Saturday, July 10, 2010

Van Veghten House

I had to take some old computer equipment to the Somerset Country recycling center, and the Van Veghten House just down the road happened to be open this afternoon. So my daughter and I hopped on down.

I mentioned the house in my Middlebrook post last year as one of the five homes that served as headquarters for Washington and his generals in the winter of 1778-79. This one was used by Quartermaster Nathanael Greene.

There really isn't much to see in the house. It's mainly used as a library and offices for the Somerset County Historical Society. As I wrote last year, one of its compelling features is the nearly pristine view of the meandering Raritan River (just shutter your eyes to the surrounding industrial park.

Inside the house, the highlight is the main parlor that hosted a dance for General Washington and local dignitaries. General Greene wrote in a letter that his wife danced with Washington "upwards of three hours without seting [sic] down". A copy of that letter hangs on the wall. It's a fascinating read.

This is not really a visitor-ready site (my daughter showed more interest in the recycling center). However, if the Historical Society ever wants to make this a destination, they could build the whole experience around that one letter.

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