The Van Nest-Hoff-Vannatta Farmstead is located on a seven-acre property in Harmony Township, Warren County, New Jersey. The property, which lies along County Route 519, was originally part of a much larger parcel that was acquired in 2001 by the State of New Jersey with Green Acre Funds. The remarkably intact farmstead was listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places in 2005 as a representative illustration of the rural region’s architecture and agricultural practices during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Three of the building are noteworthy individual examples:
– The c. 1824 bank barn, comprised of a frame, six-bay upper level, accessed by an earthen ramp on the north side and a stone lower level or stable facing south, is an outstanding example of the largest of its type as well as of traditional mortise and tenon construction.
– The stone house, which comprises a double-pile, one and a half story main block constructed in the late 18th centiry, perhaps somewhat earlier, and a two-bay east extension dating c. 1810, is a notable example of traditional masonry construction and the region’s early domestic architecture.
– The early 19th century out kitchen is a rare two-story example of its type and, remarkable, retains a cooking fireplace with intact bake oven.
– Five other frame outbuildings on the property of late 19/early 20th century date – three wagon houses with gable entries and flanking corncribs, a smoke house and a privy.
The farmstead exemplifies the region’s largest farmsteads, properties that clearly express the success of their owners.
The original tract of 768 acres was likely settled by John Van Nest around 1763, and subsequently owned by brothers John and Abel Hoff during the early 19th century, followed by William M. Vannatta, who in 1856 acquired the southern half of what was by then a 590-acre tract contain the farmstead, by the right of John Hoff’s will. Vannatta moved to the Italianate-style new house overlooking the farmstead sometime in the 1860s, after which the farmstead was rented to a succession of tenant farmers. These tenant farmers included Jacob Fry in the 1860s, John Koch in the 1930s, Russell Reeder in the 1940s, Shorty Featherman 1945-1960. This practice was continued by his descendants who owned the property until 1960. In 1960 a contract of sale was entered for 289.35 acres with Carl Hartung and his wife Stella Hartung. In 1976 the property was conveyed to Round Valley, Inc., and in 1977 it was conveyed to William and Phyllis McGlynn. They conveyed the 7 acre farmstead parcel to the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.