Help plan your trip by exploring the The Historic Village at Allaire online. Historic buildings range from the museum to living history displays in the historic homes and craft shops.
The Row House
The block of row houses was originally constructed in 1832 and completed the following year. It was one of three blocks of row houses (the other two being on each side of the Chapel.) This row house was the largest and would have housed the skilled workers and their families. Rents for the housing was usually $1 or $2 dollars a month. A yearly salary for the Foreman, for example, would have been approximately $1000 dollars, the Manager may have made up to $2,000.
When entering the Visitor Center, you will see the only interior example of a remaining row house. One row house might be home to 10 or more individuals. The first floor was the living quarters; the second floor would have been used for sleeping quarters.
This building was built in 1835 to supply bread for the village since most homes did not have bake ovens. Traditionally a young boy would be recruited to crawl into the oven and light the fire at the back for baking to begin. Today, the beehive oven in the bakery building is used for demonstrations throughout the year to engage visitors in the process of bread making from mixing dough to the finished product.
The General Store
The General Store was built in 1835 at the substantial cost of $7,000 dollars. The store was designed to attract customers from the town as well as the surrounding community. Shipments from New York provided goods not readily accessible to the local community. The store also included a Post Office and utilized an elevator to lift goods to the upper floors – operating on a system of pulleys.
In addition to being a place of worship, the Chapel also served as a meeting place for the village. Constructed in two sections, the first section (the entrance) utilized recycled wood to begin the build in 1832. The second section, completed in 1836, was constructed from new, stronger wood timbers and as such, was able to support the weight of the belfry – this is why you find our church’s belfry in the back of the building instead of the more common placement, over the entrance.
The Foreman’s Cottage
The Foreman’s cottage is the oldest brick building on the property and the first one Mr. Allaire had built in 1827. It is also the third largest house on the property, and was considered a middle-class home at the time. The upstairs window faces the blast furnace which enabled the foreman to monitor the smoke from the furnace from his home.
The Carriage House
The Carriage House was built around 1831-1832 and, as a stage coach stop between Red Bank and western Monmouth county, it was the first building people would come to when arriving by coach. Inside the building, we have some examples of early carriages from the later 1800’s. The Gardner’s Cottage was attached at the back of the carriage house as the gardener also worked in the winter months with the transportation of goods to and from the village.
The Blacksmith Shop
The Blacksmith shop, built in 1836, was the largest blacksmith shop in America at the time. With 4 forges, there could be between 12 and 20 people working in this building from sunrise to sunset, six days a week. Today, we use this building to make many of the tools and equipment we use in the village. The iron that was produced on site would have been the same used in the blacksmith shop. It would come from the local bog ore and would be melted down in the blast furnace, and then go through a refining process in order to become raw iron and steel that could be used to create the blacksmiths’ products.
The Manager’s House
This is the oldest house on the property as it was built in the year 1750 by Isaac Palmer. In the mid- 1800’s, the manager of the village was Mr. James Parshall Smith, who lived in the house with his wife and four children. This house was the second largest house on the property and was considered an upper-middle class home at the time. This was the only house that contained a bake oven because it had been built before Mr. Allaire had purchased the property.
Mr. Allaire’s House
Prior to his retirement in 1850, Mr. Allaire’s main residence was on Cherry Street in New York City. He would only come to the Howell Works on occasional weekends for business purposes. During the mid-1830s, a cholera epidemic spread throughout New York City and James P. Allaire made arrangements to escape the sickness by moving into the Big House at the Howell Works. His wife, Frances, had been ill for many years and could not afford to be exposed to the epidemic. In 1836, James P. Allaire and his family spent a considerable amount of time at this residence.
Those living in the house included: Mr. Allaire, Frances, their daughters, (Maria and Frances) Frances’s daughter Franny, the two Miss Johnsons, and a cousin Calicia (who later became the second Mrs. Allaire). In March of 1836 Frances died from what was probably tuberculosis. It was not until 1850 when James P. Allaire retired, that he made a permanent residence at the Big House. With his second wife, Calicia, and their young son Hal, he spent the last several years of his life in this home.
The Big House was built in three sections. The first section, which contains the front porch, dates back to the Palmer Saw Mill circa 1790. The kitchen was added on after Mr. Allaire purchased the property, most likely during the 1820s. The three story brick dormitory (now destroyed) was added on soon after. This structure housed the singe male workers of the village during the 1830s. When Mr. Allaire retired he converted the dormitory for private use. The upper rooms were used for guests; the first floor dining hall as a ball room and banquet hall.
The Enameling Building
In 1828 Mr. Allaire built an addition to the enameling building (which was referred to as “The Fort”). The enameling building operated for approximately one year under the Howell Works, as an experiment in the production of cast iron cookware he called “hollowware”. The cookware was coated with an enamel and fired in the furnace, located in the basement of the building. The original section of this building was thought to have been in place during the time of Monmouth Furnace, prior to Mr. Allaire purchasing the property.
The Carpenter Shop
This was the second carpenter shop built by Mr. Allaire. The first one was located halfway between the general store and the existing building, and on the far end of the carpenter shop, an addition to the building, that is now the wheelwright shop. The tinsmith shop also shares space in this building. Being an itinerate tradesperson, the tinsmith travels from town to town and works piecemeal in different locations throughout the area.