OLDEST HOME GETS ITS HISTORICAL DUE

white-house1Red Bank’s oldest house, on South Street, was finally put on the state’s list of historic places last week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A tour of Mary Gilligan’s South Street home is, quite literally, a trip back in time, starting with the walk up the driveway, as you take a look at the white Dutch Colonial. The upstairs windows, shrunken versions of the ones downstairs, are the first sign that something is different about this house.

Is that a one-story or two-story? Actually, it’s a one-and-a-half story.

Then you walk through the front door, which can only be unlocked with a skeleton key, and walk on wide wooden floor boards that have been there since the 1790s. Through a couple short doorways — “For anybody above my height, the rule is, watch your head,” the vertically-challenged Gilligan said — to the kitchen, where Gilligan uses a wooden chopping block and slaughter table, which have been in the home for centuries, to store various kitchen items. Eighteenth century families did not have CuisinArt collections or varieties of Swiffer’s to amass, so storage space is at a premium in Gilligan’s home.

“The hope is to have more cabinets so I can actually put things away,” she said.

One project at a time. Her most recent feat came last week when the house, the oldest in Red Bank, was accept to the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, an endeavor six years in the making.

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