Category: Bergen County, NJ “Northwest Bergen Historical Coalition” Event

Bergenfield Museum Society                                                    100 Cooper Street                                                       Bergenfield, NJ 07621

Bergenfield Museum Society 100 Cooper Street Bergenfield, NJ 07621

Bergenfield Museum Society

100 Cooper Street

Bergenfield, NJ 07621

(201)

https://www.facebook.com/bergenfieldmuseum/

https://bergenfield.com/boards/museum-society

https://sites.google.com/site/bergenfieldmuseumsocietypage/

Open: Sunday (Last day of the month)/Monday Closed/Tuesday 1:00pm-3:00pm/Wednesday-Friday Closed/Saturday 1:00pm-3:00pm

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46301-d24838399-Reviews-Bergenfield_Museum-Bergenfield_New_Jersey.html

I visited the Bergenfield Museum recently, a museum that I have to admit I never knew existed and I know almost all the museum in Bergen County and was surprised what an informative museum it was not just showcasing the history of Bergenfield but of Bergen County. Room by room the museum is filled with displays on the history of the town, and it has progressed through the last two hundred years.

The Bergenfield Museum at 100 Cooper Street

The museum is located in the back of Cooper Park towards the back of the pond. The museum is part of a complex of barns that were once small manufacturing companies owned by the families that owned the house. The grounds have the three barns that are not in use now and the home that overlooks the pond. This beautiful park was created during the Great Depression and is a wonderful place to just walk around in and relax from everyday life.

The view of Coopers Park and Pond from the museum front porch

The history of the house and grounds of the Bergenfield Museum

Please note getting to the museum can be confusing as Google Maps and the museum diagram to get there are wrong. You will need to go down Ralph Road and then park before entering the complex. It is hard with the turnaround in the site to drive out with your car.

The entrance to the Bergenfield Museum at 100 Cooper Street

The entrance to the museum off Ralph Street. Please follow the signs.

I was met with a very enthusiastic group of volunteers who are so proud of the house and the way it is presented to the public. When you enter the house, you are met in the foyer of the home which is filled with pictures and small displays and then led to what was the parlor room where the family would have all their entertainment and socializing. Inside the room there is a very interesting portrait of a mysterious woman, who even the museum docents do not who she is, located above the fireplace.

The room is decorated in period furnishings and even has one of the original phonographs. My docent, David, showed me how it worked and how you were able to get the volume up on the record player by opening one of the small doors in the cabinet.

The ‘starter’ organ in the Living Room

The home was once a working farm/business

The room towards the back has an extensive collection of toys from the last one hundred years. There were several toys such a china dolls and metal ovens that were popular in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to modern Fisher Price toys of the 1970’s that I remember growing up with as a kid. The site had once been a toy factory before the turn of the last century and these displays honor that history.

The Toy Room at the Bergenfield Museum is quite extensive

You have everything from stuffed animals to Fisher Price toys in the Toy Room

The museum is very much dedicated to the history of the Borough of Bergenfield, NJ. There are nice displays of the town’s school district and its history. The old school system pictures feature items from elementary school to high school and items that students would have used at the school. The elementary school featured in many of the pictures is still used by the town today according to my tour guide, David that afternoon. He told me he had attended the school growing up.

There was a small display of both the Bergenfield Fire and Police Departments and their progression through the years in the town. It is funny how much has changed cosmetically about the look of the job but the job itself is still the same. Helping people and keeping the town safe.

The Fire and Police Department display at the Bergenfield Museum

When you enter what was once the dining room, is the Chair Collection of Tunis Richard Cooper, whose factory was one of the barns on the property.

The Chair Factory rules

Some of the samples of the chairs manufactured at the barn factory

There were all sorts of makes and kinds of chairs throughout the room as well as many decorative pieces. The museum has an extensive collection of all the decorative furnishings that were made on the property including what the factory looked like and the rules and conduct of the employees working there.

The working mill building on the property

The next room is the working kitchen of the original house with all sorts of kitchen equipment through the ages including a collection of toasters. There is also a working heart where the volunteers do some cooking.

Everything to keep a kitchen running

The hearth of the kitchen is where all the action was in the kitchen

The back room of the house has a large military display that includes local heroes of the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI and the Vietnam War. There are all sorts of memorabilia from the soldiers and their families.

The Military display describes Bergenfield’s contribution to military battle from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam

The Military Room showcases our contributions on freedom

The patriotic duties of the town of Bergenfield, NJ

The museum has a 9/11 Memorial to the town and its contributions to that horrible day

Take time to walk the grounds and admire the park. This beautiful green space was built by the WPA during the Depression and the landscaped park includes Cooper’s pond, extensive gardens and paths of green lawn.

The grounds of the museum were once a farm and a working factory environment

The factory/barn on the Bergenfield Museum property

The grounds of the Bergenfield Museum in Cooper’s Pond Park

Cooper’s Pond Park is a quiet and very green oasis from the distractions of today. It is a nice patch of nature to just walk around in and relax and enjoy the beautiful sunny weather.

The History of the Bergenfield Museum:

Two Hundred years after the founding of the United States, local historian, Betty Schmelz began collecting artifacts that were essential for telling Bergenfield’s story. By 1988, her small collection had blossomed into full museum displays comprised of a century’s worth of wedding dresses, Camp Merritt and WWI memorabilia and testaments to the Bergenfield Music Department.

The Bergenfield Music Department display

From 2002 to 2014, the museum closed, and the collection was moved to storage until negotiations were settled with the Borough of Bergenfield. In July of 2013, volunteers reassembled the items for public viewing and began rehabilitation efforts.

The Museum House Timeline:

(From the museum’s pamphlet)

The tools to create those wonderful and decorative chairs

The Tunis R. Cooper property was originally owned by French Huguenot immigrants, the Demarest family. After years of changed ownership and purpose, the legacy of the property is now protected by the Bergenfield Museum Society:

The timeline of the town and its development

*1677-1693: The Demarest family negotiates a deed for the Cooper Property with local Native Americans and settles throughout Schraalenburgh (now known as Bergen County).

*1840: Richard Tunis Cooper purchases the property and begins hiring local farmers to manufacture chairs.

*1849-1890’s: Richard’s son, Tunis Richard Cooper, purchases the property and establishes a successful chair factory. A major warehouse is opened in New York City.

*1897-1997: Ownership of the estate changes several more times:

-1897: Toymaker Oskar Martin, purchased the property.

-1908: Amos Bergman holds ownership until his death.

-1949: Bergman housekeeper, Daisy Coringrato, sells the property to wool importers, Alec and Catherine Marchbank.

*1997: Marchbank family initiates efforts to preserve the remaining Cooper Chair Factory and surrounding land.

*2004: The Borough of Bergenfield purchases the property with the four remaining buildings and solidifies preservation efforts.

*2013: The Bergenfield Museum successfully opens with a collection of authentic Bergen County artifacts.

Day Forty-Three: Touring the historic homes and museums of Bergen County during ‘The Sixth Annual Northwest Bergen History Coalition’ History Day                                                          May 14, 2016

Day Forty-Three: Touring the historic homes and museums of Bergen County during ‘The Sixth Annual Northwest Bergen History Coalition’ History Day May 14, 2016

Exploring Historic Bergen County is very interesting.

Don’t miss this event when it comes up every two years.

mywalkinmanhattan

The Northwest Bergen History Coalition
6th Annual History Day
Theme: ‘Spreading the News: Rail, Mail & the Press in Days Gone By’

BC History Coalition

Special Exhibitions at each Museum

Come discover how we communicated when letter were left at the local inn, when postcards were our ‘twitter feed’ and the operator listened to all our calls on the party line. See how mail was delivered by train and what our local newspapers were like in 1900.

I took a day out of touring in the city to tour my own county, Bergen County, New Jersey is rich in Revolutionary, Civil and WWI &II history yet we still have a big link to our Colonial past in each town in Bergen County.

The unfortunate part of this tour is that it only covers a small portion of the county and it was hard to get to all of the sites in one day…

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Day One Hundred and Nine: Touring the historic homes and museums of Bergen County during ‘The Eighth Annual Northwest Bergen History Coalition’ History Day                                                             April 28th, 2018

Day One Hundred and Nine: Touring the historic homes and museums of Bergen County during ‘The Eighth Annual Northwest Bergen History Coalition’ History Day April 28th, 2018

Bergen County has a lot of hidden gems located here and there in the County.

Don’t miss the Northwest Bergen History Coalition when it happens every two years.

mywalkinmanhattan

I put “MywalkinManhattan” on hold for a few days as the local activities in New Jersey started to take up my time. There is so much to see and do as the weather is getting warmer.

The Northwest Bergen History Coalition every year gives people the opportunity to visit almost a dozen different historical sites in the upper part of Bergen County, NJ and take the time to tour and explore all the sites with the help of trained docents and volunteers who take immense pride in showing off their site all for the low price of $10.00 ($15.00 the day of the event). Be prepared to drive though because all the sites can be a distance from one another. Also, have a a game plan because there is no way you can see everything in one day. You will only have from 10:00am-4:00pm so plan to visit the remaining…

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Bergen County Survey of the Early Dutch Stone Houses of Bergen County, NJ

Bergen County Survey of the Early Dutch Stone Houses of Bergen County, NJ

Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs

Court Plaza South

21 Main Street, Room 203 W

Hackensack, N.J. 07601-7000

Survey of the Early Stone Houses of Bergen County:

One of the most important early American building types is that of the pre-1840 stone house built in areas with Dutch Cultural affiliation. Bergen County is unique in the abundance, variety and architectural quality of these early stone houses, although adjacent areas of New Jersey and New York have some of the type.

Materials and methods remained constant but the house which were built from the time of Dutch colonization in the 17th century vary in size, plan and stylistic detail. Bergen County’s surviving early stone houses many located along major thoroughfares, provide county residents with tangible links to the formation years of the County, State and Nation.

Campbell-Christi House II

The Campbell-Christi House at New Bridge Landing/Bergen County Historical Society

The Survey of Early Stone Houses of Bergen County conducted in 1978-79 identified and recorded 230 of these early houses. Of these, 208 retained sufficient architectural integrity to be placed as a thematic group on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places in 1983, 1984 and 1985. A clear recognition of the houses importance is given by inclusion on these Registers, which are the State’s and Nation’s official lists of cultural resources worthy of preservation.

For inclusion in the Stone House Survey a building has to have at least two first story walls of pre-1840 stonework. The stone used in constructing the houses varies according to what as locally available. Many of the houses have reddish-brown sandstone walls but in the north-western section of the county rougher local fieldstone was utilized. Some houses have exterior walls of various types of stone and in some brick or frame exterior walls appear with stone ones. Frequently front facades display finer masonry work than do sides and rear. Usually the houses are 1 1/2 stories in height and have gable or gambrel roofs, sometimes with sweeping overhangs. Often there are side wings.

Wortendyke Dutch Barn

Wortendyke Barn in Oakland, NJ

Examples of the house-type are commonly called “Dutch Colonial.” This name most frequently applied to gambrel-roofed houses is a misnomer. Most of the houses were erected in the early 19th century, long after New Jersey passed from Dutch control in 1664. They date to a time when Anglo-American culture was being assimilated into Bergen’s Dutch cultural base. The typical stone house of the Colonial Period in Bergen County is a simple gable-roofed building.

Because they have been continuous use since they were constructed, many early stone houses have been modified and embellished. Often these changes in themselves have architectural distinction and are important to Bergen’s 19th and 20th century architectural history. Even when altered, the basic form and fabric of the original stone dwellings are usually recognizable and the houses are part of the county’s earliest architectural heritage.

Cadmus House

Cadmus House in Fairlawn, NJ

The Stone House survey was sponsored by the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Bergen County Historic Sites Advisory Board and the Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs. It was prepared by the Office of Albin H. Rothe, A.I.A. Claire K. Tholl did the field survey. The survey was made possible by a grant-in-aid from the Office of New Jersey Heritage, Division of Parks and Forestry, N.J. Department of Environmental Protection and matched by funds from the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

The report for the Survey of the Early Stone Houses, with background text and inventory forms for houses, may be consulted at the Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs between 9:00am and 4:30pm weekdays.

Hopper-Goetschius Museum

Hopper House in Upper Saddle River, NJ

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs pamphlet and I give them full credit for this information. Please contact the Department for more information on the subject.