The New Jersey Dames own and maintain two museum properties in Burlington County. Both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Peachfield is a restored country home that was originally built in 1725, with an addition erected on the west side on the home completed in 1732. The name “Peachfield” comes from the property’s first settler, John Skene, the first Freemason resident on record in the colonies. Upon Skene’s death, Henry Burr purchased the property in 1695 and built the east portion of the home in 1725. His son John Burr built the west portion in 1732. The home remained in the Burr family for 200 years.
In 1931, Norman and Miriam Harker purchased Peachfield. The house had virtually been destroyed by fire two years earlier. They engaged the services of R. Brognard Oakie, a well-known Philadelphia architect, to restore the home. Three years prior to her death in 1965, Mrs. Harker bequeathed Peachfield and its surrounding 120 acres of land to the New Jersey Dames.
Now used as the society’s state headquarters, the New Jersey Dames have honored Mrs. Harker’s wish to keep the property as it “always has been,” and have maintained Peachfield as a house museum. Surrounding farm lands adjacent to the house are still farmed as they have been for more than 200 years. The house museum is open to the public for tours by appointment and for public programs (See Events page). Peachfield is also available to young people for school and scout programs. Please call for details.
The Old Schoolhouse
Built in 1759, the Old Schoolhouse is recognized as the oldest surviving one-room schoolhouse in the state of New Jersey on its original foundation. Located on the south side of Brainerd Street in Mount Holly, the Old Schoolhouse was built through the efforts of 21 local citizens, who each bought 25 shares to buy land and build a schoolhouse. For the next half-century, the school was maintained by the original founders, and their descendants.
In 1815, the school was deeded to the Female Benevolent Society. The group proposed to teach “in a public school, all the poor children of Mount Holly and its vicinity gratis.” In the ensuing years, many, many local children received their education in the school. After the state established free public schools in 1848, the Old Schoolhouse was used as a private school and other educational purposes. In 1951, the Female Benevolent Society turned the building over to the New Jersey Dames for preservation and restoration.
Today, the Old Schoolhouse is open to the public on selected days and by appointment. Visitors experience life in an 18th century school setting. Costumed docents conduct class trips, tours and education workshops to interested members of the public.