Historic Timeline Details

The farmstead’s other buildings date to the 20th century and do not contribute to its architectural significance. The complex underwent extensive renovations as a dairy operation during the first third of the 20th century when William R Codington and his wife Rachel, Oliver Stelle’s great-granddaughter, owed the property. Outbuildings dating to that period include the frame gambrel-roofed dairy barn and concrete silo adjoining the main barn, along with three small frame sheds. Although the dairy barn/silo assemblage is representative of its type, period and construction, subsequent remodeling of the barn, work which encompassed changing the roof profile on one side from gambrel to gable, has compromised its original design integrity and its ability to express the evolution of the farmstead as an early 20th century dairy operation. The three outbuildings contemporary with the dairy barn (equipment shed, work shop and pump house) exhibit little that is distinctive as regards type, period or construction and are insufficient by themselves to evoke the property’s early 20th-century use as a dairy farm. While these buildings are neither individually nor collectively significant, they distract little from the farmstead’s historical character and, in their form, scale and materials, harmonize with its earlier buildings. The farmstead acquired two more outbuildings in the mid 20th century, a small workshop and cottage of concrete block and frame construction, and a number of other changes were made to the complex then and more recently. These undistinguished buildings and alterations have had relatively little negative impact on the farmstead’s overall historical integrity.

Although the property now comprises only a fraction of its historic acreage, enough land remains to convey a sense of its original agricultural character, as do the presence of open fields to the south and west, the riverside meadow on the east and several hedgerows. The latter also provide screening from adjoining modern land uses. The present entrance lane evidently is the historic one, and the linear arrangement and southern orientation of the farmstead along its axis survive intact. Two small, presumably 19th-century outbuildings, located off-site on the north side of the driveway opposite the main barn, help buffer the complex from the modern residential development just to its north. Originally forming part of the farmstead, the two buildings (one of which is a double-crib wagon shed) are now within the boundary of house lot subdivided from the farm some years ago.

Despite the loss of some early fabric to modern alterations and the presence of several non-contributing buildings, the Kennedy–Martin–Stelle Farmstead possesses the historical significance and integrity necessary for listing on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. Significant for its architecture during the period c. 1762-1852 and retaining its integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association, the property clearly meets one National Register eligibility criterion: Criterion C, which references those properties “that embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction.” While the property was in agriculture use from the 18th century until recent years, extant research does not indicate that its agricultural association is sufficiently important to meet Criterion A which addresses the properties that “are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history.” As previously stated, the property is noted for its connection with two 18th-century individuals of some prominence, Rev. Samuel Kennedy and Col. Ephraim Martin, and might be eligible under Criterion B for its “association with the lives of persons significant to our past.” However, additional research and investigation beyond the scope of an historic preservation plan will be necessary to establish significance in this area and confirm that the property’s extant resources date to the period of ownership of either man. Finally, archaeological resources relating to the neighborhood’s 18th and 19th-century material culture may exist in the immediate environs of the farmstead, particularly around the house. Investigation of such resources might establish the property’s eligibility under Criterion D which references properties “that have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.”

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