As members of the Harmony Township Historical Society, we believe it is our duty to preserve, promote, interpret, conserve and protect our local history. Formed in 2004, the society was born out of a necessity to save the historic Hoff-Vannatta Farmstead.
Prior to 2004, the farm was in extreme disrepair and parts of the house and barn were in danger of catastrophic collapse. The Harmony Township Historic Preservation Commission and the society formed a coalition to protect this local treasure. Emergency stabilization of the house was completed in 2007 and the barn in 2008. In 2014, the wagon houses, also in dilapidated conditions, were dismantled, moved 30 feet from the road and reassembled in a restored capacity. In 2016, the house and summer kitchen exterior repointing was completed.
As we look forward to the next phases of restoration at the farm, we are eager to branch out to serve other needs of historic preservation throughout the township.
Meet the Officers and Trustees
President Susan Gentle
Susan’s adventure into history came early with a fascination for historical novels. In 1959, as a Girl Scout representative at an international event, Sue met the requirement of connecting the history of community to county, county to state, and state to country. In 1976, the bi-centennial celebrations offered Sue an opportunity to become a certified docent with the Montclair Historical Society and the Israel Crane House. She served as a teacher for incoming docents, organized school tours and acted as kitchen docent and historical trustee. After retiring and moving to Harmony Township 15 years ago, Sue discovered her ancestors in the community, with some being buried in the Harmony Presbyterian Church cemetery. Sue and her family are active members of the Harmony Presbyterian Church. Sue joined the Harmony Township Historical Society in 2006 and has served as the kitchen docent at the Hoff Vannatta Farmstead and has helped to write a cookbook for the society. She has served as president of the society since 2016.
Secretary Vicki Stevens
Treasurer Desiree Denker
Desiree has been an active member of the society since 2006. She has also served on the HTHPC from 2010 to 2014 and is currently a sitting member of the Warren County Municipal and Charitable Conservancy Trust Fund Committee, appointed by the Warren County Freeholders to uphold historic and land preservation within Warren County. Prior to serving as treasurer, Desiree served as Vice-President. She is a life-long resident of the township and can trace her heritage back to the early 1800s in the area. She holds a B.A. in History and an M.B.A in Finance from Centenary College. She works in Morris County, NJ for a local credit union as a training administrator. In her free time, she enjoys travel and spending time with her dogs.
Trustee Karen Kapral
Karen has been a member of the Harmony Township Historical Society since 2009 and has been a trustee since 2015. A graduate of Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ, Karen is currently retired. She worked for the State of New Jersey’s Department of Labor as an employment counselor. Karen is a current volunteer for the Warren County Charter of Habitat for Humanity, the Musconetcong Watershed Association and the Easton Farmer’s Market. She also selflessly gives her time as a volunteer for Project of Easton as a GED class tutor. As an active member of her community, she enjoys giving back through these diverse programs.
Trustee Richard Denker
Richard has been an active member of the Harmony Township Historical Society since 2009. He can usually be found in the barn of the Hoff Vannatta Farmstead open houses giving open interpretations. He is a life-long resident of Harmony Township and was born in Montana, Harmony Township. All four of his grandparents and both of his parents resided in the Montana portion of the township and owned farmland in the area that is now Merrill Creek Reservoir. Richard attended Harmony Township Elementary School and graduated from Belvidere High School in 1952. He is retired from Mars, Inc. in Hackettstown, NJ. Since his retirement, Richard and his wife has travelled on more than 20 cruises. He enjoys travelling and cruising the world but also loves coming home to his four dogs.