The Van Allen House
Oakland Historical Society
3 Franklin Avenue & Route 202
Oakland, NJ 07436
Open: Seasonally; please check their website
(Closed now for renovation)
I visited the Van Allen House on my first trip on the Northwest Bergen History Coalition 6th Annual History Day tour of Upper Bergen County in 2016 and in 2019. It is mentioned on ‘Day Forty-Three’ of my blog, ‘MywalkinManhattan.com’. It had been my last stop of the day. The historic home is currently closed due to renovations on the house and will open in the Fall of 2019.
Of all my stops that day, I found that the Van Allen House was in need of a renovation. From the outside, it is very quaint. On the inside, the house needed a lot of fixing up and restoration work. The upstairs had water marks all over the ceilings. The gardens also needed some serious weeding and planting.
Van Allen House Gardens
One of the best things of the house is its gift shop. It has some of the most unusual handmade gifts that it was worth the trip out to the house. One of the members makes handmade cloth dolls for $5.00 that are just quaint and make a beautiful gift.
The Oakland Historical Society, who operates the house, was putting a lot of time and effort in the renovations of the house and their volunteers I was told would be working on the gardens. Either way, it is an interesting house to visit and it is steeped in history.
The inside of the Van Allen House
The History of the Van Allen House:
The Van Allen House was built around 1740 as the home of farmer Hendrik Van Allen. During the Revolutionary War, it served as the headquarters for George Washington on July 14, 1777. At the time, he moving his troops from Morristown, NJ to New York (Wiki).
In 1778 and 1779, Bergen County used the house as a court. Edward Day Page, a dairy farmer, businessman and Oakland’s second mayor, owned the house as well as the northern fourth of Oakland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (Wiki).
It was saved from demolition by the Oakland Historical Society with aid from the Woman’s Club of Oakland. It is now maintained as a museum displaying colonial Dutch life. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 24, 1973. There were several branches of the family in the Paterson, Passaic and Bergen Counties in New Jersey (Wiki).
The Oakland Historical Society:
The mission of the Oakland Historical Society (Oakland, NJ) is to bring to life and help maintain the history of the Borough of Oakland by activating and preserving especially the Van Allen House site, with the Vygeberg Farm Office Building and by keeping a museum there showing living displays and memories of Oakland’s past. We support living displays and memories of Oakland’s past. We support the Borough’s efforts to continue and complete the renovations of both buildings with the help of the Bergen County Office of Historic Preservation (OHS).
During the year we offer opportunities fro people to visit the Van Allen House and experience local life as it was in the 18th and 19th Centuries on a farm settlement in northern New Jersey. The Lenni-Lenape Indians are known to have used the path which followed the Ramapo River Valley north and south and has now become an interstate roadway, Route 202, which goes from Maine south into Maryland and beyond. Copies of letters George Washington wrote at the House are available there during open-houses, usually the 3rd or 4th Sunday afternoon many months during the year. Please check our events page to see when the house will be open (OHS).
The site also has a building from 1902, built by Edward Page, one of the industrialists who settled along Route 202 to develop agricultural for the growing cities of Northern New Jersey, such as Paterson or Newark (OHS).
The Van Allen House Marker