Grover Cleveland Birthplace
207 Bloomfield Avenue
Caldwell, NJ 07006
Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday & Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am-12:00pm-1:00pm-4:00pm. Closed on all major holidays.
Fee: Free New Jersey State Park System/Free Parking on premise
My review on TripAdvisor:
I recently visited the birthplace of of our 22nd and 24th President of the United States of America and it is an interesting look into one man’s past. The Grover Cleveland Birthplace Museum was originally the pastor’s residence for the First Presbyterian Church in Caldwell, NJ.
President Grover Cleveland
What I found interesting about this historical home is that the President’s sister, Susan, saved everything of the family’s past. Things like furniture, home furnishings, cooking utensils, paintings and photos of the family plus personal items of the President such as his clothes, pipes, shaving kits and traveling cases so there is a lot of interesting items to see and well thought up display cases.
The house is broken up into the kitchen area, the living chambers, the former living room area which has most of the displays and then the front hallway where more family displays are located.
President Cleveland and Mrs. Cleveland’s personal clothes
Try to take a tour with the tour guide, Paula, who knows the house backwards and forwards and gives you an interesting take on the family. She will be able to point out all the family objects and personal items that have been donated by family members. Things from formal clothes to a piece of the President’s wedding cake.
A piece of the President’s wedding cake
The whole tour takes about an hour and you will find yourself memorized by the displays and the family history of the children and grandchildren. It is interesting to see how the family grew when they were living in Caldwell, NJ.
History of the Cleveland Birthplace Museum:
Grover Cleveland’s birthplace was built in 1832 as the Manse or pastor’s residence for the First Presbyterian Church of Caldwell. Cleveland’s father, the Reverend Richard Fally Cleveland was the minister here from 1834-1841.
Originally this frame home had a two-story main section with a one-story kitchen to the east and a one-story lean-to at the rear. It was enlarged several times between 1848-1870 to meet the growing needs of the Presbyterian clergy. The house is a good example of local vernacular architecture.
The Birthplace house
The historical significance of the Manse was first noted in 1881 when Cleveland was running for Governor of New York. As his political star ascended, so did the interest in preserving his birthplace as a museum. A group of Cleveland’s friends and admirers began negotiations to purchase the Manse in 1907. Their efforts culminated in the opening of the house to the public on March 18, 1913.
Most of the first floor rooms portray the Manse as it was in 1837, the year Grover Cleveland was born. The decidedly middle-class character of the rooms reflect the day to day life of the Reverend Richard Cleveland and his family. Among the artifacts on display from Cleveland’s early years are his cradle and original family portraits.
Grover Cleveland’s crib where he was born
Contrasting sharply with the humble beginnings portrayed in these rooms, the exhibit gallery features a striking display of artifacts that reflect the financial and political success Cleveland achieved during the last quarter of the 19th Century. Here, the mud-slinging campaign of 1884, the public’s intense interest in his wife and children and America’s political climate throughout his split terms of office are explored.
The Grover Cleveland Birthplace State Historic Site is the only house museum in the country dedicated to the interpretation of President Cleveland’s life. It is the nation’s leading repository of Cleveland artifacts and political memorabilia. The Grover Cleveland Birthplace is listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.
The President’s time in New Jersey:
Stephen Grover Cleveland was born on March 18, 1837 to the Reverend Richard Cleveland and his wife, Ann. Named for the first ordained pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell, he would in time become known by his middle name, Grover.
Cleveland was raised in a strict, modest home. As the son of a minister and the fifth of nine children, he had a religious and principled upbringing with few luxuries. When Grover was four, Reverend Cleveland moved his family to Fayetteville, NY.
(The Grover Cleveland Birthplace Museum pamphlet)