In 1824 Edward Zane Collings undertook the construction of a house for himself and his widowed sister, Rebecca Knight, on farmland north of Newton Creek that he had inherited from his father in 1820. The property had been passed down from his great-grandfather, Robert Zane, an original settler and member of the 1682 Newton Colony. Edward Collings, a young seed farmer, engaged the services of local carpenter John Ireland. He constructed a late Federal style home built to imitate early Colonial houses that evolved over time with added wings for family expansion.
A further significance of the house is that it remained in the Collings and Knight families until nearly the middle of the 20th century. Only then was it sold out of the original bloodline. Fortunately, in 1967, Charles Chase, the owner, recognized the historic importance of the site and bequeathed the property to the Borough of Collingswood. Between 1825 and 1867 descendants of the Collings family used the farm for agricultural purposes. In 1868 Edward Collings Knight, nephew of the original builder, purchased the farmland and placed it under the care of another cousin, Richard T. Collings, who developed a gentleman’s dairy farm and fostered horse and cattle breeding. EC Knight also established a real estate firm, bought up neighboring tracts and began to lay out and subdivide parcels into development lots. The result was the creation of the Borough of Collingswood in 1888, its centerpiece being a 100 acre triangle – former farmland in front of the homestead – which he entrusted as parkland for the newly formed Borough.
Today the Collings-Knight House stands at the corner of Knight Park as a tribute to the descendants of the founders of the Newton Colony, and the years of agrarian interests they upheld before the 19th century development of Collingswood as a planned suburb of Camden and Philadelphia.
Our next event:
A Dickens of a Christmas Party
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Join us for an afternoon of Dickensian festivities that will feature crafts, music, refreshments, and more! Spend the afternoon with some of Charles Dickens' most beloved characters in a 19th century house decorated for the season. For even more fun, come dressed as your favorite Dickens character! Free to members of the Friends of Collings-Knight House; non-members $5 per person, $10 per family.
Planned for 2015
March 14th: a visit from Lizzie Borden
April 11th: Psychics, Spiritualism and the Victorians
May 16th: Rafael Senseman Exhibit & Open House
June 13th: Beekeeping Demonstration
From 2015-2016 the Collings-Knight House will celebrate 190 years! Join us in celebration of this milestone with programs representing every decade from 1825 to 2015.
All programs are free to members of the Friends of Collings-Knight House; non-members $5 per person, $10 per family. The Collings-Knight House is located at the corner of Collings Avenue and Browning Road in Collingswood, NJ (500 Collings Ave. Collingswood, NJ 08107 for GPS users).