The “Home Farm”
Originally built by Benjamin Hooton in 1800, fellow Quakers William and Tacie Paul purchased the farm that came to be known as Paulsdale in 1883.
The Paul family farm encompassed 173 acres of orchards, farm crops, and grazing land for a small herd of dairy cows. The 2-½ story stucco farmhouse currently stands on six acres of the original property and personifies the family’s traditional Hicksite Quaker values in its modest style and lasting construction. The Hicksite Quakers, as they were called by their less conservative brethren, favored the solitude and simplicity of agrarian life.
Born at Paulsdale on January 11, 1885, Alice Paul lived at the “home farm” until she left to attend Swarthmore College in 1901. As a child, she often played on the house’s wrap-around porch and read under the broad canopy of the Copper Beech tree, which still shades the front yard. The Pauls actively farmed their land until the 1950s, when they sold the property in two parcels: 167 acres of farmland and 6 acres, including the house which became a private residence.
Founded in 1984 to preserve Alice Paul’s legacy and further her ideals, The Alice Paul Institute purchased the house in 1990 and launched the organization’s headquarters. Paulsdale is listed on both the U.S. and the New Jersey National Registers of Historic Places. Less than 4% of National Historic Landmarks commemorate the work of a woman, placing Paulsdale in the small group of historic sites that honor the legacy of significant women in American history. It is also one of the only locations open to the public on the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail.
Architecturally, Paulsdale demonstrates the modern practice of adaptive reuse, a process for adapting old buildings for new uses while retaining their historic features. Today it serves as a living monument to Alice Paul’s memory and the principles of equality to which she devoted her life. As the Alice Paul Institute, Paulsdale now serves a unique mission as a women’s heritage and girls’ leadership development center. Each year, API welcomes thousands of students, Girl Scouts, and history enthusiasts to tour the house and take part in leadership training.
Serving as classroom and exhibit space, the first floor of the house showcases Alice’s diplomas, family mementos, and suffrage memorabilia. API’s administrative offices are located on the second floor, and the third floor houses the Alice Paul Archives and Women’s History Library. Paulsdale is handicapped accessible (first floor only) with a wheelchair ramp and an accessible bathroom. The property has 35 parking spaces and can also accommodate buses. The Alice Paul Institute holds programs both inside and on the grounds, depending on the weather and type of event. Outdoor events can be held on the porch for small gatherings, or under a tent for larger groups.