From my trip to Burlington, I knew that it was a good sign that the main road into town is High Street. Maybe it comes from the old British custom of calling a community's primary artery 'the high street,' I don't know, but it's brought me luck on the exploring end in South Jersey.
|Burlington County Courthouse. Very stately!|
I was reading the sign that outlines the building's history when I heard a voice behind me.
"You been in there?" I turned to find a woman walking her dog. Uh, no, not yet. It wasn't likely during that visit, either, as the museum wasn't to open until noon. A visit for another day.
"You know, it's haunted!" she said. Come to think of it, I'd heard about that, but ghosts aren't really our interest at Hidden New Jersey. The woman went on to tell me that her daughter claimed her house was haunted, as well. "The ghost ever cause any problems?" I asked. Nope. What's the problem then? Live and let live (or unlive, I guess), I say.
The county courthouse is next door to the prison, conveniently, small but stately with a New Jersey seal and the date 1796 above the door. It was built after the county seat was moved there from Burlington, and it's holding up quite nicely with the years. In fact, some consider its Georgian design to be one of the country's best examples of preserved eighteenth-century architecture.
|Ivan waves from one of the meridian|
markers. I took this picture
from the other.
From there, we walked farther down High Street, following the very helpful historic district directional signs. What to visit next? My curiosity was piqued by the words "Log Cabin." You don't get many chances to visit old log cabins in New Jersey, so we definitely had to check that one out.
|The Shinn-Curtis Log House. Parking in front is reserved|
There's no interpretive signage nearby, nor was there any information in my WPA Guide, so we didn't learn the story of the cabin until we got home. Known as the Shinn Curtis Log House, it was built around 1712 and went through so many additions and build upons that it wasn't really discovered to exist in modern times until the house surrounding it was demolished in 1967. I guess that wasn't entirely unusual back in the day -- we heard a similar story about the Perth Amboy City Hall when we visited last year. In any case, the Curtis family lived there for nearly 150 years, starting in 1802. (You can see a photo of its mid-20th century pre-demolition condition here.)
There's a lot more to our Mount Holly visit, which we'll cover in future posts. Suffice to say, we uncovered a lot!