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Built as a community church in 1844, this house is commendable

Cindy Dunham wasn’t particularly surprised when her home attracted a buyer just a week after it was on the market.

It had a spontaneous appeal similar to the converted church in the nineteenth century in 11 Mountain Church Street in Hopewell When she first saw him 22 years ago.

“I was under contract to buy a place on a new development in Princeton, but I backed out (when there were contract issues),” Dunham recalls. “I came home and the same night saw a little advertisement in the local paper for this house in Hopewell.”

Dunham called the owner, then set out to see the 2,500-square-foot home that sits on 1.7 acres.

“It was like a fantasy land, all lit up by these big windows,” she said. “I haven’t seen what’s inside yet, but I knew I wanted to live there and was willing to pay the asking price.”

An initial contract was drawn up the next morning.

As Dunham soon discovered, the interior design is great, too.

A ‘For Sale’ listing was published earlier this month by Marc Jacobson of Weidel Realtors-Flemington He notes that the ‘one-of-a-kind’ house was constructed as a church circa 1844 and ‘years later, it was converted and expanded into its current 3 bedroom 2 bathroom residence while retaining much of its original character. Special features include an impressive barrel-domed room and oversized windows, wide millwork and the still-functioning church bell.”

“Yes, everyone who comes to visit rings the bell,” laughed Dunham. “That’s what you have to do.”

The open space first floor, the “original vaulted worship hall”, is used as the kitchen, dining and living area. An expansion in the late 1920s added three more rooms, and locals Randall and Janet Payne, who owned the house before Dunham, built a second-story loft and large garage. Dunham said she had the interior finishing work done when she moved in in 2000.

Dunham, an ophthalmologist who owned the Princeton Eye Institute at the time, chose the site to be close to her clinic. She lived there alone until she married in 2009 and was joined by her husband and two children.

Dunham said she learned from neighbors that the building served as a “simple community church” long before it was turned into a residence. Sponsors come on a rotating basis to conduct services.

“It was only called Mount Hopewell Christian Church,” she said. “There will be dinner twice a year to raise money to pay taxes.”

Besides the church bell, other relics from the building’s previous life as a place of worship include a surviving piece of stained glass on display and a notice of service times hung on one of the doors.

“We have pulpits upstairs, vestments, foldable chairs, and chants,” Dunham said. “Someone stopped and gave me a really cool old picture of the house.”

Dunham noted that “someone stopping at” was not an unusual occurrence on Mountain Church Road. She said the neighborhood has a strong sense of community, with “wonderful, wonderful people.”

“I was told when I moved here that everyone hosted a party in the neighborhood and that my house was for a Christmas party,” she recalls.

After her retirement, Dunham moved with her teenage daughter to a 465-acre farm in Kentucky. She admits that she will miss the close-knit community at her Hopewell home, but now she has another outfit to keep her buddies together.

“Let’s see, at last count, there were 25 pigs, 27 cows, 30 ducks, 20 chickens . . . and don’t forget the dogs, 15 dogs, three cats, five rabbits . . . .”

Here is a view of the ceiling from a second floor loft.Courtesy of Weidel Realtors-Flemington

11 Mountain Church Street, Hopewell

A sign kept above the door announces the church’s previous prayers.Courtesy of Weidel Realtors-Flemington

11 Mountain Church Street, Hopewell

The kitchen area, which includes a breakfast bar and large pantry, is located below the second floor loft.Courtesy of Weidel Realtors-Flemington

11 Mountain Church Street, Hopewell

The loft offers a close-up view of the vaulted ceiling of the former church.Courtesy of Weidel Realtors-Flemington

11 Mountain Church Street, Hopewell

Looking down from the loft into the open first floor area.Courtesy of Weidel Realtors-Flemington

11 Mountain Church Street, Hopewell

Several large windows are suitable for brightly lit rooms.Courtesy of Weidel Realtors-Flemington

11 Mountain Church Street, Hopewell

This is one of two full bathrooms in the house.Courtesy of Weidel Realtors-Flemington

11 Mountain Church Street, Hopewell

This is one of the rooms added later to the previous church.Courtesy of Weidel Realtors-Flemington

11 Mountain Church Street, Hopewell

Bedroom with skylights.Courtesy of Weidel Realtors-Flemington

11 Mountain Church Street, Hopewell

The open space on the first floor includes a dining area. Note the former church sign above the door.Courtesy of Weidel Realtors-Flemington

11 Mountain Church Street, Hopewell

A covered porch connects the house to the garage.Courtesy of Weidel Realtors-Flemington

11 Mountain Church Street, Hopewell

The house is located on an area of ​​1.7 acres.Courtesy of Weidel Realtors-Flemington

11 Mountain Church Street, Hopewell

This shows one of the bathroom settings.Courtesy of Weidel Realtors-Flemington

Are you an active agent, buyer or seller in this changing market? Do you have tips about the real estate market in New Jersey? Unusual lists? let’s know.

Patrick O’Shea can be reached at [email protected].

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#Built #community #church #house #commendable

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