19th Century Carriage Builder’s House (Ca.1855) For Sale in Keyport, NJ

There is a common misconception that most historic houses are “dark” inside . . . but this listing caught my eye as an example of why that misconception is, well, a misconception.  The “Henry Cherry House,” built 6 years before the U.S. Civil War, is a perfect example of a 19th century house that mixes quaint older features with an open, bright, and “hip” vibe.  And this is not uncommon — many historic homes are very bright & “airy” inside.  As a real estate agent who has toured hundreds of houses, some of the brightest interiors I’ve seen have been in Queen Anne Victorians (1870s-1910s).  The house above (built in 1855) has more of a square, Federal shape to it, but it still manages to pull off a very bright, open feeling (pictures below).  The Henry Cherry House sits just blocks from the waterfront of Raritan Bay and is just 50 minutes south of NYC — so it seems like a really nice buy at just $249,000.

The house apparently has some cool local history connections, as well.  It was first owned by a well-known carriage maker.  Built by noted Keyport builders Thomas S.R. Brown and Richard W. Strong, the house was completed in the spring of 1855 for Henry Cherry & his wife Elizabeth.  That same year, Cherry took a job as a wheelwright and carriage maker with the firm of Timothy Carhart, where he built carriages for about 15 years.  In 1873, Cherry took his master craftsmanship to his son’s new carriage factory — Tilton & Cherry — a much larger concern at the corner of Main & Elizabeth Streets.  He was placed in charge of that carriage shop, and in that role Cherry oversaw the construction of untold numbers of wagons, carriages and surreys that were sold throughout New Jersey over the years, including the first three fire hose carriages for the Keyport fire department (see “Old Abe” above – courtesy of Keyport FD).  One of the “Tilton & Cherry” wagons is on display at Long Street Farm museum.  Henry Cherry plied his unique craft until his death in 1915 (at 87 years, old!), and interestingly, his son, John Patterson, carried on his legacy & worked at Tilton & Cherry until it closed in the 1920s.

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As you’ll see, modern craftsmen (of a different sort) have been at work at the Henry Cherry House, where lots of updates have led to a modern-feeling historic home that retains some of its original charms . . .

The Cherry House still has its original hardwood floors, a Rumford fireplace in the dining room (pic directly below), and the original stairway banister (pic further below).  Again, check out the open & airy feel to the home.  The house apparently has about 1600 sqft of living space, but it looks even bigger with its large, brightly-painted rooms — including 3 bedrooms, an office/nursery, a beautiful open kitchen (which looks to have fantastic updates including concrete countertops, stainless steel appliances, and a built-in wine rack).  I read that a walk-up attic offers expansion possibilities or additional storage.  If you look at the photos in the real estate listing (here) the backyard features a big rear deck, in addition to the nice front porch (pic far below) for hanging out.  The listing says the house is “located minutes to Keyport’s vibrant and active downtown waterfront and a perfect commuter location – 5 minutes to Garden State Parkway & trains” to New York City.  For the real estate listing on Realtor, click here.

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I’ve included a bunch of photos below — check out the nice, bright rooms!  Truly a charming old place!  Also, more photos can be found at the website

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  1. by Sarah @ housecrazy, on 03.21.12 @ 10:31 PM


    Love it! Very light and calming – doesn’t feel dark or closed-in at all.

  2. by The Different Styles Of Carriage House Garage Doors - Carriage House Garage Doors | Carriage House Garage Doors, on 04.09.12 @ 1:10 AM


    […] Simply experiment on carriage house garage doors and see what you can come up with!  [caption id="attachment_19" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Carriage House Garage Doors "][/c… Not many people own carriage houses because it was normally used to house older methods of travel […]

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