Flemington personifies "Ideal Town, U.S.A."

by Erica Edwards

Here you sense a special quality of life, enjoy small town friendliness, see beautifully restored and preserved architecture, and take pride in an historic district where 60% of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a borough where people stroll along its streets, where local residents and tourists mingle, exchange smiles and share the Victorian atmosphere of what is still a typical Main Street. Whether the first or last stop on your autumn visit to Hunterdon, don't miss Flemington, the county seat. John Maass, noted writer on the subject of Victorian architecture, has touted Flemington's Main Street as one of the prettiest in America and "a perfect example of a nineteenth century county seat." Tree shaded streets lined with a fascinating mix of Greek Revival and Victorian buildings set the stage for the beauty that is Flemington. Look closer and you will find something for everyone in this quaint yet cosmopolitan small town.

History buffs and students of architecture will marvel at the breadth of Flemington's treasures. Clayton and Whitely's Guide to Flemington notes, "Long before the white man came to New Jersey, Lenape Indians occupied the rolling hills of Hunterdon County, including what is now greater Flemington. They were a peaceful group who settled in this area because of its abundant water, navigable rivers, and protected fertile valley. They hunted, fished, and grew crops, beginning what would be a long tradition of agricultural living [in Hunterdon County]."

In 1738 John Philip Kase bought land that included the area around the Route 12 traffic circle and back through Bonnell Street in the Borough of Flemington. He built his log cabin along Tuccaminjah Creek, now called Mine Brook. Nearby was the Indian encampment of Chief Tuccamirgan with whom Kase developed a lasting friendship. The childless wife of the chief often took care of the Kase children, who were as comfortable at the Indian camp as they were in their own homestead.

Fleming's Castle, about 1890.

Other settlers soon arrived including Samuel Fleming in 1746. A tavern owner with a need for a new, larger tavern, Fleming built the first "real" house in what would become Flemington. Complete with clapboards it was known as Fleming's Castle.

The Readington-Large House,
about 1890.

Flemington is also home to some of the nation's finest examples of Greek Revival architecture, courtesy of designer-builder Mahlon Fisher. A few of his most prominent works include the Southard Building, the office of former Senator Southard, remodeled in 1840, the Doric House which served as Fisher's residence from 1846 and is now the home of the Hunterdon County Historical Society and lastly, but by no means least, the Reading-Large House an impressive home with massive columns built in 1847.

Flemington Courthouse, 1900

Another Greek Revival building is the Historic Hunterdon County Courthouse, the site in 1935 of what is called The Trial of the Century, the trial and conviction of Bruno Hauptman for the kidnapping of the infant son of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh.

more architecture...


But Flemington is sure to please others besides history buffs. Numerous restaurants and charming shops make Flemington a premier retail destination. Specialty retailers include the famous Flemington Furs (since 1921) and Pfaltzgraff, successor to the Stangl/Fulper pottery works begun in Flemington in 1814. With one hundred outlet stores located in several outlet shopping centers and free-standing stores throughout the town, Flemington has long been known as a bargain hunter's paradise. These outlet stores are owned and operated by leading designers and manufacturers offering first-quality, in-season merchandise at everyday "factory-direct" savings of 25 to 65 percent.

The largest collection of outlet stores is found at Liberty Village Premium Outlets. In the 1960s and 1970s, Liberty Village was a popular artisan's village where visitors came to observe weavers, cabinet makers, blacksmiths and glassblowers. In 1981, Liberty Village became the country's very first outlet village where many designers and manufacturers opened their first outlet store. Its sixty stores are situated in a Colonial-American styled village. Many of the historic buildings that surround the center's picturesque pond are beautifully restored or adapted architecture. The brands, however, are anything but old-fashioned. A recent stroll through this charming center revealed a "who's who" of today's most popular fashion labels: Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Jones New York, Anne Klein, Ellen Tracy, Dana Buchman, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Brooks Brothers Factory Store, Tommy Hilfiger, Cole Haan, Nautica, Timberland, J. Crew, Sunglass Hut, and Liz Claiborne. More shoppers appreciate the savings at Carter's, Jockey, OshKosh B'Gosh and Stride Rite Keds Sperry. Also impressive are the housewares and gift stores which include (Please delete Ralph Lauren Home), Royal Doulton, Samsonite Company Store, Zales Outlet and Fifi Pet Boutique. This spring (2007) the center will welcome Polo Ralph Lauren Children and Gymboree outlets. When you arrive, make sure to stop by the Information Center, located in suite 26, across from Pepperidge Farm, to pick up a center directory, find out about store promotions and pick up information about other Flemington attractions and accommodations.

Liberty Village Premium Outlets

Take Route 202 to historic Flemington, New Jersey and follow the signs to Liberty Village. For more information, call (908) 782-8550. Liberty Village is one of forty Chelsea Premium Outlet Centers across the United States. Chelsea centers are known worldwide for having the finest collection of designer and name brand outlets in architecturally distinctive, beautiful settings. Complete information on Liberty Village and all Chelsea centers can be found online.


Finally, Flemington is for the family! Numerous special events designed to delight adult and child alike occur in this charming town. Two of the most notable are Flemington's Autumn Fest and the Hunterdon Holiday Parade, both in the vicinity of Main Street. Autumn Fest includes vintage cars, local vendors, lots of music and food, and a community-wide pumpkin carving and decorating contest. The Hunterdon Holiday Parade is the county's largest and most diverse complete with great music, dancers, unique and antique vehicles and Santa. The festivities also include the ceremonial lighting of Flemington's holiday tree located at the center of town.

with thanks to B. Clayton & K. Whitley's Guide to Flemington

Nearby accommodations and attractions

  • Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse
  • Artisanal cheeses, wood fired breads, 100% grass-fed beef, whey fed pork, and suckled veal, 100% grass-fed ice cream, pasta made with Emmer wheat and our own free-range eggs, and pesto made with our own basil! Bread and cheesemaking workshops are held on the working farm as well as weekend tours and occasional concerts.

    369 Stamets Road, Milford 08848, 908/86GRASS

  • Bouman Stickey Farmstead
  • 114 Dreahook Road, Stanton 08885, 908/236-2327

  • Ship Inn Restaurant and Brewery
  • New Jersey''s first brewpub where, in addition to14 British ales and hard cider on tap, you can enjoy selections brewed on-site. The menu is derived exclusively from cuisine from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Lively weekend entertainment, on and off premise catering.

    61 Bridge St., Milford 08848, 908/995-7007

  • Historic Hunterdon Taverns
  • Decoys and Wildlife Gallery
  • This wildlife art gallery contains the area?s largest selection of hand carved decoys, representing carvers across the US, as well as an extensive collection of original paintings by some of the nation's most renowned artists.

    55 Bridge St., Frenchtown 08825, 908/996-6501


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Bruce Edward Litton
20 Apr 2015, 19:13
I'm very curious about how the present-day business culture of Flemington arrived. What drew it all together, I wonder? It does have a central location, more & less, between Lambertville & more urbanized east. Very pleased to find this article goes into the very sheik business atmosphere, and there's more besides. Wbm International, for example, specializes in Himalayan pink salt, and I bet other unique examples exist. Maybe Lambertville, to compare, escapes me, but Lambertville impresses me as full of small shops and galleries, somewhat similar to New Hope, whereas Flemington has a lot more scale...
08 Nov 2010, 16:15
Does anyone have any old photos of the Flemington Inn..or know who the folks where that ran the inn? I have been told that the Flemington Inn is now Jakes on 202/31..\r\n Thank You, Smokey
04 Aug 2009, 22:17
Aug. 4, 2009 11pm\r\nMy children just arrived in Flemington, NJ. Only to be harassed by a Flemington Police officer. The police officer stalked them, cursed out my daughter and son-in-law and threatened my 10-year-old grandson. She was there to visit a dying family member before going to her new base for retraining (she is a proud member of the US Air Force from three generations of family members who served our country in the Air Force, Army and Marines). She reported the actions of the stalking police officer only to have the same police officer show up and continue where he left off. My children are fearful of what the officer will do to them. I am outraged and also afraid for my children and grandchildren's safety. Who can they turn to for Help...surely not the Flemington Police?\r\n
Marian Gold
05 Jan 2009, 15:40
This is to Ms. Howard -\r\n\r\nI have a little bit about the Van Nests and also the\r\nWaldrons. I'm descended from the Van Nests and\r\nrelated by marriage to the Waldrons.\r\n\r\nWould you like to trade info? If so, please let me\r\nknow. The ones that I have connections with\r\nare in the Basking Ridge/Bernardsville area.\r\n\r\nI'm impressed that you have figured out Native\r\nAmerican Ancestry! How did you do that?\r\n\r\nM. Gold
Barbara Rigg
29 Dec 2007, 12:09
I lived on the corner of Grant Ave. and Brown St. as a child. I wondered if they are still there. Also is there a photo of the old Flemington Elementary school which burned in 1953 or 1954 on the internet? Thank you.
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