Drake House Museum
Plainﬁeld’s historic link with its past, was built in 1746 by Isaac Drake as a home for his son, Nathaniel. Today it is a city-owned public museum administered by the Historical Society of Plainﬁeld.
It was at the Drake House that George Washington consulted with his officers during and after the Battle of Short Hills fought over the entire Plainﬁeld area on June 25-27, 1777. Nathaniel Drake, his wife, Dorothy, and his daughters Sarah and Phebe, were all patriots. The sons of the family, Abraham, Cornelius and Isaac, served in the Essex and Somerset Counties militia, and their freed slave, Caesar, was a wagoner with the Continental forces. Washington and his officers were often entertained here when they were in the area on military maneuvers.
The original farmhouse was a typical New Jersey one- and-a-half-story building with four rooms and a lean-to kitchen on the first floor, and a loft above. In 1864, it was purchased from the Drake family by John S. Harberger of New York City, president of the Manhattan Banking Company, which later became the Chase Manhattan Bank. Harberger made many architectural changes in accordance with current Victorian tastes. He extended the downstairs hall, and added the library. By raising the roof, he made the loft into a music room, and the towers he built completed the architectural style we see today.
In the Drake House, the first-floor kitchen, bedroom and dining room are typical of those in homes of the 18th century. Parlor furnishings represent the late Empire and early Victorian time.