Belvidere is a town that values and celebrates its past. The Historic Preservation Commission works with homeowners in the Historic District to keep the structures from being any more compromised than they already are. We love the town and the historic period it represents. It was a rich era, with building into new areas, exploration, new technologies, and Belvidere had it all. We have a lot to offer for tourism, shopping, hiking, boating (there is a boat launch site just below the Riverton-Belvidere Bridge), birding, eating, and history. The Historic Society for Warren County has a museum on Mansfield Street at the edge of the Historic District where they have many records of early times in Warren County. They are open most Sunday afternoons and have special programs during Victorian Days.
As stated in the nomination form to the National Register of Historical Places, "the Belvidere Historical District is significant in that much of the physical evidence of the development and growth of this nineteenth-century county seat remains. In the street plan and in the scale and spacing of the individual structures can be traced the evolution of an agglomerate settlement into a small town with differentiated residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial areas. There is a psychological dimension as well. The court house remains the focal point around which the community revolves. In spite of such alterations as aluminum siding and the removal of some key buildings, the ambiance of the nineteenth century county seat has been preserved as no where else in the state."
A tract of land north of the Pequest River was granted to William Penn around 1716. Major Robert Hoops came into possession of the northern tract around 1770. He later sold a portion he owned south of the Pequest, and a small piece north of the river at the mouth where it flows into the Delaware River, to Robert Morris, who transferred the title of the northern tract to his daughter and her husband in 1792. Hoops retained most of the property north of the river until around 1800 when Thomas Paul and Joseph Hyndshaw acquired the property. Garret D. Wall acquired the land in 1825 and had it surveyed into lots and streets. The Historic District contains most of the land as it was laid out in 1825 and had been developed by 1900. The town is bisected by the Pequest River with about one-third north of the river and two-thirds south. The river's drop in elevation during the last mile before meeting the Delaware River made it ideal for a number of mills to be constructed. A mill race and pond were created to power the mills. Of the 260 major buildings in the district, the majority date from the nineteenth century, and are architecturally of the building style known as "Victorian". Some styles represented in the district are known as Georgian or Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic, Italianate, and Queen Anne. In the early twentieth century there was a boom of homes added to the edges of, and just outside of, the district we know as "Sears Craftsman Bungalows." They were frame 2-1/2 story hipped roof structures.
Belvidere celebrates its Victorian roots with a late spring event that coincides with the Belvidere Garden Club's annual garden tour and is run by the Belvidere Women's Club. The club had the first event in June of 2015 and is gearing up for its second year on Saturday, June 11th.
The second Victorian celebration is held the weekend after Labor Day, the 10th and 11th of September, 2016, which will be its 29th year. There are house tours, Victorian Teas, antique, craft, and food vendors, carriage rides, cemetery tours, walking tours, live entertainment, an antique/vintage car show, and Victorian era demonstrations.