Learn About The History Of Scotch Plains NJ

History is Preserved in Scotch Plains, NJ

Today driving down Park Avenue of Scotch Plains, NJ through the downtown district, the rich history of the town might not be immediately apparent.  Steady streams of cars pass on the busy streets.  The sidewalks are lined with quaint light posts that proudly hold billowing American flags.  People travel between the many local businesses and restaurants.  A recently installed electronic and colorful announcement display adorns the front lawn of the municipal building flashing the date, time and weather among other information. But to the observant eye, many preserved sites of days long gone still remain.

One such site is the Osborn-Cannonball House. Located at 1840 E. Front Street in Scotch Plains, the white clapboard house that stands amid the modern city holds a rich history.

According to the Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood's website, the house was built in 1760 in the style typical to the period. Wooden pegs were used not iron nails. The ceilings and doors were low and the walls were filled with bricks. The plaster was made with crushed oyster shells and animal hair.

It was originally owned by Jonathan and Abagail Osborn.  Jonathan was an innkeeper, farmer and tailor.  Their story includes raising their thirteen children at the residence. It is told that two of the sons fought in the Revolutionary War and survived. The eldest son, John Baldwin, had married Mary Darby and left the home on E. Front Street to live in a different residence on Westfield Avenue.  His young wife took care of their children and home when John was fighting the war.  The second son, Jonathan Hand Osborn, joined the militia at age 16 as the drummer boy.

The reason the home is called the Osborn-Cannonball House is because of what is said to have occurred when the British were marching through the area after the Battle of Short Hills. The American troops were retreating and being followed by the large British army.  During the retreat, a cannon was fired and it accidently struck the Osborn's home.  Hence, the house has been referred to as the Osborn-Cannonball House or simply the Cannonball House.

Many families resided in the house in the years following the Osborn's.  In 1972 it became a museum, a testament to the rich history of the town of Scotch Plains.

In order to keep the memory of the story of the Osborn- Cannonball House, the Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood have carefully restored the building.  The original kitchen has been uncovered.  The bee-hive oven and recessed porch are restored. The original wide wood floorboards are visible and the hand-hewn beams as well.  The rooms are furnished representing two different time periods to highlight the time that has passed as the structure stands. The front room is decorated with Colonial era pieces and the back parlor is furnished in a Victorian era style. Passerby's can walk through and admire the Colonial flower and herb garden that surrounds the museum.

The fact that the Osborn-Cannonball House stands today in Scotch Plains, NJ is a symbol of the importance of remembering the past. The story of the house comes from an important piece of our country's history.  In order to bring the story more fully to life, the museum is open to visitors once a month.  Every first Sunday of the month between the hours of 2 and 4 people can walk in the house and see firsthand these important pieces of history.