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Gone—never to be seen again!

Cinnaminson Township loses another historic house

Gone—never to be seen again!

Anyone with an eye for history that travels Riverton Road with regularity will notice something missing in recent weeks: the white house that formerly graced the tract of land now being transformed into Green Briar Estates. I foolishly thought Ryan Homes would work around this historic house and preserve it for it future generations, but the developer apparently saw no value in keeping an old house. Once the homestead of Dr. Joseph Warrington, this house stood on land owned by the Warrington family since 1732, when progenitor Henry Warrington purchased a 400-acre plantation from Samuel Parr. The land passed down through the Warrington family through various estate proceedings until Dr. Joseph Warrington, great-grandson of the original Henry, received a portion of the family farm through inheritance. Born in September 1805, Dr. Warrington graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1828 and became a brilliant physician in Philadelphia. He soon specialized in obstetrics and founded an early birthing hospital in 1837 and often placed newspaper ads offering charitable care to women who could not afford to pay his fees. His professional acumen garnered him a great reputation and a large practice, but the work brought him to almost complete exhaustion. He retired to his farm along Riverton Road in 1854, but threw himself into agriculture and worked almost as hard as he did in medicine. The 1859 Burlington County map labels his home:

 

He finally retired from farming and moved to Moorestown in 1875, selling the farm to Judge William Parry, as depicted on the 1876 Burlington County atlas plate of Cinnaminson Township:

 

Since I never had the opportunity to examine the house in detail, it is unclear to me whether portions of the dwelling dated to eighteenth century, but photographs and my memory certainly suggests that was the case.

While Cinnaminson Township transitioned from a farming to a suburban community following the Second World War, there are still a selection of old farmsteads and houses that dot the local landscape if you know where to look, but today that list has grown shorter with Ryan Homes’ shortsighted decision to demolish this reminder of an old and gentler time in Cinnaminson Township.

Best regards,

Jerseyman

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Sean McDonough December 25, 2012 at 11:40 AM
It's reasons like these that whenever a developer plans on building and there lies a historical structure on the property, the TWP must provision it in that the structure must be kept and a memorial or something be erected so it can be visited as a historical property thought the town. Justus $.02
Beth Bresnahan December 27, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Broke my heart!
noyb December 28, 2012 at 05:36 PM
when Ryan homes started the project it was supposed to be kept there. In fact they were going to redo the house and sell it. Now for what I heard... the inside fo the house was destroyed. it had been stripped fo all water, sewer and electric the structure was aparently way far beyond repair. Termites and water damage to the structure itself was aparently overwhelming. I was told they had no choise but to take it down. FWIW.... still sad to see a piece of history go away.
Ric December 28, 2012 at 06:07 PM
The last time I saw that house its front was being bulldozed and that broke my heart. I doubt that it would have fallen into such disrepair if it was a few hundred feet down the road in Moorestown. Yes, of course, Cinnaminson needs to preserve those old houses. If not, it will not be long before there is any houses in this town older than possibly the development homes of Byrnwood Square which date back to the 1950's. By the way, I appreciate the maps and the history you shared. Now I know who owned my land back then. The history page at the township website tells little other than Indians once lived here and Cinnaminson broke off from Chester Township in 1875. Do you know of any websites that tell more about our town? My knowledge is limited to: Much, if not all, of Wellington Park in the 1950’s was part of an estate called Pin Oaks owned by the Dunn family and they raised racing horses. Where Poet’s Walk is now was once where the Dorrance family mansion stood and where John Dorrance of Campbell Soup died.
Jerseyman December 29, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Did anyone besides Ryan Homes know of the pending demolition? Prior to the razing, Ryan could have retained a consultant to conduct the equivalent of a HABS (Historic American Building Survey) of the house, which includes large-format photographs and measured drawings of the dwelling. The township should require this process to be completed for any historic buildings that faces demolition as the only resort. Preservation, of course, is always the preferred option!
Jerseyman December 29, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Ric: Thank you for your comments and we share the same sentiments about the loss of this house. I agree that the township website provides very little substantive historical information. The two narratives that the late Lloyd Griscom prepared contains errors and many omissions. I am in the process of assembling a blog to impart a better level of Cinnaminson Township history. There is not much there yet, but you can check back from time to time: cinnaminsonhistory.wordpress.com. You will currently find a transcription of Judge William Parry's 1874 account of the township (which does contain errors) and a copy of my post here about the Warrington House with the maps inserted in the proper places. I am presently preparing a history of North Pennsville, later named Parry. I hope to write articles on every known place name within the current bounds of Cinnaminson. These articles will be illustrated with maps, photographs, and other graphics. BTW, the state legislature created Cinnaminson Township from Chester County in 1860 and the old Dorrance family mansion was originally the home of William Parry, who founded Pomona Nurseries. Best regards, Jerseyman
Jerseyman December 30, 2012 at 12:57 PM
dajoepa75: Thank you for the kudos. I am hoping to have my North Pennsville/Parry article up on the blog in the next week or so. I still have some research to conduct before I can complete my writing. Best regards, Jerseyman
Ric December 30, 2012 at 03:49 PM
@dajoepa. Back in the 1960’s when my family signed the contract with the developer my neighborhood was nothing more than sandy clay. We were told that the rich topsoil that was there had been sold by the developer and carted off so the land could be contoured. After the house was built, he put in that thin layer of veneer like topsoil all of us know so well whenever we plant anything more than a flower.

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