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Spencer Hollingsworth House | by Jack English
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Spencer Hollingsworth House

Spencer / Hollingsworth House


1370 Johnston Drive

Watchung, NJ 07069

SHPO Opinion 1/5/2006


“(Trenton, January 11, 2010) - The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) today announced the start of construction on a $4.9 million safety and operational improvement project at the interchange of Route 22 with Park Avenue and Bonnie Burn Road in Scotch Plains, Union County and Watchung Borough, Somerset County.


“NJDOT will address the current traffic congestion issues throughout the Route 22 interchange with Bonnie Burn Road and Park Avenue by widening the Bonnie Burn Road/New Providence Road intersection with the Route 22 overpass to include dedicated left-turn, dedicated right-turn, and one through-lane at all four roadway approaches. The Route 22 overpass and the Park Avenue/Sunset Place intersection with the Route 22 overpass will be widened to include dedicated left-turn lanes as well, and a new traffic signal will be installed at the intersection. NJDOT will also rehabilitate the Green Brook culvert retaining walls in order to reinforce the existing Route 22 overpass.”


As is common practice with federally funded projects like this, all of the properties potentially impacted were investigated years prior to the actual onset of work. After that assessment, one house was torn down. Other properties have had to give up pieces or sections of land to facilitate the completion of the road work. In addition, three parcels in Watchung received SHPO Opinions of eligibility from the NJ DEP - Historic Preservation Office, New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. At this time, none of these properties are listed on the National Register or the State Register. This photograph is of one of those three properties.


The SHPO refers to this property as the Spencer / Hollingsworth House ID#5038. The property sits at the intersection of Bonnie Burn Road and Johnston Drive. It has been for sale virtually continuously over a number of years without success. The listed price has ranged from a high of $2.4 million to the current price of $800k. In most of the promotional materials for these sales, the house is called The Hollingsworth Mansion – “an elegant turn-of-the-century Victorian Manor built in 1876.” Over the recent years attempts have been made to turn the single family house into a bed & breakfast as well as an office building to no avail. The house was put up for auction and while listed for auction was offered privately at a price which was below the current listing price. A section of property was sold to the county or city in conjunction with the roadway reconstruction as described above. The exterior of the home is unique and charming. Much more detail can be found by reading the readily available real estate listing.


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Taken on April 15, 2011