The Old Stone House
538 Island Road
Ramsey, NJ 07446
Open: Four times a year, for special events and by special appointment only. Call for hours.
Fee: Voluntary donations
I visited ‘The Old Stone House’ during the Northwest Bergen History Coalition’s 8th Annual History Day. This Dutch stone farmhouse is one of the oldest buildings in Ramsey, NJ. It has been known as the Westervelt-Ackerson House to the families that built it and have lived in it in the past. The house is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
The house sits on a bluff that overlooks the highway but at one time was a 300 acre farm. The house’s furnishings on the first floor are period to the house with some of the original doors and windows of the house. There are still many original features in the house.
The first floor has a exhibit on the armed services and off to the side of the house which had once served as a antique shop to the last two owners of the house is a general store exhibition. On the second floor are two children’s displays, one of toys and the other is set up like a school. There are period furnishings and children’s playthings in both rooms. The upstairs was finished off the house in the 1920’s.
The barn off to the side of the house was moved to the property and holds a collection of period farm equipment.
The house had been used as a private home for most of its history as well as a tavern during the late 1700 to early 1800’s. In the modern age, it was used as a antique store for the last two residents.
During the holidays, there is a big Christmas ‘Sinterklaas Festival’ (Dutch Christmas) that happens in early December.
The History of the house:
The house has had many owners who have put their own touches to the ownership of the house. The original part of the house was built around 1746 by the original owner of the house, Jan Westervelt. This may have been part of the land leased to Uriah and Ruloff Westervelt in 1744. The land was part of the Ramapough Tract for the Proprietors and was from Peter Fauconier, one of its original purchasers (RHS).
The Ramapough Tract is situated between the Ramapo Mountains and the Saddle River. It was purchased from the Indians on November 18, 1709 and it was acknowledged by the Indians at Tappan before Cornelius Harring, the Justice of the Peace. The land was passed through the Westervelt family through the early 1800’s until it was sold outside the family in 1837.
From there the house had multiple owners until it was sold to the State of New Jersey in 1955 and is now leased to the borough of Ramsey for a dollar and is maintained by the Ramsey Historical Society.