William Ward House
Built 1770
105 Pulis Avenue, block 2701, Lot 2
Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417 

The William Ward House is situated in the northern most part of Franklin Lakes near the Mahwah border on 4 acres of land. The house sits about 15 to 20 feet from the south side of Pulis Avenue with the gable end facing the roadway and the façade is oriented eastward. A rubble stone retaining wall is along the roadway and drive entry on the north side. A picket fence continues along the roadway from the east side of the drive. A gravel drive passes about 15 feet along the east side of the house leading to a recently added three car garage.

A future road widening of Pulis Avenue would have a definite negative effect on this structure.

The William Ward House, like other late 18th to early 19th century homesteads in Franklin Lakes, is difficult to date because the original structure is incorporated within later additions and modifications. However, the Borough of Franklin Lakes lists the construction year as 1770.  The first remodeling possibly dates from the early 19th century; the latest addition possibly dates from the early 20th century. The exterior walls are mainly clap board; some of the newer additions have brick walls. The original structure has a gable with a flare, one central and one exterior end chimney, one of the newer structures has a central interior chimney in the gable while another has an interior end chimney in the gable. The earliest structure has a paneled rectangular entrance door with rectangular transom, flanked by square pilasters and recent lanterns. There are two 20th century dormers, shingle sheathing here and the gable ends. Later owners replaced the entrance steps and it appears like the roof was reworked around the turn of the century. The first addition has three eyebrow windows in the 2nd floor with 3/3 panes. Another addition on the south side of the house has a rectangular paneled entrance door. The most recent addition has a three-bay entrance porch with plain square posts-replacement porch floor and foundation. The central entrance door has a rectangular transom flanked by square pilasters and heavy architrave trim.


The William Ward House is located along one of the earliest roadways through the Borough of Franklin Lakes and is a significant remnant of the historical development of Franklin Lakes as a farming community in the late 18th, 19th and early 20th century. It is reminiscent of the farmsteads which once dotted the landscape prior to the recent suburban housing boom.

According to local tradition the house is thought to be 200 years old because the fire backs for the fireplaces were made by the Pompton Furnace which operated between 1711-1729 (Maria Braun  1976). But the successive enlargements and remodeling of this structure is architecturally significant since it illustrates the evolution from a small farmstead to a modern suburban home. Other interior architectural features include wide floor boards, large ceiling beams and sandstone fireplace mantel in the present dining room. The exact building chronology of the William Ward House is very difficult to ascertain on the basis of the exterior evidence alone and a close interior inspection is needed.

However, it is known from an old deed the William Ward and his wife Anne sold the house to Henry W. Pulis in 1852 and that he willed the 47 acre farm to his son Henry J, Pulis in 1865. Both, the Ward and Pulis families, were early settlers in Franklin Lakes and they established numerous farms and mills in the area in the early part of the 19th century.

The William Ward House is privately owned and occupied.

The William Ward House is listed in the following references: 

  1. 1861 – Hopkins Wall Map - illegible
  2. 1876 – Walker’s Atlas – H. Pulis
  3. 1902 – Robinsons’ Map – Rogers (H.J. Pulis)
  4. 1913 – Bromley’s Atlas – Rogers
  5. 1976 – Maria Braun – “Franklin Lakes History” and N.J. Historic Preservation Form
  6. 1978 -  Junior League Inventory – c. 1715 oldest section, c. 1850 new section