Dr. Sylvester Van Syckel House
The first appearance in Hunterdon County Property records of the land that became 46 Leigh Street is in March 1847, when Caleb Halstead buys land in Clinton Township from the estate of Peter Alpaugh of New York City. The house that now stands at this address was probably begun in 1852 by Augustus Kline during the eleven years he lived there, and continued by Nehemiah Stiger, who probably added the imposing Greek Revival front to the house when he owned the house between 1863 and and 1868, and by Dr. Sylvester Van Syckel during his family's forty year residence starting in 1868.
It is a relatively high-style Greek Revival 2-story, single depth structure with prominent paneled corner pilasters and denticulated entabulature, 5 bays wide, with a slate roof and stuccoed foundation, and brick, corbeled chimney stacks in both interior end gables. A portico in matching Grecian style is centered before a recessed entrance of Federal mien with an enframement incorporating an overdoor fanlight, sidelights and narrow paired pilasters greet visitors to this historic property. The property also has important outbuildings which contribute to its historic significance, including a 2-bay frame, clapboarded, flat-roofed shed and a 2-story barn-like structure that once served as a livery stable. The hitching post at street edge remains.
Dr. Van Syckel moved to Clinton in 1851 after finishing his residency and the quarantine hospital in New York City and established a medical practice here. He married Mary Charhart here in 1853 and they purchased the property in 1868. Mary and her childres sold the property to John R. Gibbs of Somerville. Gibbs installed his dental office and surgery in the front left parlor of the house. The Gibbs family moved to New York City in 1935 and sold their home to Elizabeth Grandin.
Elizabeth Grandin was the daughter of one of Hunterdon County's wealthiest families and let a life devoted to art. She became known as a disciple of Robert Henri, a key painter of the Ashcan school known for its scenes of urban life. By 1935 she has her own studio in Paris, helped found the New York Society of Women Artists and exhibited in major New York galleries. Photos from this period show 46 Center Street filled with exquisite antique furniture and old-timers remember the tea she gave in 1940 to show the restoration of her gracious home. The hemlock and holly tress in the yard probably date from the Grandin period.
In 1945, Joseph and Margaret DeCleene buy 46 Center Street. The DeCleene's run the Clinton house, which for over 200 years has been the watering hole for the town's movers and shakers. They are followed by Elizabeth Grandin's cousin, Louise Grandin Mastrangel and her husband George in 1950, Chris and Trish Newton in 1983 and the Insel's in 2000.