Restoration and Preservation

Our mission is to Restore, preserve and operate the Kennedy Martin Stelle Farmstead as Farmstead Arts Center (a not-for-profit center for fine, performing and practical arts)

Completion of the restoration and preservation of the Farmstead has been the top priority of the Friends of the Kennedy Martin Stelle Farmstead since 1999.The Friends of the KMS Farmstead board of trustees, volunteers, and members work together to help restore and preserve the Farmstead buildings as well as operate and organize Farmstead Arts Center activities.

Through grants, memberships, and donations, renovation work at the Farmstead began in 2004 and Farmstead Arts Center opened in 2010.The entire site continues as an on-going restoration and preservation project.

The Friends of the Kennedy Martin Stelle Farmstead welcome donations to support our efforts to restore, preserve and maintain our historic buildings and grounds as well as to provide quality concerts, theater, and arts programs.

We are a 501(c)(3) organization. Your tax-deductible contribution helps us continue to thrive. With your support, we keep our facilities running and help perpetuate the arts in our community.

Honors and Awards

2002 New Jersey Register of Historic Places

2003 National Register of Historic Places

2010 The Lorraine Passmore Historic Preservation Award
from the Historic Society of Somerset Hills

2011 New Jersey Historic Preservation Award (highest honors for adaptive re-use of a site)

2014 Somerset County’s Historic Preservation Award

2015 Historic Site Marker erected

2015 The Spirit of Somerset Award

Renovation & Preservation History

When Bernards Township bought the property in 1999 the buildings you see today were in disrepair. Restoration and preservation began in 2004 and is ongoing. There is always more that can be done so that the Kennedy Martin Stelle Farmstead and Farmstead Arts Center can grow and thrive.

1999 Township of Bernard’s Municipal Open Space Tax Funding

Purchase of the 36-acre property (the farm sits on four of these acres) for $3.4 million and initial funds for restoration.
Somerset Historical Society lobbied against township plans to raze the property. A survey of the community showed that residents want a performing arts space in Bernards Township and Somerset County.

2000-2002: Preparation for Restoration and Adaptive Re-Use

Preservation Plan of the Kennedy Martin Stelle Farmstead including architectural and archeological studies
National & State Historic Site Register nomination with the goal of preserving the site and building an arts organization.

2003 –2005 Emergency Preservation Funding from Bernards Township

English Barn: Emergency stabilization including framing repairs/reinforcement, new wood shingle roof, clapboard siding, masonry restoration and painting.
Wagon House: emergency installation of cribbing and protective fence around the structure
Cow Barn: emergency stabilization
Dairy Barn: demolition due to collapse due to snowstorms

2006 – 2009 Garden State Preservation Trust Grant Award:

Farm House: New wood shingle roof, framing repairs/reinforcement, partial reconstruction of historic stone foundation wall, restore clapboard siding, window and door restoration, plaster repairs, new HVAC system, new lavatory, new fire-life-safety systems and the installation of a new ADA barrier-free ramp

2010 New Jersey Historic Trust Award

English Barn: preparation of the interior for public use, including the elevation of two transverse beams that limited use of the west end of the barn

2011 Somerset County Historic Preservation Grant & Garden State Preservation Trust Grant Awards:

English Barn: installation of a concrete slab and partial wood floor; installation of a weather-tight emergency-egress door on the south side of the barn and repair of one of the interior beams.
Farm House: basement structural support for the living room floor, installation of a stone stoop at the south entry door, insulation of the attic, repair and repainting of all windows, repair of the southern exterior door, installation of a door for the A/C closet, and building sidewalks on the north and south side of the Farm House
Well House: complete restoration of the well house
Cow Barn: stabilization of the structure and development of a preservation plan

2013 Somerset County Historic Preservation Grant Award

English Barn: installation of electricity, basic lighting and a security system as well as an ADA ramp.

2013 1772 Foundation: matching grant to paint the English Barn and restore the trim.

2013 Somerset County Historic Preservation Grant Award

Farm House: stabilization of the fireplace in the dining room

2015 Somerset County Historic Preservation Grant

English Barn: installation of a “store front” entrance on the north side, installation of additional basic interior lighting and exterior lights, a walk path to the southwest door and work on the drop stalls.
Farm House: repair and stabilization of the basement steps, repairs to the plaster ceiling in the dining room and kitchen and installation of fire-resistant sheetrock in the closet under the second-floor staircase.
Ice House: installation of a cedar shake roof.

2016 Somerset County Historic Preservation Grant Award

English Barn:  enhanced utilization to and access by stabilizing the storage platform level above the dropped stalls at the east end of the barn.
Cow Barn: stabilization and closure including demolition of the non-historic west aisle, new concrete footings for wood posts, repairs to and reinforcement of surviving heavy timber frame, new wood shingle roof and clapboard siding, including painting, and new doors and windows at the building perimeter.   The foundation was raised to allow sufficient head room inside to walk comfortably.

2018 Somerset County Historic Preservation Grant Award (work to be done in 2019)

Cow Barn: A reinforced cement slab, electricity and a proper egress (door) to make this building suitable for use as a welcome and history center as well as a site to host community events.
Dairy Barn Foundation: adaptive re-use of the area with a terrace the original foundation to provide an outdoor area suitable for small group gatherings and rest areas for those attending events
Access: a walkway between the Cow Barn and the English Barn to improve accessibility as well as two ADA Compliant Parking Spaces near the English Barn and a walkway from this area to the English Barn


Farmstead Arts Center, 450 King George Road, Basking Ridge, New Jersey 07920 | (908) 636 7576


Our office and gallery are open to the public on specified days.
The best way to reach us is by email at
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