Debbie and Michael Hillman’s historic home in Westville, Gloucester County, dates to 1746, but what has given them the most enjoyment from the property dates back centuries.
“We’ve enjoyed the proximity to the water so much,” Debbie says. “The hours and hours we’ve spent on the creeks, rowing and kayaking.
“You can go for miles out on Timber Creek or the Delaware River. There’s lots of wildlife.”
But now it’s time to move on to retirement near even more water: the Jersey Shore.
“We’re a little torn" about selling, says Debbie, until recently the administrative director of a research center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “We have such great memories.”
While the basic structure of the Thomas West House, a four-bedroom, three-bath brick Colonial, is almost 300 years old, major additions were made in 1819 and the early 1900s. The borough was named for West.
In researching the house when they bought it in 2001, the Hillmans discovered that an ancestor of Michael Hillman, who is an IT consultant, served with Thomas West in the Revolutionary War.
The house is also believed to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves fleeing to the North.
Fast forwarding 200 years or so, the Hillmans totally remodeled the kitchen, installing new cabinets, modern appliances, and new flooring while at the same time trying to keep it looking as if it belonged in the period.
They took a small bedroom that was adjacent to the master bedroom and part of the original 1746 structure and turned it into a dressing room by adding built-in cabinets along both walls and a large walk-in closet.
They also added a patio.
The house features hardwood floors, period wallpaper, four fireplaces, and a large laundry/mud room.
The property includes a carriage house and an adjacent spring house still in use today for watering the gardens.
The lot has excellent views of the river, and Debbie has particularly enjoyed sitting outside and watching July 4 fireworks on the river.
“It’s a nice, quiet neighborhood,” she says, only about five miles from the Walt Whitman Bridge. “It’s a very warm house, perfect for large gatherings.”
The property is listed with Nancy Casey at BHHS Fox & Roach for $339,000.