Mendham Township’s winding narrow roads, farm buildings and historic houses all contribute to its sense of place and character. The Master Plan (2002) states that one “…overriding goal is to preserve the Township’s unique historic character and distinctive sense of place.” (MT Master Plan, p.X‐1).
The New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection, Historic Preservation Office, has awarded the Pitney Farm Historic District a Certification of Eligibility to be listed in the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places under Criteria A and C (see the criteria, below), and advised the applicants to also pursue listing under criterion B. The awarding of this Certification of Eligibility is a precursor to the listing of the property on New Jersey and National Registries of Historic Sites which uses the following criteria in assessing the historic significance of a property or structure:
A. Property associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history
B. Property associated with the lives of persons significant in our past
C. Property that embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction
D. Property that has yielded, or is likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.
The history of the Pitney Family and Pitney Farm touches all four of these criteria, although to date Pitney Farm has not been listed on either the New Jersey or National Register of Historic Places.
The structures the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office determined were contributing to the eligible historic district include:
- The Main House, built before 1775, with additions in 1826, 1925, 1935 and 1960s
- The Farmer’s Cottage, c. 1840-1860
- The Chauffeur’s or Boy’s Cottage, c. 1930
- Cottage, c. 1910
- The Main Barn and Cow yard, rebuilt in 1910 over an earlier foundation after a 1907 fire
- Ice House
- Corn crib, a rare surviving example of a once common farm building
- The display gardens: fountain, brick walled garden, St. Francis garden, gazebo, tennis courts
- The working gardens: greenhouse (1924), potting shed, orchard, flower garden
- The 250 year old Maple tree allée
Pitney Farm is also listed on the Morris County Heritage Commission Historic Site Survey, published in 1986/1987. The listing of Pitney Farm on this Historic Site Survey is a recognition of the property’s historic significance.
Pitney Farm offers a unique opportunity to celebrate and promote a strong sense of place through a variety of community based activities that both educate and allow the sense of community to flourish and strengthen residents’ ties to each other and to their location. How we, as a community, respond to that opportunity will inevitably impact the legacy we leave for future generations. The acquisition of the Pitney Farm property by the Friends of Pitney Farm will provide the opportunity to satisfy a variety of community needs while preserving a location that exemplifies the rich historic legacy of the community and its residents.