Learn About The History Of Westfield, NJ

The 18th Century Still Exists in Westfield

Traveling down Mountain Avenue in Westfield, NJ, beautiful, well-cared for homes can be viewed on either side of the busy street. Nestled among the various styled residential houses sits a historical treasure. Tucked just off of the main street, standing on its original location, is the Miller-Cory House Museum.

Dubbed a "living history museum" on it's website

The farmhouse, which dates back to about 1740, is a testament to the rich history of the area. In modern day, Westfield is a picturesque, suburban New Jersey town complete with a bustling downtown district filled with shops and restaurants. However, at one time not so long ago, the area was rural farmlands. The thoroughfare of Mountain Avenue was actually an old Indian Trail that led to the Watchung Hills. Westfield began as the West Fields of Elizabeth Town. And a prominent family of Elizabeth Town, the Millers, owned approximately 100 acres of land in the area.

On that land

Samuel Miller had the clapboard home built in 1740 for his wife, Sabra Clark. Comprised of a story and a half, the farmhouse is a example of a typical 18th century NJ homestead. It has a shingled roof and pine floors.

The dwelling remained part of the Miller family until 1784

Just after Samuel's death. At that time Jesse Miller, Samuel's son, sold the home to Joseph Cory. It remained part of that locally prominent family for many years, even after Joseph's death. Descendants of the Cory family were either living in the farmhouse or renting it out until 1921.

In 1962

Donald and Isobel Jones purchased the house and began the hard, but rewarding work of restoration. In effort to return the structure to it's 18th century state, the couple had the Victorian Era changes removed. A false ceiling was taken down to expose maple beams, sliding doors were removed and various other details were attended to.

Refurbishment of the house

The last time the farmhouse came under new ownership was in 1972 when the Westfield Historical Society purchased the property. Since then it has been completely restored. In an attempt to recreate the farmhouse to look as though a family is still living there in the 18th century, all the furnishings are pieces from that period as well. In fact, an inventory taken by Joseph Cory was used to guide refurbishment of the house.

Today the Miller-Cory Museum

Is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places and is a site on the New Jersey Women's Heritage Trail. Visitors can come to 614 Mountain Avenue, Westfield to get a glimpse of what life was like on a New Jersey farm in the 18th century. The grounds contain the farmhouse itself along with gardens with early American plantings, an outhouse, a corn crib, and a cookhouse known as the Frazee Building. Volunteer docents wear costumes of clothes typical to the time period as they guide visitors through the farmhouse and grounds. They introduce certain skills that would have been necessary to have during everyday life on a farm in 18th century rural New Jersey.The open-hearth cooking program includes members of the cooking committee who prepare dishes on the open-hearth using authentic 18th century recipes.


The Miller-Cory House Museum is open September through June every other Sunday between 2 -4 or by appointment. Educational programs are available for groups and school visits.