The Meekses

In 1921, Ludlow Meeks and Louise Meeks purchased the 8.25-acre property. In 1930, Meeks was an insurance agent. Their daughters lived with them; Alice, was a teacher and Eleanor, a secretary. At some point in the early 1930s, the State of New Jersey reduced the property to 6.62 acres by taking the eastern edge of the property for rerouting of State Highway 23 through the meadows and out of the center of town. According to Eleanor Bogert, following the opening of the Route 23 in 1936, the Meekses opened a few rooms of the house for dining calling it the “Stone House Inn.” The Meekse’s had their kitchen in the basement in the northeast corner. They installed a dumbwaiter to bring up food for the restaurant; it remains in the basement but was removed from the upstairs by the next owner. The Meekse’s also installed a small lavatory in the northeast corner room of the first floor as well as a small sink to wash salads for the restaurant. The parking lot for the restaurant was south of the house on Route 23; they added the stone steps that connect this area to the house. The Meekse’s had chickens and built the chicken house that remains today.

The restaurant did not do well and the Meekses struggled. In 1938 during the Great Depression the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation foreclosed on the property and held it for four years before finding a buyer. During the litigation the Meekses moved out of the house and rented it to Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Mitton who ran a riding academy on the property, although the barns were already gone.

Transcribed from HMR Architects Martin Berry House Preservation Plan.