Construction on the Runyon Farmstead Property in Hopewell

Runyon house, 19 W Broad

Construction has begun on the Runyon Farmstead property at 19 West Broad Street, just west of South Greenwood Avenue.

The house is one of the oldest in the borough. It is called the Runyon property for its recent owners, and also is known as the Hopewell Academy property – since this was the site of the Hopewell Baptist Academy from around 1756 to 1767.

Historical marker

Its Hopewell Academy heritage and connection to Brown University is described on the historical marker in front of the property.

The Hopewell Academy was a forerunner of Brown University (and not a direct ancestor or predecessor), as James Manning and other alumni of the Hopewell Academy later moved to Rhode Island and then founded the College of Rhode Island, which became Brown University.

Ongoing photo album tracking construction on the Runyon property:

== See the full set of Runyon Farmstead construction photos ==


As of the last week of May 2023, the construction fence was installed around the Runyon property. Work is proceeding to clear the grounds and mark out the site. Work will then begin on renovating the house, and on the three additional units on the site.

5/31/23 – from W. Broad
5/31/23 – from S. Greenwood

The Development Plan

In December 2021, the Hopewell Borough Planning Board approved the development plan for the Runyon property, which will create four separate duplex units, resulting in a total of eight rental units.

Runyon property Concept Plan, 2020

The original house will be converted into two separate units.

As shown on the plan, two existing barns will be moved on the property and each converted into a duplex unit. A third new barn also will be constructed to provide two more units.

A one-way shared driveway will provide access to all the structures, with the entrance on West Broad Street and the exit on South Greenwood Avenue between the Post Office and the Hopewell Theater. [See MercerMe]

The Property History

By the 1730s, the current Runyon property was part of a large farm tract run by David Stout and family.

19 W Broad [Jones 2003]

The property was purchased around 1747 to serve as the first parsonage for the Hopewell Baptist Church. A portion of the existing building probably dates to around this time

The existing frame dwelling consists of 3 sections, all probably built between c. 1750 and c. 1800.

The large 5-bay main block (left side as viewed from the Broad Street) consists of two sections (3-bay side hall west section and 2-bay east section).

The third section (right side) is a smaller 2-bay wing attached to the west end of the main block.

Reverend Isaac Eaton, the first pastor of the Hopewell Baptist Church, founded the Hopewell Baptist Academy on the site in 1756. This was the first Baptist secondary school established in America, and operated until 1767. The school was apparently run in a separate structure, no longer on the property, and perhaps the farmhouse of David Stout.

After Eaton’s death the building was used for the first tavern in the village, established by Benjamin Blackwell during the 1790s. His son, Daniel Blackwell, continued to run the tavern until around 1840, when the building was returned to its original use as a residential property.

The property was sold to James S. Blackwell in 1854 and passed to Patrick Riley in the same year, and then was acquired by Charles Drake in 1873. It then continued in the Drake family, through John M. Dalrymple, who had a Carriage & Harness Repository in the 1890s, George Newell Holcombe (plumbing) and family in the early 1900s, and then to the Runyons.

Further Reading

== See the full set of Runyon Farmstead construction photos ==

See Hopewell Valley Town References for links to key reference books for historical information on Hopewell Valley places, most of which are available on the site as PDF downloads. See especially the following for more information on the Runyon property:

For more on Hopewell Academy, see:

  • Hopewell Academy (Forerunner of Brown University) and the Lives of Outstanding Graduates (PDF), Dean Ashton (1960)

We welcome other information and materials related to the history of the Hopewell Valley that we can share in this way.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: