The Port Mercer Canal House was built in the 1830's next to a swing bridge over the Delaware and Raritan Canal to house the bridgetender and his family. The D&R Canal provided a safe and short waterway from Philadelphia to New York City from its opening in 1834 until 1932. From approximately 1900 to 1934, the bridgetender was John Arrowsmith, who lived there with his wife and eight children. The D&R Canal and the canal houses on its banks are now a New Jersey State Park. The Lawrence Historical Society has restored the Port Mercer Canal House to the 1890-1920 time period. The downstairs kitchen addition was made circa 1900. The beautiful gardens, which include a pre-Civil War outhouse, are a particular highlight of the June open house event. The house now serves as headquarters for the Society. The Canal House and the Port Mercer area are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.