The Van Allen House
Oakland Historical Society
3 Franklin Avenue & Route 202
Oakland, NJ 07436
Open: Seasonally; please check their website
The Van Allen House in 2023 during the next History Coalition
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.
The Van Allen House during the renovation in 2023 with the added dormers
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. IN 2023, the renovations of the upstairs had been completed and the home was replastered and painted. Most of the artifacts were stored in a few rooms that were being finished.
The kitchen is as you enter the home
During the renovation, a lot of the artifacts were being stored in the addition to the house that took place in the early 1800’s. Many of the things that had been donated were showcased in this room off the kitchen and shows the wide variety of the society’s collection. There were all sorts of items from the home, decorative pieces and a variety of things that would have been used at the house as it being a working farm. There were also many Native American artifacts.
Some of the artifacts in the downstairs room
Artifacts in the room downstairs
Household items donated to the society
More household items of the Van Allen House
More artifacts of the Van Allen House Collection
The vast array of items in the downstairs addition of the house will be used all over the house once the renovation is completed sometime in the next two years. There was still a lot to do around the house. There had been so much damage to the house over the years that it needed a major renovation.
The upstairs had been finished with the addition of the domers which a few of the society members had said that these were not part of the original house. They can debate about it but the house looks really nice with them and makes the house look realistic. Still from what the people said that they were not part of the original design.
You could see the vast improvement in the house over the last three years and the extent of the work that had been done already. All the outstairs rooms had been plastered and painted. The rooms looked very modern,
The upstairs has been nicely restored
The upstairs rooms now house many of the home furnishings of the collection along with clothes and personal items of families that have donated them over the years. The upstairs is just finishing the renovation so things will have to be organized in the future but at least you can see the things that the Historical Society has in the collection.
Household items in the collection upstairs
Clothing and bedding items at the Van Allen House
The smaller bedroom of the Van Allen House
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 upstairs beams leading to the bedrooms
The toy collection at the top of the stairs
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).
Household items at the Van Allen House
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).
Items in the family collection
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).
The Children’s bedroom at the Van Allen House
During the year we offer opportunities from 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 Van Allen House on that gloomy Saturday morning
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
- Bergen County, NJ "Northwest Bergen Historical Coalition" Event
- Experiences and Tours
- Exploring Historic Bergen County
- Exploring Oakland NJ
- Gilded Age homes of the Hudson River Valley
- Historic Homes of New Jersey
- Historic Sites in New Jersey
- Small Historical Societies in New Jersey
- Small Museums and Galleries in New Jersey
3 thoughts on “The Van Allen House/Oakland Historical Society 3 Franklin Avenue & Route 202 Oakland, NJ 07436”
The Van Allen House is open only at certain times of the year so please check their site for when it is open.
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The Van Allen Home is currently going though a renovation and restoration and will be open again in the Fall of 2019.
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The Van Allen House is almost finished with their restoration and renovation. The house still needs some work but you can view the collections and the grounds now when the house is open for touring. I got to see again Post-COVID in 2023.
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