Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

New Jersey Historic Trust Affiliated with the Department of Community Affairs

Smithville Park

Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund
Capital Preservation Grant, Level II
Historic Site Management Grant
New Jersey Historic Preservation Bond Program
Grant Award: $988,563 (1996); $50,000 (2001); $750,000 (2002)
Grant Recipient: Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders
County: Burlington
Municipality: Eastampton

An active milling site since the 18th century, this area in rural Burlington County became known as Shreveville in the early 19th century when the Shreve brothers developed a cotton-milling complex and workers' housing. The village entered its most significant period when purchased in 1865 by Hezikiah B. Smith, a successful industrialist and eventual U.S. Congressman from Lowell, Mass. He promptly renamed the complex Smithville and converted it for production of woodworking machinery, making the enterprise more self-sufficient in the process.

Smithville was notable for its progressive institutional innovations, such as closing at noon on Saturdays and establishing an employees' credit union. Smith gave his model community a school, an opera house, boarding houses, parks, a railroad station and a farm cultivating more than 300 acres. Smithville's 25 surviving buildings are now part of a 200-acre county park and greenway system.

The 2002 Trust grant funded the stabilization of numerous structures, including three workers' houses, the machine shop, the mansion, the dairy barn, and the planar/pickling shop (used in the metal-finishing process).

The 2001 grant funded the development of a historic landscape master plan for the Smithville Historic District.

The 1996 grant aided the restoration of the Park Avenue streetscape, which included the restoration of a mid-19th century house, two worker's houses, the frame of the conservatory, and interior restoration of a house into a period house museum.

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