Two of Montgomery's most historic properties are for sale.
Opies Mill at 43 Dead Tree Run Rd in Belle Mead, circa 1800, is listed for $499,000. And, across the street is the Millers House at 44 Dead Tree Run Road, Belle Mead, circa 1721, listed for $649,000.
Words cannot do justice to the ambiance of this area, which is also home to the single-lane, Mill Pond Bridge — a triple arch bridge believed to have been built of random fieldstones in the 1820s. The bridge was repaired and restored by Somerset County in 2000.
The image of the 196-year-old bridge is used as the logo for Montgomery Township. It is also third-oldest bridge in New Jersey, according to the 2013 National Bridge Inventory. It shares this honor with the stone bridge on Opossum Road in Skillman, which was built the same year, acc
ording to the inventory.
To Judith Peters, the mill was her home for 27 years. She died earlier this year, and her family has listed it for sale. Peters would give tours of her historic home, and had written a well-researched script: “Welcome to my home,” the script begins. “A grain mill was built here some time in the mid 1700s. I understand the original mill had a wheel, but it burned down in 1800 and was rebuilt into a “water turbine-driven mill.”
“Local residents have told me that they remember coming here for
flour into the early 1940s,” she wrote. “From the mid 1940s until
1970, the mill was vacant.”
“Jack Stahl bought the mill in 1969 and he literallyhad to save the mill from falling into the water,” Peters wrote. “He did major construction work throughout the decade to make the mill into a residence.”
Peters, who served as the Van Harlingen Historical Society president,
purchased the home in 1991 and continued Stahl’s work. Pike Brook
winds along the property, flowing into a waterfall just below the deck
creating a relaxing, spa-like, cascading sound. Every window has an interesting view, whether of the bridge, the brook, the gardens, or the historic house across the street.
The living room features original beams and wood floors with a fireplace. Another room has the original millstones made into tables, and the mill mechanics are built into the decor.
The property comes with a three-bay barn with a finished room above.
The Millers House across the street is equally exquisite. Built in 1721 and restored in 2006, it has four wood burning stone/brick fireplaces, original hand-hewn beams, wide board pumpkin pine flooring, and a cathedral ceiling.
Too bad the buildings cannot be bought and preserved as working museums. Hopefully, they will both find good owners.