Beatty House

19 Vandeventer Avenue

Part of The Growth of Nassau Street.

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This house was built in 1780 by Colonel Jacob Hyer, a popular Princeton tavern keeper. It was a relatively expensive home, and it is because Hyer’s tavern was so successful that he could invest so much in his house’s construction. The Hudibras Tavern -- built in 1761 and purchased by Hyer in 1768 -- was one of Princeton’s earlier lodging establishments, which became increasingly prosperous as the route from New York to Philadelphia saw heavier traffic. Boasting twelve rooms, the Hudibras could accommodate forty people (who would customarily have to share beds) and thirty horses. Among its many visitors was future U.S. President John Adams in 1775. Today, Princeton University‚Äôs Firestone Library stands in the historic location of the Hudibras Tavern. Hyer’s private residence was also rather accommodating, and here he frequently hosted various meetings in town.

Post-19th-Century Namesake: Beatty House is named for its most famous owner, Erkuries Beatty, Princeton mayor and state legislator.

Original Sections: central block

Present Use: Robert L. Melrose Center for Christian Leadership, Christian Union

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Beatty House in 1912. The house was moved in 1877, so this is not its original Nassau Street location.
Collection of the Historical Society of Princeton

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Subpoena for Richard Lake to appear at Hyer’s residence for a judicial inquisition. Hyer was an influential public figure and his home often served important public functions before other public spaces in Princeton were built.
Collection of the Historical Society of Princeton

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Plate uncovered in a 1969 archaeological investigation of Jacob Hyer’s Hudibras Tavern.
Collection of the Historical Society of Princeton