Located in the Titusville section of Hopewell Township, the historic village of Titusville is an old house lover’s dream. It contains within its boundaries a collection of structures so barely altered that they present together almost as a living time capsule from days gone by. It is not by sheer coincidence that the historic district remains so intact, but rather it is the unique economic & societal history of this river front hamlet that has delivered it to us as such.
‘The Island,’ as it is locally known, is a sliver of land containing roughly 100 buildings lying between the Delaware River and the D&R Canal. The first documented land use in the area was the farm of Joseph Titus (1727-97), for whom the village would later be named. The main thoroughfare through the community is River Drive – a road dating to 1819 that originally served to connect a local sawmill to Tomlinson’s Ferry (today known as Washington Crossing). The first major subdivision of farmland in the area came after construction of the Delaware and Raritan Canal in 1834, prompting financial growth and real estate development in the area. A second boom in growth occurred after construction of the Belvidere-Delaware Railroad, built alongside the canal, which passed through the village towards Trenton.
These two events inspired decades-long prosperity in the area, which in turn inspired additional subdividing & home building. As such, a large portion of the homes still standing on The Island are representative of popular 19th century architectural styles (i.e. Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, etc.). With the building of Route 29 in the early 20th century, and the eventual failure of the canal & railroad, time stood still in the slightly isolated village. The only major new building concentrated on construction of vacation cottages (most of which still stand along the side streets off of River Drive) to cater to summer tourists from nearby cities. This period of commercial stagnation helped to insure the preservation of a marvelous collection of homes dating from c. 1835 – c. 1890s, saving them from the mass development seen elsewhere in the vicinity. Today the neighborhood is a treasure for anyone interested in historic homes, or history itself, with the National Register of Historic Places claiming that a staggering 97% of existing structures are historically significant.
If you are thinking about buying or selling a home in Titusville, or if you are just curious to learn more about the area’s unique history, please contact Matthew Jacobs, Realtor & Historic Home Specialist
(609) 397 3007 office
(646) 339 7257 mobile