The Ford-Faesch House was built in 1768 by Colonel Jacob Ford Jr. prior to his construction of the Ford mansion in Morristown that served as Washington's Headquarters. Striking architectural similarities to the Ford Mansion are apparent in the earlier 12-room house. Its unique location on a promontory overlooking the valley gives it an impressive appearance. It is the last of several houses of ironmasters who shaped the political, economic and social development of this valley, known as "the Arsenal of Independence" of our republic.
From the start, the house was planned to be spacious and elegant. Three rooms are high-ceilinged for the times, and the woodwork surrounding the tall windows of the remaining five bears witness to the desire to construct a handsome and impressive residence.
This three-story Georgian house was built of native stone, quarried nearby, at a cost of £1400. Its walls are three feet thick. There are 12 rooms and at least six English-style fireplaces are in the center of the house. There is a smokehouse in the attic.
A Victorian front porch, fancy eave ornaments and a bay window were added to the original structure.
John Jacob Faesch
In 1770, Jacob Ford Jr. leased the house, surrounding hills and iron workings to John Jacob Faesch. Faesch had come to America from Basel, Switzerland in 1764 as ironmaster for the London Company that owned the Ringwood Mine. During the Revolution, Faesch produced supplies and ammunition for the Continental army, and was respected as a patriot, a civic leader and a country judge. He was named a trustee of the Morristown Academy and was a delegate to the Provincial Congress that made New Jersey a state.
In 1772 he leased the house from Colonel Jacob Ford Jr. and shortly thereafter purchased the works and the surrounding 6000 acres.
The House After Faesch
Faesch lived in the house until 1780 when he moved to Morristown. The house was then occupied by David Ford, a nephew of Jacob Ford, Jr., the builder. Faesch later moved to Boonton, where he died in 1799.
In the more than 170 years since Faesch's death, the mansion has been occupied by subsequent mine owners and superintendents. In 1931 the mansion was converted into a two-family house and was occupied until 1973.