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Goodspeed Histories: Flemington’s 19th Century History

Ever since bringing an imaginary train into the Flemington station over a month ago (“Coming Into the Station (https://goodspeedhistories.com/coming-into-the-station/) ”), I have been researching properties on Flemington’s Main Street, in particular the old Hunterdon County National Bank building that belonged to John C. Hopewell. It was my plan to write an article about it, but researching the bank showed me that I had to lay some groundwork first. Which led me back to the most elegant house in Flemington (to my mind), the Fisher-Reading Mansion, or as it is more commonly known, the Large Mansion.

I wrote about this house several years ago, before the Chamber of Commerce rescued it from decay, but I neglected to provide its later history. That is partly rectified in today’s article, along with a history of the creation of the Hunterdon Co. National Bank.

A Store, A Bank, A Mansion (https://goodspeedhistories.com/a-store-a-bank-a-mansion/)

The store that is featured in this article is one of the buildings that will be taken down by Jack Cust in his attempt to revitalize downtown Flemington. A store has been located there since the early 1800s, so it seemed appropriate to give it some attention. Also because the second owner of the Fisher-Reading house, John G. Reading, was for a time owner of that store.

With all this focus on a branch of the Reading family, it seemed appropriate to update the Reading Family Tree (https://goodspeedhistories.com/the-reading-family-tree/) , which is still missing many other branches. The family was certainly prolific!

Coming Up
While researching these properties I found myself collecting information on nearly all the lots along Main Street from the Presbyterian Church on the north to the train depot on the south. And with Flemington being the County Seat, much activity related to nation-wide events took place there. There is so much more to say about the place, and also, today’s article is just the first part of the story of the bank, the store and the mansion. I am thinking of several more articles about this place, collected under the heading of “Main Street Flemington”.

Virtual Tour of Flemington
Because of these studies, I was delighted to learn that on March 14th, when the Hunterdon County Historical Society holds its annual spring meeting Janice Armstrong will be conducting a virtual tour of Flemington. Her timing could not be better for me. The meeting and tour will be held on Zoom, so you’ll have to sign up, which you can do here:

It’s hard to imagine that our snow might all be melted by then.
Best wishes,

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