History of Flemington Borough

Hunterdon County, New Jersey


Pre-Colonial period – the Lenape Indians lived in the area. Chief Tuccamirgan had an Indian encampment on Tuccaminjah Creek, now called Mine Brook.

1738 – John Philip Kase bought land in the future Flemington. (The area included that around the Route 12 traffic circle and back through Bonnell Street.) He built his log cabin along Tuccaminjah Creek, now Mine Brook. very near the encampment of Chief Tuccamirgan and made life long friends with the chief. The chief’s childless wife often took care of the Kase children.

1746 – other settlers arrived including Samuel Flemin, a tavern owner with a need for a new, larger tavern. Fleming built the first "real" house, known as Fleming’s Castle, in the future Flemington.

1756  --  Samuel Fleming built Fleming Castle as a tavern and home at 5 Bonnell Street.

1791  --  Flemington chosen as the county seat for Hunterdon County because it was at the confluence of two important roads: one joining the South Branch of the Raritan River with the Delaware River and the other joining New York City to Philadelphia.

1814 – the Stangl/Fulper pottery works began in Flemington. Pfaltzgraff became successor to the pottery works.

1828  --  Hunterdon County Court House built.

Flemington is also home to some of the nation's finest examples of Greek Revival architecture, courtesy of designer-builder Mahlon Fisher.

1840 – Mahlon Fisher remodeled the Southard Building, the office of former Senator Southard.

1840  --  the first Flemington Fair held.

1846 – designer-builder Mahlon Fisher built the Doric House which served as Fisher's residence. (It is now home to the Hunterdon County Historical Society.)

1847 – Mahlon Fisher built the massive-columned Greek Revival Reading-Large House at 119 Main Street (now offices) for James N. Reading.

1851  --- one room Harmony School built to educate children in the rural area around Flemington. 

1861-1865  --  Civil War.  The war interrupted the Flemington Fair.

1862  --  the Reading Academy established; the only public school in Flemington at the time.  

1870  -- the Hall or Records (next door to the Hunterdon County Court House) built.

1870  -- a Central Railroad of New Jersey branch line established to connect Flemington to Somerville where passengers could connect with the main line heading from Easton, PA to Jersey City.

1877  --  the brick Union Hotel built on Main Street.

1883  --  Flemington Presbyterian Church built.

1886  --  Lehigh Valley Branch Railroad Station built (where now Agway stands) to shuttle passengers from Flemington to the main line (the Eastern and Amboy Railroad) at Flemington Junction.

1892  --  dedication of the Civil War Soldiers' Monument at the convergence of North Main and East Main Streets.

1895-1958  --  the "Two Miss Bessies" (Elizabeth Vosseller and Elizabeth Hopewell)  ran a five-church junior choir school to provide voices for the Flemington children's choir.  (Paul Robeson was one of the school's pupils.  Robeson himself wrote: "Miss Vosseller, the music teacher who directed our glee club, took special interest in training my voice.")

1897  --  the Flemington National Bank built on Main Street.

turn of the century  --  Firemen's Carnival held in Borough Park at Park Avenue and Court Street. 

1900  --  the new Harmony School built; still a one room school.

1900-1937  --   George H. Large owned the Reading/Large house.  

early 1900s  --  the Palace Theater on Main Street showed silent movies accompanied by the piano.

1908 – the Muller and Hill families founded the internationally known Flemington Cut Glass Company, manufacturer of specialty glass products.

1910  --  the Renaissance Revival library built on Main Street.

1910-1947  --  Major Edward B. Allen managed the Flemington Fair and Carnival Association until his death at 85.

1912  --  death of William E. Emery.  He had left his native Flemington to become a successful merchant in New York City and Kansas City, but had returned to his home town when he retired.  He had lived at Roselawn (a.k.a. Rose Lodge) at 3 East Main Street.

1914  --  a blizzard hit Flemington.  A postcard showed the home of James E. Brodhead, the Brodhead home, with its lawn and trees covered with snow. 

1921 – establishment of Flemington Furs.

1927  --  the sport of golfing arrived in  Hunterdon County when Copper Hill Golf Course opened in Flemington.

1928  --  the Fleming Castle given to the local Daughters of the American Revolution. 

1935 – the Greek Revival Hunterdon County Courthouse was the site of The Trial of the Century that led to the conviction of Bruno Hauptmann for the kidnapping of the infant son of Charles Lindbergh. (Across the street, the Union Hotel provided a press room in the basement.  Among those staying at the hotel were: Damon Runyon, Walter Winchell, Lowell Thomas, Edna Ferber, and Fanny Hurst.  Also present were: Dortothy Kilgallen and Gabriel Heatter)

1936 (April 3)  --  Bruno Hauptmann electrocuted.

1960s and 1970s – Liberty Village established as a popular artisan's village where visitors come to observe weavers, cabinet makers, blacksmiths and glassblowers.

1981 – Liberty Village became the country's very first outlet village.

1987  --  80 people employed by Flemington Cut Glass.


Erica Edwards. New Jersey’s Great Northwest Skylands: Flemington. Flemington personifies "Ideal Town, U.S.A." http://www.njskylands.com/tnflemington.htm

Sally A. Freedman.  1994.  Images of America: Clinton, Flemington and Lambertville.  Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press.