Proprietary House , Perth Amboy!

So as I am doing a tour of the world virtually in my blog, let me bring you back to a memorable moment in my life. I came from Madrid, Spain to Perth Amboy New Jersey USA way back too many years, and was my first contact with the American way of life: a shock! new customs, new language, new money, new laws the works. The best of it is that I was finally in a democratic country and free to learn new things, which I did. As usually back then no photos found so given credit to show the house.

Of course, I have written about Perth Amboy and New Jersey before, but left this out and I should not. This is part of history of the US often overlook for more recent ones; this is where all started for the country. Perth Amboy was colonial capital and the governor lived here at the Proprietary House. Let me tell you a bit more about it ok.

Perth Amboy

credit: facebook photo of the proprietary house

The city was the capital of East Jersey while the 13 colonies were around, one of the governor base at Perth Amboy was William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin, who was a royalist. The Proprietary House in Perth Amboy was where he lived as governor. He was instrumental in opening Queen College (later Rutgers University) . He was arrested in 1776-78  as he was against the American independence movement, and finally was exile to Great Britain in 1782, and died there in 1813  buried at St Pancreas old Church Cemetery. The Proprietary House erected n 1762 is the only provincial governors house still standing in the USA: located at 149 Kearny Avenue, Perth Amboy. Very near where I lived!!! Waterfront (NY) area. See it!

The official webpage is here: The Proprietary House at Perth Amboy

A bit of history I like

The Proprietary House in Perth Amboy, is the only proprietary governor’s mansion of the original Thirteen Colonies still standing. It’s construction began in 1762 and was completed in 1764. The Georgian style mansion was first occupied by Chief Justice Frederick Smyth by rent and approval of The Proprietors  from 1766 to 1773. In May 1773, the mansion was repaired and fitted to be the residence of the royal governor of New Jersey, and leased by the proprietors as such.

Perth Amboy

credit: Proprietary-House mycentral nj

The home was occupied temporarily, 1774 to 1776, by the Royal Governor of New Jersey, William Franklin (the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin) . In January 1776, he was ordered to be held under house arrest on order of the Provincial Congress of New Jersey and under guard of the Committee of Safety. In June, after the onset of hostilities between Great Britain and the fledgling nation, he was ordered arrested and taken to Princeton for trial and then imprisoned in Litchfield, Connecticut until his release in a prisoner exchange in 1778. He eventually fled for Great Britain in 1782 and died there in 1813.

After the house was ravaged by a mysterious fire in the late 18C ;the new owner restored it. added a large wing and turned the property into The Brighton, a hotel of grand stature in its day. It briefly flourished as an elegant and popular hotel until the War of 1812 brought an end to tourism and the lifeblood of the hotel. The war a conflict between the USA and UK that many claims the precursor of the Napoleonic wars in Europe.

Mathias Bruen, who bought the property at a sheriff’s sale in 1817, became one of the wealthiest men in America while he lived here. His descendants made large contributions to America’s social and political history. In subsequent years, most of the original of its eleven acres were divided into building lots, and Kearny Avenue was cut through. The house experienced a series of owners. Over the years it deteriorated from a comfortable apartment house with a public restaurant to a dilapidated rooming house and suspected flophouse.The former Proprietary House was converted into a Presbyterian retirement home. It was adapted again as a hotel, but with modest accommodations. Now owned by the State of New Jersey, a portion of the building is operated as a museum by the Proprietary House Association. The upper floors of the original building and the 1809 wing are occupied by professional offices. The first floor and basement of the Proprietary House have been undergoing extensive repairs and restoration by the non-profit Proprietary House Association. The New Jersey Historic Trust and the Division of Parks and Forestry of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, along with private contributors, have greatly supported the effort to restore some of the former glory of the building. hroughout these phases, the house/museum was always open for tours, events, and exhibits.

Perth Amboy’s Proprietary House, the Royal Governor’s Mansion at 149 Kearny Ave has been voted as one of the top 8 NJ historic sites in a competition held by NJTV called #NJTVTourismTourney. Again, a must to see especially by all lovers of history and indeed American history.

A nice youtube video on the Proprietary House here

The webpage of the revolutionary war NJ on the Proprietary House: Revolutionary War New Jersey on the Proprietary House Perth Ambohy

And for general reference, the city of Perth Amboy webpage: City of Perth Amboy New Jersey

And there you go , yes my first city in America was lucky enouth to be in a historic city and learn a lot on the American way of life, which i continue even abroad. From our next door neighbor, have you heard? If you can do it in NY City, you can do it anywhere! true! Hope you enjoy the Proprietary House of Perth Amboy, in the Great State of New Jersey!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

 

 

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