Second Empire – Hillsborough, NJ – $395,000

For Sale
Status, price and other details may not be current and must be independently verified.
OHD does not represent this home, contact the agent as listed below.
Added to OHD on 2/7/19   -   Last OHD Update: 2/7/19   -   30 Comments
751 River Rd, Hillsborough, NJ 08844

Map: Street











Opportunity for buyer(s) with vision to restore the charm and luster to this turn of century estate situated on 3+ acres, featuring 25 rooms, 11 bedrooms, 7 baths, dual furnaces. More than 8,000 s.f. 3-bay garage, full walkout basement with loads of storage space and entertainment wing. All offers encouraged and will be considered in this order: Not for profit, Owner-Occupants, and Investors. Earnest money deposit 3% of purchase price or $1,000 whichever is greater. Property sold as-is. Buyer is responsible for all inspections, repairs, certifications to close.
Contact Details
Patricia Barksdale, Coldwell Banker
(908) 874-8421
Links, Photos & Additional Info

30 Comments on Second Empire – Hillsborough, NJ – $395,000

OHD does not represent homes on this site. Contact the agent listed for details including current price and status.
  1. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 9652 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Poor thing! But this could one day be a “HONEY! STOP THE CAR!” kind of stunner!

    • jeff myers says: 49 comments

      I agree. It would be a huge undertaking, but once the rind is peeled off this would be a heck of an imposing home.

  2. JimHJimH says: 3899 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Ellesdale Manor. Originally the Veghte farm; possibly they built the house before politician William J. Keys bought it in 1884. Later owned by the famous millionaire Diamond Jim Brady.

  3. MonChiChiPox says: 228 comments

    Looks like my brother’s house that took him eight years and elevenseventybillion dollars to restore. Even in this condition though it is beautiful.

  4. Rhea K says: 26 comments

    Wheres rest of the pictures? I was looking forward to going through the entire house, living, dining, kitchen, bedrooms, baths.

  5. RossRoss says: 2354 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    Ahhhhh, my kind of house: Once fabulous, now faded and abused.

    The house is an hour from NYC. If I worked in the city, I would SOOOOOOO snap up this huge pile, and then move into a studio apartment in the city.

    The best of both worlds.

  6. peeweebcpeeweebc says: 761 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1885 Italianate.

    Holy cow that’s quite an impressive background on this old gal. Can always count on OHD members to dig up more info on a home 🙂

  7. Joe says: 577 comments

    -This one reminds me so much of a previous listing, Balloon Farm:

    • realdaddrealdadd says: 37 comments
      second empire frankfort, NY

      same here!
      BUT! Balloon farm in much better condition, and the price was almost 100k only, the difference of property tax almost 11k, Balloon Farm was like a dream deal, i am very lucky it ended with me…

      • Joe says: 577 comments

        Have you started working on Balloon Farm? It would be great if you posted pictures here, both as you make progress and as you discover details that didn’t make the listing. If you have a web site started, post that address here for all of us who really like the place.

      • Joe says: 577 comments

        -I went back again and looked at the pictures of Balloon Farm, and although it looks more livable, the listing pictures don’t allow us to see how much of the original detailing is in it. I hope that the original stair rail and balusters remain under the boxy rail shown in the listing for Balloon Farm. Have you looked?
        -This one shows loads of very fine detailing intact, although in need of work. For me the work, and figuring out how to restore it, is the point of buying an old house.

        • realdaddrealdadd says: 37 comments
          second empire frankfort, NY

          Hey Joe, i did not move in yet, my contractor is doing maintenance to the roof, upgrade electrical for safety , replace the missing copper pipes in the basement, some maintenance to water heater and boiler, it was all small thing, unlike what we heard of some negative comments during the listing for who did checked it out… first floor is already ready to move in! first floor already so huge and magnificent !
          re the stair rail, i have a plan to remove the few 3-4-5 steps and make them larger and curved holding a wooden post with bronze light, i am thinking of a plan to make it more open and more light using vintage old victorian materials…once i am in i will restorate it beautifully! just excited now for what i got in my hands! i am in love with the balloon farm, did you see the details of the outside of the structure ?? endless details! i can not get over how symmetrical is! just perfection! very blessed! as soon as i move in i will post some pics! thank you all…

          • Barbara VBarbara V says: 256 comments
            OHD Supporter

            1800 cottage
            Upstate, NY

            Glad to hear that things were not as bad as the initial reports – just goes to show the importance of having someone you trust who knows what they are looking at… Please don’t be reluctant to post pictures as you go – we all love the before and afters!

            • realdaddrealdadd says: 37 comments
              second empire frankfort, NY

              thanks Barbara, i will show the transformation of before and after, i love that too.

          • Joe says: 577 comments

            If you look at other Second Empire house, you will see that they have turned balusters and newel posts. The rail is a certain shape and their are other distinctive features. If I were you, I would be opening up the wall of the current rail to see if any of the original parts had been boxed in while still there. I would also be seeking any descendants of former owners who might have old pictures of what it looked like back in the day.

            • realdaddrealdadd says: 37 comments
              second empire frankfort, NY

              definitely Joe, i have been reading a lot about Second Empire architect to stick more or less to it is own identity, even furnitures and accessories, colors and style… second empires are not a new passion to me, i love them since i ever remember, so , yes i wanted balloon farm to be if possibly can pure second empire.

              • RossRoss says: 2354 comments
                OHD Supporter

                1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
                Emporia, KS

                Architectural salvage yards often have complete staircases.

                • realdaddrealdadd says: 37 comments
                  second empire frankfort, NY

                  Yes Ross, thank you! i have been looking to that even before i closed escrow on this property, several carpenters can reciproke and can do exact match if necessary, i am not there yet, i am big fanatic about artistic molding in that era! and so many dealers out there … i might end being one of them one day, as hobie!

  8. LisaBeth Klein says: 1 comments

    I actually looked at this about a year ago. The owners had it for about 10 years or so and were going through a divorce so they put NO work into it. Roof leaks, foundation issues and there are oil tanks on the property near the house undergroud. It was packed full of stuff so you couldn’t see the walls. Now that the divorce went through it seems to have been cleaned out and the price is almost 50k higher than when I looked at it last year. It could be very beautiful but the house needs a LOT of work. It’s history is also very interesting so it would be amazing to have it saved and restored.

  9. Ray Unseitig says: 149 comments

    The very first thing I’ll do is remove that eye sore of a box or room on the left of the front view. Geese. other than that ok by me. Remodeling is often back sliding, by trades people, who need money but don’t have a clue.

    • Barbara N Kahl says: 51 comments

      Me, too! Restore the porch to the former shape and this old lady would be much more appealing.

  10. Woeisme says: 92 comments

    Albert Einstein stayed here? WOW!

  11. Woeisme says: 92 comments

    I would not need all that space, so I would remove the newer additions and restore the wrap around porch. That would make this grand beauty symmetrical again.

  12. Anne Hamilton says: 200 comments

    Oh OUCH, that hurts as this is one beautiful old house! Buried oil tanks,,,,in NJ,,,, that is soo difficult, unfortunately. They make you do all kinds of stuff when these are present,. Environmental abatement’s etc, and it gets very expensive,,, just sayin’,,, its probably why it hasn’t sold or will be on the market for a long time. I think if they priced it lower it might sell, or would hope so. I would be a huge undertaking with those tanks and conditions but its such a wonderful structure. NJ taxes are sky high as well, but maybe historical tax credits could be worked out. poor thing, too many strikes against her, but preserver, hang in there darlin’ old lady and somebody will come rescue you!

  13. GeorgeofRhinebeck says: 17 comments

    If one heads away from this property to the left in the street view, you will in short order come to the Vroom Mansion (just past the right turn to Rt. 202), a former New Jersey Governor’s mansion and arguably one of the state’s most important houses to be for sale in the last five years. It is a high style 1890’s Federal with Flemish bond brickwork, flanked by two generous early 19th century wings. It has well over 20 rooms, and terrific fireplace mantles, among other juicy details. Like so many fabulous and irreplaceable houses in New Jersey, even people who live nearby know nothing about it and most couldn’t care less.

    My wife and I seriously considered buying it but we didn’t for an important reason I point out here for any old house enthusiast considering this town. Many of the old houses on that side of the street sit just a few yards away from the Raritan River and their days, including the Vroom Mansion, are numbered. New Jersey has done nothing but continue to encourage ever more development along Route 202 and all the water runoff from the office parks and developments goes right into the river where it heads to the repeatedly flooded town of Bound Brook. No one in New Jersey has a viable plan to prevent this. Already the three houses that used to sit to the right of the Vroom Mansion have all been demolished. Future severe storms due to climate change will ultimately deplete the area of most of its old buildings. Combine that with a relative apathy towards historic preservation in the area to begin with (a Newport quality Shingle Style Mansion was being demolished in nearby Somerville when we were considering the Vroom House) and you get a pretty sad outlook for the future.


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