In 1817, John Stickle and his wife Effey sold three lots in Newton Township to Sarah Hill, who built a house on the property in 1825, using the area’s native limestone in its construction. Look for the diamond-shaped date stone inscribed with the initials “S.H.” under the western roof peak. In 1836, Sarah conveyed the land and premises to William Drake.
Albert and Nancy Puder bought the stone dwelling in 1851, and lived there while running two successful creameries. Most of the Puders’ farm outbuildings still remain. After Albert’s death, his widow sold their property in 1906 to Frederick Hussey, who added the large east wing and portico.
Mr. Hussey made his fortune in the whaling industry and New York City real estate. In 1957, his son Frederick Hussey II, owner of the Aeroflex Corporation, built the airport facilities and runway now operated by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.
Joseph and Barbara LoRe of Rubicon Arabian Stables purchased the Hussey property in 1985. Eight years later, the property was in foreclosure and owned by the Ramapo Bank.
On September 9, 1994, the NJ Green Acres program purchased the 948-acre property to create Kittatinny Valley State Park. The old farmhouse opened as the KVSP Visitor Center in 2003, and now accommodates the State Park Service-Northern Region staff as well.
Today, over 100 public nature programs and special events are held at the visitor center each year.