1761 Brearley House
Located at the end of the narrow, tree-lined gravel lane known as Meadow Road and situated within Lawrence Township's Maidenhead Meadows Park, the Brearley House is one of the oldest structures in the township. It was built in 1761 by John Brearley II and his son, James Brearley. Successive generations of Brearleys and their descendants lived in the house and farmed the surrounding land until the property was sold off in the early 20th century.
In 1978 Lawrence Township purchased the house and about 60 acres of the surrounding land. In 1979 the house was entered in the National Register of Historic Places. Work to restore the house to how it originally appeared in the 18th century began in 1998 with funding from the Lawrence Historical Society, Lawrence Township and the New Jersey Historic Trust.
The Lawrence Historical Society, which serves as caretaker of the Brearley House, holds regular tours of the house for schoolchildren and the general public. On New Year's Eve, the society hosts its annual Hogmanay Bonfire on the field adjacent to the house. In a Scottish tradition, attendees are invited to "toss" all of the previous year's bad memories into the fire to allow for a fresh start in the new year.
Visitors can also enjoy the surround park land and picnic areas as well as go for a walk along the Brearley-Great Meadow Trail, which leads to the towpath of the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park.
- Hours: Tours of the house are given on the first Saturday of every month and on other special occasions, but hours vary. Check the calendar of events on the Lawrence Historical Society's Web site. The surrounding park grounds and walking path are open daily.
- Handicap Accessible: Wheelchair ramps lead into the house.
- Parking: Free lot
- Wi-Fi: None