c. 1812 – Califon, NJ

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Added to OHD on 9/5/14   -   Last OHD Update: 12/28/20   -   28 Comments

463 Route 513 Califon NJ 07830

Maps: Street | Aerial

  • $475,000
  • 2 Bed
  • 2.5 Bath
  • 2600 Sq Ft
  • 47 Ac.
"FARM, RANCH, ESTATE, 47 ACRES ADJOINING CALIFON/ROUTE # 513 ONE OF A KIND VIEW LOCATION! CIRCA 1812 COLONIAL FARMHOUSE, 2 car detached garage, detached stone boiler house. The Main House is in need of major renovation, garage will need some TLC! Small stone building houses the wood burning boiler, which is the main heating system for the dwelling. The Home sits back approximatelyh 1/4 mile from the roadway, and the front field is currently farmed. PROPERTY is in a good location and offers the opportunity to own a large parcel of property and restore the house, or discard and build new. Property is located in the Highlands Area.
Contact Information
Eva Burrell, Weichert
(866) 374-5110
Links, Photos & Additional Info

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28 Comments on c. 1812 – Califon, NJ

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  1. Melissa says: 234 comments

    Dear God, please help me because I want this poor, broken house.

  2. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12819 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    “…or discard and build new…” I hope this doesn’t happen.

  3. Mark says: 143 comments

    Somehow tear down seems less offensive than “discard”

    Could definitely be restored to a very nice place. I expected a little more in the mantel details. It’s quite modest.
    Nice land buffer from the road, although the extended view is actually of two mcmansions across the road.

  4. Jim says: 5774 comments

    There must be some restriction on the property – almost 50 acres in this area would usually go for millions.

  5. Sage says: 49 comments

    Holy unfinished wood! I’m dying! I was bracing myself for the worst based on the exterior but there is a lot to work with inside. There is something slightly creepy about the place though…

  6. Laurie says: 1685 comments

    Discard! Lot of work but it’s a very pretty farmhouse, though its condition is a little frightening. It has had some remodeling in its past — the stairway & front door don’t look 1812 to me. Knowing nothing about this part of NJ, I wonder too why 47 acres are priced so low.

  7. Jen Sheppard says: 13 comments

    I live in the next town over from Califon but I don’t recognize this house. To answer why the amount of acreage doesn’t seem in sync with the price is because said acreage is likely preserved farmland, so, in other words, that land forever remains just that: LAND. No builders coming in and building crappy strip malls, etc. This is in northwest NJ, and whereas it’s not truly rural (there are Starbucks nearby!), I like to call it “subural,” a combo of rural and suburban. It’s actually quite beautiful, many historic homes, cottages, lots of original fieldstone and, you guessed it, plenty of land! Even in rough shape, she’s still a beauty!

    • Jim says: 5774 comments

      Jen, this property doesn’t show up on current maps as preserved or protected farmland and it’s not mentioned in the listing which would be standard procedure. There’s likely some restriction as I said, but we don’t know what it is. Farmland protection is great for the land, but creates an attractive estate lot to allow someone to knock this house down and build a MacMansion with horses.

      • Jen says: 13 comments

        Hmmm, now you’ve really peaked my interest. I’m going to have to go look at the house as I know where it is, just never saw it since it’s back from the road and apparently obstructed by corn!

    • Maria says: 2 comments

      Now that’s what I consider the best of both worlds…“Subural” !
      Nature, Privacy, Old House Potential and a Starbucks within a short distance…Awesome!

  8. Laurie says: 1685 comments

    Jen, I’d love to know what you find if you do take a look at the house. Take a camera with you!! And anything else you discover about it — please report! Thanks. This is one of my favorites Kelly’s ever put up.

  9. Jen Sheppard says: 13 comments

    OK, I just showed my husband the property (online, haven’t gone in person yet!), and he said too that, as per the listing, the house and property are located in the Highlands Area. The Highlands Act is a restriction on building on the land in general. The property might not be designated preserved farmland or “green acres property” but the HA may prevent any further development of the land beyond its current use, a.k.a the house and existing land that is currently farmed. I’m originally from northeast NJ, about 7 miles from New York City, so land like this is new to me! We didn’t have any land to worry about being developed there! My husband said the land acts out here are “quite complicated.” So it seems!

    • Jim says: 5774 comments

      Jen, the Highlands Act is a regional planning initiative that covers 7 counties, but doesn’t directly prohibit anything. Local zoning here (Lebanon Twp – RC zone) allows large lots of 7.5 acres. The owner of the property owns other preserved farmland, and this may be in the process. http://ecode360.com/6918619
      There’s a 1000 foot driveway to the house, so the homes across the road are a quarter mile away – http://goo.gl/maps/Xee7z The property runs about 400 feet left and 500 feet right of the driveway (not including the little house to the right) and is over 2000 feet deep.
      There’s a pond on the property and woods behind the house going uphill. Just up the road is an orchard and farmstand: http://www.melickstownfarm.com/
      In the other direction is a cemetery and the church at the edge of the little borough of Califon, mostly a historic district but with some civilization like a supermarket.
      Generally speaking, this area can support properties improved into the millions of dollars. Even if protected, one could build a barn, garage and other accessory structures, and expand the house as desired. If the house were restored or simply renovated, the owner would probably get all his money back. The market here demands modern high-end creature comforts, so an authentic restoration with an outhouse and woodburning kitchen stove isn’t going to be enough for resale.

  10. Betsy says: 157 comments

    The setting is spectacular- private & rural, will remain so and yet close to everything.
    The house is much nicer than I expected.

  11. John Shiflet says: 5931 comments

    Without reserve I can say the house looks pre-Civil War era but not sure I’m seeing an early Federal era house in the details. The staircase and newel looks from the 1830’s-1840’s but could be a bit earlier. Wider floorboards were a characteristic of 18th century and early 19th century homes but in some regions wider boards remained available for much of the 19th century. The timber frame construction was also in use to the years just before the Civil War in some regions. Regardless of the exact date, I concur the house has possibilities.

    • Jim says: 5774 comments

      John, the history supports a construction date around 1830 also. In 1873 the house and a couple hundred acres were owned by an old man named George Neighbor (Beers Atlas). This George Neighbor (1789-1874) was in the town, then known as Lower Valley, by the 1830 census. His great grandfather Johann Leonhard Nachbar (1698-1766) immigrated in 1738 to Philadelphia and settled at fertile German Valley along the South Branch of the Raritan, and the family remained there for generations. In 1829 Leonard Neighbor lll (1764-1854) sold his farm to 2 of his younger sons who built substantial houses there that are on the National Register. Leonard’s 2 older sons David and George moved a few miles downstream to Lower Valley, which later was called California and then shortened to Califon (by drunken sign painters legend has it). More research is needed, but it appears this house was built by George Neighbor after 1830, possibly incorporating an earlier structure.

  12. John Shiflet says: 5931 comments

    Thanks, Jim. You always come up with some very good historical information. Trying to date houses based on the visual architectural evidence is never an acceptable substitute for careful historical research. I agree with your assessment that an earlier structure might be incorporated within the possible 1830’s changes. We know that home remodeling was around way before 1960 and was very popular throughout the 19th century. This old house seems to have had a long and rich history-I only hope that the next owners honor and respect that. (no tear-downs, please!)

  13. Jim says: 5774 comments

    John, I think we need BOTH historical and visual analysis, and a lot more than we’ve done here. I’m not completely happy with an 1830’s date since this house looks later than 1830 to me on the exterior, especially in comparison to the 2 brothers’ homes which are proven 1830’s vintage. Obviously it’s possible there were 2 or 3 building phases. George was apparently the more frugal of the brothers. Another brother David served in Congress and lived down the street – his house across from the church is gone.
    Leonard Neighbor House:
    J.W. Neighbor House:

  14. Jen Sheppard says: 13 comments

    Wonderful historic information Jim. Yes, the area here is bucolic, yet still has civilization. I live in Long Valley, just shy of 5 miles from this home and property. There are the newly-built mansions yes, but this area does support older homes such as this. My home itself has a tricky history, with so many dates thrown around we have no idea how old she truly is. Where I’m from originally, a home like this would be torn down and a McMansion built without hesitation. Out here, even if homes fall into beyond disrepair, many stay where they fell and become glorious ruins. I’ve photographed many of them. I hope that a buyer comes along who can bring this home back to her former glory, of course with needed modernization but also respective of her charms. An aside, I believe the Neighbor family Jim spoke of lent its name in whatever way to a bed & breakfast on the same street as this house. I believe it’s called The Neighbor House and it’s also a beauty.

    • Jim says: 5774 comments

      Thanks Jen. I grew up in the NJ burbs and worked in Morris Co. for years. I remember driving around the Long Valley area 40 years ago and seeing lots of open fields and old houses before most of the subdivisions went in, and I recall more than one time I was shocked to hear the high prices folks were asking for land even then. Out here?! This property reminds me that there are still a few places that haven’t been parceled out.
      I have a theory about why most folks in NJ don’t care about old houses and history. Most Jerseyites are from families that came to America after the Civil War, some much later. Growing up, a lot of my friends still had living grandmothers that remembered the “old country” and when they talked about olden days and history, it wasn’t America they were talking about. Besides hearing about Washington and Lincoln in school, they have no connection with American history and no appreciation for the historic places and artifacts that are all around. In other areas where family roots are deeper, you’re going to get a lot more resistance to tearing down somebody’s great grandma’s house I think. I worked with some builders in NJ that would knock down Mount Vernon to build some pricey waterfront condos if they could get away with it.
      When I was reading an old book about this Nachbar being one of the first settlers in Long Valley in 1749, it mentioned another guy there at the time named Johann Peter Scharfenstein, my 7th great grandfather. The place was called German Valley for over 150 years until anti-German feelings in World War 1 caused the name change.
      The B&B is the JW Neighbor house above, quite a bit fancier than this house: http://www.neighbourhouse.com/

  15. George says: 17 comments

    I live in Hunterdon County in an 1868 Italianate house and have been in many old houses in the area so I would like to take a crack at proposing a date for this one. I think there is no question that there is an earlier Federal Period house incorporated into the present structure. I have seen numerous examples of the configuration of winder stair leading up, another next to it leading down to the basement level with a modest wooden panel above the doorway, and a large fireplace to the side in many late 18th and early 19th century houses in the area. The Shippen House on River Road in Flemington is one such example. I have never seen this configuration in any early Victorian house though, it having fallen out of fashion by then, so this house was certainly added to. While my own house has some similarities with the later interior details here: wide pine floors, the front door transom and sidelight configuration, high baseboard moldings and thick window surrounds with six over six sashes and panels beneath in the first floor rooms, I think this is just slightly earlier than the Italianate of the Civil War era, given that the doors have thumb latches and not rim locks, the staircase spindles have no turnings, and the two vertical panels in the interior doors all seem more 1830’s-1850’s. I don’t think much more time elapsed though before the dormer and rounded window were added, some rim locks appeared, the porch was added, and most of the six over six sashes disappeared.

    • Jim says: 5774 comments

      George, with the later stairs and the altered fireplace I wasn’t sure what I was seeing, but if that’s a Jersey Winder as you think, obviously this house has earlier roots. I also just noticed that the facade isn’t completely regular, so maybe it was expanded from 3 bays to 5 bays during the upgrade.

      • Mark says: 143 comments

        Where do all the build dates come from? I can see 1820 as an estimate an I appreciate that Jim has local data to support it.
        In the real estate listing it says 1820 and then a few lines later it says 1812. That’s a very specific date if they’re just estimating.

        I can also see that a simple earlier home added on to around 1820, and then substantially updated somewhere around 1850-1860.

        • Jim says: 5774 comments

          Mark, I don’t trust build dates for old homes much at all. For the most part if a house is more than 50 years old it doesn’t matter to appraisers or assessors whether it’s 1900 or 1800, and no research is done on dates found in tax records. Realtors will just put in any date they get from an owner – sometimes it’s based on research, mostly just hearsay.

  16. John Shiflet says: 5931 comments

    Excellent comments, George. The concept of restoring and keeping an old house to “period” is relatively new outside of major historical landmarks. In the past, to meet the dwellers needs, changes and additions were made with little to no thought given about the home’s original period. Remodeling was alive and well in the 1830’s.

  17. says: 36 comments

    Good heavens! That stone fireplace with the wee wood stove crouched in it like a little black spider! Totally lovely! Oh, to have deep pockets and time……

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