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Walking Tours of Historic Basking Ridge
and Bernardsville

The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH) is always looking for ways to promote local history. And now there are two walking tours and a more recent online virtual rendition of the same. Stroll the villages of the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township and the Olcott Historic District in Bernardsville.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out when we have our live docent walking tours.

Watch the recorded live feed of the last 16 minutes with our town's oldest resident narrated by THSSH Walking Tour Docent Paula Axt including the Basking Ridge Great White Oak Tree.

Walking Tour BrochureThe Self Guided Walking Tour of Historic Basking Ridge Village takes in the village center, which remains a favorite Bernards Township gathering place, with attractive shops and restaurants, including outside dining during warm weather.

PDFDownload the Tour

You may download a pdf version of the tour here or you may visit the Brick Academy to pick up a printed copy.

Virtual Walking Tour of Historic Basking Ridge

Walking Tour of Historic Basking Ridge Village now mashed with Google Maps

Two versions are now available - online and downloadable.

Click Here to visit the virtual walking tour.A great way to see some of the most noted historical sites in and around the downtown Basking Ridge area.

Taken from the historic pamphlet from our online archives, here's a new way to get a virtual look at the historic hamlet of Basking Ridge.

You will start at the Brick Academy, home to the Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (it's marked with a "Circled Question Mark".) Created by Trustee member Brooks Betz, "the interactive map allows people to recognize some of the historic buildings in the township without going outside". "Guided tours are given periodically by local historians, but we felt this might be a good way to allow visitors to familarize themselves witht the logistics of the tour before they visit," stated Betz.

The interactive map includes 27 historic buildings, three dining establishments, restroom stops, parking, and the best photo areas. The original tour book, written/published in 2004, is still available for download and available in the Historical Society's gift shop. "But nothing takes the place of a nice walk. So come spend a few hours, have lunch, and enjoy the historic village of Basking Ridge, New Jersey."

Click Here to be directed to the online interactive map and tour.

Olcott District Walking Tour - Bernardsville

Olcott Avenue was the first street in Bernardsville designed to appeal specifically to the rising class of local merchants and entrepreneurs. It was a planned neighborhood of comfortable homes constructed in the most fashionable architectural styles, on a broad new avenue set apart from working class neighborhoods. Restrictions were written into each deed by the developer to control how each buyer could use his property. The result was a residential district of substantial dwellings in a homogenous setting.

A number of architectural and technological innovations of the period are evident in the district, as a result of designs created by some of the most notable architects in America. The Historic district, established in 2009, has fifty-six contributing buildings, including a school, a church, a parsonage and thirty-seven dwellings, as well as carriage houses, garages and World War I memorial plaques. As a whole, the district possesses excellent historical integrity.

Welcome to the Olcott Historic District Walking Tour. The tour covers a distance of approximately 1.6 miles. The tour starts at the Bernardsville United Methodist Church on Wesley and Church Streets, where parking is available nearby, and ends at the Olcott Building. Please refer to the attached map.

Click Here to Download the Tour

Guided Walking Tours

Bernards Township resident and THSSH Trustee Paula Axt conducts walking tours that span 250 years of Basking Ridge village history. The earliest structures date back to when the name “Baskenridge” first appeared in the records of the Presbyterian Church in 1733. Many of the buildings were initially erected as private residences and are based on “vernacular” architecture while others are impressive examples of formal architectural styles. Highlights include the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church; the hat shop of Aunt Carrie Cross assumed to be the oldest building in the village, the grand manor house of Dr. Horatio G. Whitnall who served as the Chief Surgeon of the Union Army and many other historic sites.

Limited Engagement:
Please contact THSSH for updates on when we will schedule Guided Walking Tours of Historic Basking Ridge!

Other historical tours can be found at:

Somerset County

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