About the Houghton-Smith House
1766 was the year Ezekiel Smith died in this house.
So Marcia named the business after him. The house was part of the old Stony Brook Quaker Settlement near what would become the Princeton Battlefield. He was an old Quaker (or Friend, as Quakers call themselves) who died without a will. As was done in such cases, the county conducted an inventory of his personal estate; and found in his Common Room were “a cooking fireplace large enough for two cranes and trammels, 17 chairs, 21 plates,” and table enough for frequent entertaining; for it was noted among the other old Quakers at the nearby Meeting House that Ezekiel Smith had been a “fast-living Friend.”
“Living here is a little like being in a time warp. The quiet symmetry of an 18th Century house can make you forget the outside world.”
Originally part of the original Stony Brook Quaker Settlement, it was built by (Friend) John Houghton about 300 years ago. It was then owned by Friend Ezekiel Smith, Paul Tulane (the wealthy industrialist of Tulane University fame), and various colorful characters, including a litigious brigand, and a well-respected doctor who was on occasion a bit into his cups. The house was on the 2009 Historic Home Tour, and on Lawrenceville’s 2011 Hidden Homes Tour. It can also be seen in the book Princeton: History and Architecture by Marilyn Menago.
People are often curious how this all came together.
Marcia is still amazed as well. It is a perfect combination of her husband’s passion for history and hers for foodways, cooking, and teaching. The house was renovated with careful attention to its Quaker and colonial roots. But the kitchen had to be completely rebuilt, and was done so with a more modern interpretation of that Quaker colonial simplicity.
“We never would have planned this,” she says. “But here it is, and we’d love to share it with you!”