A picture of the old Francisco canal house, located on Mabey Lane in Lincoln Park, as it looked in 1996. The house was built sometime in the 1850s. Unfortunately it was torn down in 1997.
The Old Canal House
by Richard Mabey Jr.
One of the oldest houses in Lincoln Park was the old canal house on Mabey Lane. It was originally owned by George Francisco, who owned a sawmill that was located near Incline Plane Ten East. This canal house was built in the early 1850s. The amazing thing about this house is that there was not a single nail holding the boards together! The entire house was cleverly constructed with wide beams that were held together by wooden doweling or locked in place by tongue and groove wood cuts.
A rare photo of one of the old beams from the old canal house. Note the use of wood doweling in place of nails. This is a photo of a display that was exhibited at the Lincoln Park Museum, circa Year 2000.
The home was a two-story house and had a large fireplace in the back living room. There are very, very few examples of the architecture style of the old canal houses in the state of New Jersey. In the canal park in Easton, Pennsylvania a canal house (similar to the Francisco residence) still stands. Its structure, appearance, and architecture are amazingly similar to the old canal house that once stood in Lincoln Park.
The old antique map of 1868 that noted the Francisco home and sawmill. This photo was taken in Year 2000, inside the Lincoln Park Museum.
An antique map of 1868 of Beavertown, has the Francisco home noted on it. Also noted on this map is the Francisco Sawmill. The sawmill was less than a block away, in a northwesterly direction from the old canal house. Therefore, George Francisco simply awoke and walked a few yards into the woods to get to work every morning. For those of us who commute a considerable distance to work each weekday morning and deal with congested traffic, George Francisco’s lifestyle seems like a dream come true.
My own artistic interpretation of what the old Francisco Sawmill may have looked like.
Unfortunately, the Francisco canal house was torn down in 1997. Fortunately, the foundation of the old sawmill still remains. The very stream that powered the Francisco Sawmill still passes the sawmill’s foundation, as it did over 150 years ago!