Prall House is preserved

The historic building along with 7 acres of the Route 29 scenic byway was preserved by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Delaware River Mill Society.

By: Linda Seida
   STOCKTON — The historic Prall House on the grounds of Prallsville Mills will be preserved along with 7 acres of the Route 29 scenic byway, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation has announced.
   Stockton Mayor Gregg Rackin applauded the announcement.
   "Stockton is becoming the central location for recreational activities and cultural and historic learning — biking, hiking, kayaking and canoeing, arts and historic and cultural — along New Jersey’s first scenic byway, Route 29," he said.
   "With the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Delaware River Mill Society partnership in preserving the John Prall House and with the establishment of the Stockton Visitors Center and the renovation of the sawmill now being undertaken with funding from the New Jersey Historic Trust, the Prallsville Mills historic complex is becoming an even more outstanding community resource," he added.
   The 210-year-old Prall House is a Federal-style Colonial on the grounds of the historic industrial center. The house now will serve as the trailhead for the Wickecheoke Creek Preserve.
   Valued at $920,000, the property was acquired by the foundation for $650,000 with the help of grants from the Department of Environment Protection Green Acres Program and the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
   "The DEP Green Acres Program is pleased to assist in the preservation of this property, which will afford visitors a glimpse of human history while providing a key connection to miles of walking trails and additional preserved lands," said DEP Assistant Commissioner John Watson.
   The Wickecheoke Creek flows into the canal, which provides drinking water for a million residents of central New Jersey.
   The foundation and the society officially announced the preservation Tuesday at the Prall House.
   The mill society intends to restore the stone house. Located on adjacent ground are a Revolutionary War-era cemetery, a quarry from whose stone came materials for the surrounding buildings and a railroad bed that transported the stone to Trenton. Both the society and the foundation will maintain offices on site.
   Edie Sharp, executive director of the society, said, "The mill society’s mission is to preserve the nationally registered historic Prallsville Mills complex while making it available as a resource for educational and cultural activities. Saving the Prall House helps complete the Prallsville complex’s historic footprint. Working together, our two organizations are connecting our natural resources with our history."
   Foundation Executive Director Michele Byers said, "The acquisition of this historic site significantly enhances the preservation of the Route 29 scenic byway. The Prall House is a beautiful historic landmark along Route 29 we can all enjoy, and it complements (the foundation’s) trail system for the Wickecheoke Creek Preserve.
   "The Prallsville Mill is an important part of New Jersey history," Sen. Leonard Lance said. "I applaud the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the Delaware River Mill Society for their preservation of the Prall House and the 7 acres adjacent to the Prallsville Mills complex along New Jersey’s scenic byway in Stockton."
   The foundation began working to preserve the Wickecheoke Creek region about 20 years ago under the leadership of the late Donald B. Jones, former president. The foundation’s efforts have resulted in the preservation of more than 2,000 acres with a vision for a trail system to connect Prallsville Mills with two sites in Delaware Township, Green Sergeant’s covered bridge and the Locktown Stone Church.
   Approximately 35 miles long, Route 29 was designated the state’s first scenic byway under a federal program. The byway extends from Trenton to Hunterdon County.
   Prallsville Mills was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The following year, the site became part of the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park.