Best of Friends

Friends of Ramsaysburg

The Ramsaysburg Homestead is a historical park where twelve wooded acres along the Delaware River are leased by the Township of Knowlton from the State of New Jersey Green Acres program. The property and the structures on it are the remains of a fifty-acre tract settled in 1795 by Irish immigrants James and Adam Ramsay in what was then New Jersey’s northwestern frontier. The buildings that you see here — a tavern, barn, cottage, smokehouse and shed — were built from 1800 to 1870 and represent the activity that occurred at the homestead during its heyday. Although they’ve seen their share of abuse and neglect, the remaining structures are relatively true to their original form and are irreplaceable. They have survived flood and fire, as well as demolition in our modern era of fast-paced real estate development.

Saving Ramsaysburg required generous state, county and local funding to stabilize the buildings, as well as extensive research to support listing the site on the New Jersey and the National Register of Historic Places. Under the guidance of the Knowlton Township Historic Commission, the remaining buildings have undergone major structural stabilization, all in proper historical context, as well as restored roofing, windows, doors and siding. The riverbank has been enhanced with native plantings and removal of invasive species in order to minimize erosion and provide better food supplies for river aquatic life. An interpretive nature trail through the wooded portions of the property has been completed along with a stone border wall behind the tavern. A spacious wooded area between the barn and the Delaware River has been converted to a natural amphitheater, providing ample lawn seating with stunning views of both of the barn and the river.

Classical performace at the Ramsaysburg barn

Ramsaysburg has been host for a series of annual events including the Memorial Day picnic, the Riverside Fall Festival and Christmas in the Country. Organized Plein Air painting sessions at Ramsaysburg are also popular with area artists. For the past six years, Ramsaysburg has presented a seasonal series of Concerts at the Barn, host to world-class classical and jazz artists as well as popular music talent.

Funding is in place and planning has begun for the final phases of renovation that will make Ramsaysburg a fully functional site for a wide range of public activities. The next chapters in the Ramsaysburg story will be created mainly through the efforts of The Friends of Ramsaysburg, a non-profit organization responsible for implementing the organization’s exhaustive, long-range Interpretive Plan, which presents broad visions for Ramsaysburg’s future pertaining to heritage tourism, education, recreation, arts and culture.

Without the tavern, barn, tenant house, smokehouse and other structures, the property at Ramsaysburg would be just another bucolic greenway along the banks of the Delaware River. With the structures stabilized, preserved and recycled with adaptive new arts and culture uses, these structures will bring life and meaning to both the site and its river-trade history. Visitors exploring the site can experience the cultural changes wrought by the extraordinary confluence of river, railroad and highway innovations. The site also provides links to the area’s abundant cultural resources to be found in historic villages and along scenic byways.

Ramsaysburg is located at the intersection of Ramseyburg Road and Route 46, east of the village of Delaware. Find out more or check upcoming schedules at the website or follow on Facebook and Instagram. Or call 908/496-4816.

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This story was first published: Spring, 2021
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