It's going to be history heaven this weekend for lovers of Township's rich historic past. The township's Woodbridge Township Historic Preservation Commission is hosting a sold-out tour of points of interest in the Estate section of Colonia, including entry to some of the stately homes.
Thirteen historic sites will be included on the tour on Sunday, May 6. Originally known as Houghtenville from at least 1850, the name change to Colonia to make it more attractive was done by the Cone family in 1894.
The Cones, along with the Savage and Pattison families, developed the farms and trees of the area into a country retreat, a 'Colony' of monied, expatriate New Yorkers looking for a home away from the city. They planned a small enclave of country homes around a golf course and clubhouse, and invited their friends to join them.
The Cone family figures prominently in Colonia's history. Edward G. Cone helped found the Colonia Country Club - one of the stops on the tour - with the purchase of 50 acres of farmland for a golf course in 1897. Cone family members owned or built several of the historic houses on the tour: Kinnekort on the corner of New Dover Road and Colonia Boulevard; what turned into their family homestead, 'The Trees' on New Dover Road; the House of the Four Winds, the first house the family developed, which was purchased by the Pattison family.
In the 1920s, the Cone's only son, Edward, was continuing to spread the word about Colonia. In an effort to get more people to move to 'The Colony', he published a brochure extolling life in Colonia, where they'd enjoy "every modern convenience," minus a trolley.
Cone wanted prospects to experience "...the pleasure of living in real country, and not a crowded suburb," the brochure said.
These houses, and well as and many others, are on the excursion agenda.
There will be two tours by bus, at 11:30 am and 2 pm, each lasting about two hours will leave from School #2 and #16 parking lot on Outlook and Fairviews Avenues in Colonia.