Proprietary House in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, United States, is the only proprietary governor's mansion of the original Thirteen Colonies still standing. Overseen by architect and builder John Edward Pryor, construction began in 1762 and was completed in 1764. The Georgian style "mansion" was first occupied by Chief Justice Frederick Smyth by rent and approval of "The Proprietors" on April 10, 1766 to 1773. In May of 1773, the mansion was repaired and fitted to be the residence of the royal governor of New Jersey, and leased by the proprietors as such.
In 1914 a group of Perth Amboy citizens founded the Westminster Historical Society to raise funds to purchase and restore the Proprietary House. In the late 1930s, the house was measured and plans drawn by the Historical American Buildings Survey for a record of this significant property. The plans and photos are held by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Realizing that the importance of the property was as the Proprietary House and not as the Westminster, the Proprietary House Association was incorporated on September 7, 1966, to succeed the Westminster Historical Society. The State was persuaded to purchase the property, and it was placed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
Mainly with volunteer help, the Association cleaned out years of accumulated debris and removed walls which had divided the great rooms. The first two floors were open to visitors in 1976. Gradually, it became recognized that the Proprietary House is of state and national as well as local significance. However, the process of decay continually outpaced the process of restoration. Neither the Association or the State were able to pay for historically accurate restoration.
In 1985 the Restoration Partnership of Boston, with William S. Pavlovsky as a principal, proposed a plan under which the Partnership would lease the house and 3.5 acres of surrounding land for 25 years. At its cost, the Partnership would restore and renovate the exterior, and finish the interior of the 1809 wing and the upper floors of the main block as offices. Income from the offices would reimburse the partnership. The plan was implemented in 1986. The ground and first floors of the original mansion are leased by the State to the Proprietary House Association, which is charged with raising funds for programming, interpretation, and historically accurate restoration.
In late 2011 a historically accurate re-restoration began. Through paint analysis, soon each room on the first floor and basement levels will depict a colorful timeline of its many past occupants. The color of the rooms can now be seen and experienced as they were through the eyes of those viewing them in their era. This museum is a hands-on introduction to the events and people that helped shape this nation's history.
Throughout these phases, the house/museum is always open for tours, events, and exhibits.