The corner property now called Glen Alpin was once the home site of an important colonial official, Peter Kemble, a longtime member and once president of the royal council governing the English colony of New Jersey. His house was the heart of a 1250-acre plantation, called Mount Kemble, worked by slaves and tenant farmers. During the Revolution, the Continental Army camped on the elderly Kemble’s land (now part of Morristown National Historical Park) and generals William Smallwood and Anthony Wayne were quartered in his modest wood-framed mansion. The graves of Peter Kemble and members of his family remain on this property.
The present house at Glen Alpin was constructed in 1847 as a country home for a wealthy young New York couple, Henry and Frances Hoyt. The stone villa was built in the newly fashionable Gothic Revival style, featuring steep gables, elaborate trim and latticed windows. It remains one of the best models of that style in New Jersey and is the earliest remaining example of the substantial country houses built around Morristown in the nineteenth century. The Hoyts called it Mount Kemble, keeping the old estate’s name.
David Hunter McAlpin, a successful manufacturer and investor, purchased Mount Kemble in 1885 and renamed it Glen Alpin. McAlpin added the glass conservatory, the red tile roof, and porches. McAlpin’s son Charles and his wife Sara added a library and elaborate gardens, featured in national magazines, after inheriting the property in 1901.
The next owner, Princess Farid es-Sultaneh, American born and divorced from a Persian prince, made few major changes when she lived at Glen Alpin from 1940-1963. Subsequent owners gave the house the coat of white paint and removed porches.
Photographs of the house taken during the McAlpin period (1885-1940) will guide the rehabilitation.