, a frame of Government for the colony of West Jersey written and signed by William Penn and other major landholders in 1676. Many of this documents' principles, such as civil and religious liberties, separate executive and legislative powers, freedom of speech and no deprivation without due process of law, were incorporated into the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

    The original council was responsible for disposition of all acreage within Western NJ. This position, established in 1688, continues to this day.

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    The Friends School

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    Built in 1792, the Friends School (Quaker School) sits on the corner of York and Penn Streets in historic Burlington, New Jersey.

    The Quaker School is a one-room schoolhouse, typical f its era, where the students were taught. Strict discipline was used in the teaching methods, but the Quakers stressed that education is what prepared young people to accept responsibilities of adulthood. Now, the schoolhouse stands as a display of 18th century education and the history of Burlington.

    More recently, this was the site of the original locatin of the Burlington County Chapter of the Red Cross. The school was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The City of Burlington Historical Society placed a time capsule here in 1977, to be opened on Burlington's 400th birthday in 2077.

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    Thomas Revell House

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    Located at 213 Wood Street in Burlington, the Revell House is the oldest building in Burlington County.

    "The THOMAS REVEL HOUSE (private), 8 E. Pearl St., is probably the oldest complete dwelling in Burlington. Erected 1685 by George Hutchinson, it was the office of Thomas Revel, registrar of the Proprietors of West New Jersey and clerkof the assembly from 1696 to 1699. The little house is hidden in one of the poorer sections of the town. It is two stories in height, of brick construction, with gambrel roof and two small dormer windows; one low-ceilinged room is downstairs and a very low ceilinged bedroom is upstairs. Some old china cooking utensils and other odds and ends are kept here. The house is the headquarters of the Annis Stockton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution."
    --- New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past, 1939

    Consructed in 1865 by George Hutchinson, this house is the oldest building in Burlington County, and one of the oldest residences in New Jersey. Thomas Revell purchased the property from Hutchinson and used it as his offices from 1696 to 1699.

    Sometimes called the Gingerbread House, history reads that this is the home where Benjamin Franklin was sold gingerbread and given supper by a friendly Burlington woman on his way to Philadelphia.

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    Library Company of Burlington

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    Still operating on a 1757 charter, the Library at 23 West Union Street in historic Burlington, The Library Company of Burlington is the oldest library in continuous operation in New Jersey.

    "The LIBRARY (open 3-6, 7-9 Tues, Thurs., and Sat.), Union St. between N. High and Wood Sts., one of the oldest in the country, is still operating under a 1757 charter from King George II. The present building, a brownstone and severe in line, dates from 1864. The interior is a single high-ceilinged room encircled by a balcony. Potraits of respected citizens, together with one of King George II, are hung in every available niche."
    --- New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past, 1939

    The Library Company of Burlington founded by Thomas Rodman and John Reading acted as first chief officer. This is the oldest library in continuous operation in New Jersey, and has the distinction of being the seventh oldest in the United States. Built in 1789, it was the first library building in the state and the first library in the U.S. to publish a catalog of books.

    The Library's first patron was William Franklin, son of famous patriot Benjamin Franklin. Original library dues were 10 shilings a year.

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    New St Mary's Church

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    The New St. Mary's Episcopal Church, completed in 1854, stands across the churchyard from the Old St. Mary's founded in 1703.

    "The newer ST. MARY's CHURCH, adjoining, was completed in 1854 from the plans of Richard Upjohn, architect of Trinity Church in New York City. It is a fine, ivy-draped Gothic structure with a towering spire."
    --- New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past, 1939

    By the mid-1800's, the original St Mary's became too small for the congregation. The New St. Mary's Episcopal Church, completed in 1854, was designed by Richard Upjohn, in a Gothic Revival style, and is one of the the earliest cruciform structures in America. The new church was added to the National register of Historic Places on May 31, 1972, and was declared a National Historic Landmark on June 24, 1986.

    The 8 hand-rung carillion bells were cast in London and set in the 160 foot steeple in 1866.

    St. Mary’s churchyard is the resting place of many prominent citizens of Burlington.

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    Old St. Mary's Church

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    Located on the northwest corner of Broad and Wood streets in historic Burlington, Old St. Mary's Church was founded in 1702, making it the oldest Episcopal Church in New Jersey.

    "OLD ST. MARY'S CHURCH (not open to public), NW. corner W. Broad and Wood Sts., built in 1703, is the oldest Episcopal Church building of the State. The congregation, although worshipping in a newer building, uses the communion service presented by Queen Anne. Old St. Mary's is an interesting example of early Georgian Colonial design. Of gray stucco with white trim, it has a slate roof crowned with a stubby, louvred lantern and strange little slotlike transom windows. Today the church is used for Sunday school and special meetings."
    --- New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past, 1939

    Founded in 1702 by Rev. George Keith and Rev. John Talbot, Old S. Mary's Church follows the architecture of the Church of England. Prior to the Revolutionary War, there were many "Americans" that believed that England could and should rule over this territory.

    During the Revolution, this church was headquarters for the American Loyalists. Reverend Jonathan O’Dell of St. Mary’s, who also sympathized with the English, and tried to convince people that King George III was the rightful ruler of America. He was sortly thereafter expulsed.

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    Friends Meeting House

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    This where Quakers have been meeting for 300 years!

    "FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE (open on meeting days), N. High St. between Broad and Union Sts., was erected in 1784 adjacent to the site of the hexagonal structure built by the first settlers in 1683. Quiet and severe, it stands behind a great wall with heavy iron gates deep in the shadow of great trees, one of which, a giant sycamore, was standing in 1677. It is a typical example of the early meeting houses, with double entrances, great windows, and a pitched roof."
    --- New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past, 1939

    This meeting house was built on the site of the original hexagonal meetinghouse used from 1685 to 1785. The original seats and tables from the Revolutionary War are still in use.

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    Capt. James Lawrence House

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    This was the birthplace of Captain James Lawrence, naval war hero of the War of 1812.

    "I. The JAMES LAWRENCE HOUSE (private), 459 High St., gray stucco with white shutter, was the birthplace in 1781 of Capt. James Lawrence. At 16 Lawrence entered the navy as a midshipman on the U.S.S. Ganges. In the War of 1812 he distinguished himself as captain of the sloop-of-war Hornet and was given comman of the frigate Chesapeake. While lying in Boston Roads, the American Ship was challenged by the British frigate Shannon. Lawrence put to sea on June 1, 1813. A terrific broadside was exchanged by the two frigates, with the Chesapeake suffering most severly. Boarders from the Shannon were already on the American vessel when Lawrence, mortally wounded, was carried below. His "Don't give up the ship!" was in vain; the Americans surrendered. Four days later Lawrence died and was buried with honors by the British."
    --- New Jersey, a Guide to Its Present and Past, 1939

    The Lawrence House is one side of a duplex, sharing foundation with the birthplace of James Fenimore Cooper. The duplex is part of the Burlington County Historical Society Complex, and offers displays of mid-1700s living.

    Lawrence gained fame as commander of the U.S.S. Chesapeake, when challenged by Captain Broke of the H.M.S. Shannon. Lawrence, mortally wounded, with the Chesapeake terribly battered, shouted to his men

    “Tell the men to fire faster and not to give up the ship; fight her till she sinks!”.

    “Don’t Give Up the Ship" become the motto of the U.S. Navy and six American vessels have been commissioned in his honor.

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    James Fenimore Cooper House

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    The Cooper House was the birthplace of James Fenimore Cooper.

    "The JAMES FENIMORE COOPER HOUSE (open 3-6 Sun. and first Sat. of each month), 457 S. High St., has stucco walls lined to resemble stones, and shares the characteristics of many other early Burlington homes. Noteworthy are the fine detail of the wood trim and the graceful proportion of the windows. The house, headquarters of the Burlington County Historical Society, contains collections of early documents, pictures, and relics. In this building, rented by his parents, the author of The Leather Stocking Tales was born in 1789. Cooper's connection with Burlington ended a year later when the family moved to New York."
    --- New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past, 1939

    James Fenimore Cooper is probably best known for authoring "The Last of the Mohicans" and other books about the American Wilderness. This residence is one half of a duplex, shared with the birthplace of Capt. James Lawrence. Both residences are part of the Burlington County Historical Society Complex and offer unique historical displays of mid-1700s life.

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    High Street Historic District

    by KiKitC Written May 16, 2009

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    Turn off Route 130 in Burlington onto High Street, and you've just entered the historic district. The High Street District is simply an historic district within an historic district, focusing on the buildings lining High Street. Many of which will be your historical stops on the tour of this towne.

    High Street leads straight to the waterfront...

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