Medford to Mount Laurel New Jersey Driving Tour
This tour is a work in progress, and more entries will be added soon.
The Haines family put an indelible mark on the Medford area through substantial land ownership, home building, farming, watershed control, hydro-powered milling, and several cultural endeavors. Richard Haines received a land grant from the Duke of York (later King James II) in the 1680s, leading to Richard's son, John, building a historic farmstead home in 1690. John's grandson, Jonathan, built the home on Union Street in 1760 and his son, Issac, developed the Haines family mill that served the family until the 1860s, and southern New Jersey until the 1960s.
Constructed in 1826, this was the home of Dr. George Haines was Medford's first registered physician. Part of the influential Haines family, George Haines helped organize the County Agricultural Society and a local bank. In addition, evidence strongly suggests his house functioned as a stop on Underground Railroad. Haines, a Quaker and abolitionist, was a member of the Haines family who settled the Medford area in the 1680s. The family has historical structures throughout the greater Medford area. However, Dr. Haines' house not only exists among the many Haines homes, but of several homes in Burlington County that functioned as safe havens for enslaved persons who were attempting to escape to freedom.
The Ballinger family built this Sears Roebuck House in 1911. From 1908 -1940, Sears, Roebuck & Co. offered Modern Homes where customers could purchase a pre-cut home-building kit from a mail-order catalog. Customers could choose the base kit for a flat price or choose to reverse floor plans or add dormers. Modern conveniences, like electricity and indoor plumbing, were also options. Families no longer needed a team of skilled carpenters with Sears' "balloon style" framing; one carpenter could construct the house in less time than a traditional project. With Modern Homes, people could purchase and fully customize, if wanted, the perfect home for their family.
Built in 1775, this home stands as one of the many Medford structures built by a member of the Haines family, whose roots in the area date back to the late seventeenth century. Nehemiah Haines constructed the home for his son Charles, very near the Haines Mill (later Kirby's Mill and now home to the Medford Historical Society). The Haines family owned thousands of acres of land and controlled much of the area's watershed. The family also built a dam and operated mills that helped them build wealth and influence. Both for the Haines family and the Kirby Family, who purchased the mill property in 1877, this structure served as a home for those working at the mill. For this reason, the building was known as "Miller's House."
The Medford Historical Society is housed in the historic Kirby's Mill, which was built in 1778 by Isaac Haines and his partners. Issac was the great-grandson of John Haines, who built the historic farmstead house in 1690, which survives as a historical landmark in Medford. The Haines family had a huge impact on the development of Medford and much of Burlington County. The family sold the mill to William S. Kirby in 1877. It has been restored to its early appearance and efforts are ongoing to make it a functioning mill once again. The Haines family used the mill site to produce flour and gun powder for the Continental army and then turned the mill into the most successful commercial operation in the county, adding to the wealth and influence of the Haines family. It served as New Jersey's last operating hydro-powered mill when it transitioned to electricity in 1961.
In 1682, the Duke of York (later King James II) granted land in New Jersey to Richard Haines where his son, John, built the historic house in roughly 1688 to 1690. The Haines family owned the property until 1911 and during that time established themselves as profoundly influential family. For the first few decades, the family primarily thrived as farmers, but the development of a mill site in the 1778 brought the family even greater prominence. All told the family owned thousands of acres of land, built businesses, served prominent roles in schools and Quaker meetinghouses, and otherwise had a huge impact -- culturally, economically, political, and environmentally -- in Burlington County for centuries.
This was the site of an 18th-century mill and plantation that was established by some of the original settlers of what is now Lumberton. The Eayre family arrived around the turn of the eighteenth century, and the remains of the mill they established represent the area's first industry. With the exception of a mere handful of houses of later periods, the Eayres Plantation and Mill stand as the only surviving structures of the former Eayrestown which was the first sustained settlement of the area. The second house constructed by Richard Eayre in 1715 stands as the oldest in the township, as well as all of southern New Jersey. The two homes are exemplary one-room deep, vernacular Georgian residences, typical for western New Jersey Quakers. The Eayre family divided its property with each generation of sons, allowing them to remain on the property for more than two centuries.
Located in Lumberton, NJ, the Air Victory Museum celebrates military aviation technology and the men and women who have worked in the industry and served the country in the armed forces. Its mission is to educate and inspire youth. The museum contains numerous aircraft, engines, uniforms, ordinance, and memorabilia. Aircraft include an A-4C Skyhawk flown with the Blue Angels, an F-4 Phantom, and a 1903 Flyer replica. There is also a wind tunnel built under the supervision of the Wright Brothers. Additionally, there are models of military vehicles and aircraft, and captured German and Japanese technology. The museum also features a library.
The Jacob's Chapel property includes the chapel constructed at the conclusion of the Civil War, a historic graveyard, and the congregation's original meeting house and school built in 1840. The property stands as a monument to Colemantown, an African American town created mainly by freed slaves, and the creation of the American Methodist Episcopal denomination that served Philadelphia and Baltimore Black churches. In addition to serving the Black community, the church existed as part of the Underground Railroad and, during the twentieth century, was a principal player in two landmark real-estate court cases that ostensibly worked to stop exclusive residential zoning laws. After a period of vacancy, Jacob's Chapel has been renovated and again serves the community as a member of the A.M.E.
Farmer's Hall opened its doors to a Mount Laurel in 1866, six years before the village formally incorporated as a city. The Farmer's Protective Club built and operated the building until 1904 before the town took over and used it as its Town Hall until 1969. But, over the entire span, from 1866 to 1969, it served the town in various ways, from meetings and political events to social occasions. Both the police and post office used the building for a time, too. Its current occupant, the Mount Laurel Historical Society, organized in 1972 with the goal of saving Farmer's Hall from demolition. The building's architecture speaks to its original Quaker builders, with a simple design that differed from many of the ornate structures emerging in the wake of the Civil War.
Constructed in 1760, Evesham Friends Meeting House serves as a reminder of the influence of Quakers in Evesham and Mount Laurel's history. The roots of this meetinghouse can be traced back to English immigrant Thomas Eves who purchased a large tract of land that he sold in 1693 to his daughter Elizabeth Hanke and her husband, William Evans, a Quaker Minister. The simple architecture speaks to the Quaker faith and the culture they produced. The meeting house also has a small part in military history as General Clinton and his British troops camped on the property one night after vacating Philadelphia on their way to a battle with George Washington's troops.