Tag: Bergen County Historical Sites

Kearney House (Blackledge-Kearney House) Alpine Landing                                                Alpine, NJ 07624

Kearney House (Blackledge-Kearney House) Alpine Landing Alpine, NJ 07624

Kearney House (Blackledge-Kearney House)

Alpine Landing

Alpine, NJ  07624

(201) 768-1360 ext. 108

https://www.njpalisades.org/kearney.html

Open: Most weekends & holiday afternoons from May to October

Fee: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

I took my first trip down to the Kearney House in Alpine, NJ and was able to walk the grounds, visit the Alpine Landing and see the amazing views of New York and of the Hudson River. This spot gives you breathtaking views upstream of the surrounding Hudson River.

The house was closed but the vegetable gardens were full of late Fall produce and the gardens could have used some weeding. I will have to wait until the house opens up again.

I recently visited the Kearny House of their Fall event “Punch & Pie at Mrs. Kearny’s Tavern”. That was an interesting night. First let me say that it is pitch black in that park. The Alpine Basin has no lights in the park and you will be in the dark the whole trip down the hill. I had a minor incident travelling down the hill so take it slow.

Kearny House II

The Kearny House illuminated at night

Once I was down for the event, it was interesting and fun night. Tavern musician, Thaddeus MacGregor, entertained us with all sorts of songs for the evening and there was storytelling by the gentleman who runs the historical site.

There was a candlelight tour of the house, so we got to see the second level with the upstairs bedroom, the attic area which really was drafty and the room above the new addition that is used for storage. The area was once heated by fireplaces and since the downstairs had a fire lit, the whole house was nice and warm. They had once of the original rope beds that had been tied and antique toys.

Kearny House III

Heating the punch

The first floor had the fireplace lit and the whole room was illuminated by candles which made the room very warm and cosy. It was interesting to see one of these homes that has no electricity and how it operates. It must have been very interesting to live at time.

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The Main Room lit by fireplace an candle light

What calmed me down after a long night was the delicious homemade pies that they served at the event. They had a strawberry rhubarb and apple that were just delicious. So flaky and filled the freshest fruit. It really cheered me up. They also had cheeses, roasted peanuts and a hot spiced cider to drink. I could have used something stiffer but it was still nice to drink and had the most wonderful flavor. Overall it was a nice night of desserts and snacks and good storytelling and the view of New York City was incredible.

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The house illuminated by candlelight

Do not venture into this park at night!

The History of the Kearney House:

(I credit this to the Kearney House pamphlet and Wiki)

The Kearney House was built in the 1760’s by the Blackledge family and was the home of Maria Blackledge, who was the daughter of Benjamin Blackledge, who lived in the home with her husband, Daniel Van Sciver.

Maria Blackledge father, Benjamin Blackledge, was an educator and public official, who taught Dutch citizens the “Kings English”. He was the first clerk of Harrington Township, NJ and served as Justice of the Peace and Judge of the County Court of Common Pleas and elected to the assembly of Bergen County, NJ. Mr. Blackledge’s wife, Caroline Tallman (Cathalyntie Tallema), was the daughter of Dowe Hermanszen Tallema and Maritie Haring, of the prominent Haring family of which Harrington, NJ was named after (Wiki).

The house was built in this location when the farmers of Closter, NJ built the Closter Dock Road through a pass in the cliffs to the Hudson River so they could deliver their goods to New York City. The house was most likely built to be a dockmaster’s house to supervise the busy river landing.

Kearney House

The Blackledge-Kearney House

The house was purchased in  1817 by James and Rachel Kearney. With them were their three children from Rachel’s first husband, Abraham Powles, who died two years earlier. James and Rachel then had five children of their own. Rachel also adopted a daughter.

Mr. Kearney died in 1831 and Mrs. Kearney used the home as a tavern. The northern part of the house was expanded in 1840 to house the tavern part of the building. Besides offering food and spirits, Mrs. Kearney’s tavern served as a meeting place for the captains and crews of the sailing vessels that arrived and departed daily from the docks here and for the local workforce of quarrymen, dock workers and tradesmen.  The upstairs room in the new addition may have been for lodgers staying at the tavern.

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The Kearney House furnishings

The Palisades Interstate Park Commission bought the house in 1907 after Rachel’s death in 1897 and in 1909 had the big porch built as a grandstand for a dedication ceremony for the new park. Through the 1920’s, the Commission used the house as a police station. The house is now open to the public on select weekends and holidays for touring and special events.

The property offers beautiful views of Yonkers, NY and the Bronx and from the Alpine Landing especially in the coming Fall, amazing views of the foliage and of the cliffs surrounding the Hudson River.

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Alpine Boat Basin by the Kearney House

The Arnault/Bianchi House                                  111 First Street                                                 Wood Ridge, NJ 07075

The Arnault/Bianchi House 111 First Street Wood Ridge, NJ 07075

The Arnault/Bianchi House

The Wood Ridge Historical Society

111 First Street

Wood Ridge, NJ  07075

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fridolin_Arnault_House

Open: Please check out their website; only for special events

Fee: Donations accepted

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46937-d17154691-Reviews-The_Arnault_Bianchi_House-Wood_Ridge_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I recently visited the Arnault/Bianchi House for a historic lecture by an actress who portrayed Amelia Earhart. It was an interesting afternoon of listening to the actor keep in character and describe her life just before her flight around the world. After the show, the actor was available for conversation with the audience and there was a light lunch after the performance. I thought this was a nice touch to end the afternoon.

The second time I visited the house, it was for the 125th Anniversary Celebration and the Society had all sorts of artifacts out on display. They had the history of the schools, fire department and the police department. They had old council pictures as well as pictures of World War II veterans who fought in the war who lived in town.

There was a also a nice display of the Curtis Wright Plant that once stood at the edge of town and its part in the war effort. There were all sorts of pictures and documents on display of the factory when it was in full function.

After walking the three rooms of artifacts, there was a light reception with cookies, tea and coffee.

The History of the Arnault/Bianchi House:

The town of Wood Ridge, NJ,  where the Arnault/Bianchi House is located has made a commitment for the house to be used for cultural events and hands on programs such as poetry readings and author visits.

The house was built in the 1880’s  by one of Wood Ridge’s founding father’s, French wine merchant, Fridolin Arnault. The Frenchman used  to sell his Bordeaux blends on Fifth Avenue in New York City. His relatives, Rudolphe and Annick Proust, traveled from Paris last year to visit the ‘country house’ of their uncle (The Wood Ridge Historical Society).

The second owner was designer Joseph Briggs, Louis Tiffany’s right hand man. Briggs  is responsible for the stained-glass  window designs  at the Church of St. Paul’s and Resurrection in Wood-Ridge. He eventually sold the house to the Bianchi’s . Not much is known about the Bianchi family (The Wood Ridge Historical Society).

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The inside of the house.

The backyard features gardens, meticulous landscaping, enough lawn space for a a grand social affair reminiscent of the Great Gatsby, benches, decorative stone and the exterior buildings the outhouse and carriage house. The second and third floors are not open to the public and are used for storage and the home still needs some repairs. In most of the lower floors are period furnishes and art work (The Wood Ridge Historical Society).

Please watch the papers and the town’s website for future events.

 

 

The James Rose Center                                         506 East Ridgewood Avenue                Ridgewood, NJ 07450

The James Rose Center 506 East Ridgewood Avenue Ridgewood, NJ 07450

The James Rose Center

506 East Ridgewood Avenue

Ridgewood, NJ  07450

Phone: (201) 446-6017

Email: http://www.jamesrosecenter.org

Fee: Adults $8.00/Children $5.00

Open: Tuesday-Sunday-10:00am-4:00pm/Closed Mondays

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46772-d15190166-Reviews-James_Rose_Center-Ridgewood_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Originally designed as his own home, today the James Rose Center serves as the headquarters of a non-profit educational foundation, the mission of which is to improve the environment through research, education, preservation and design.

I recently toured the James Rose House with members of the Ridgewood Historical Museum. We had a lecture on the house and James Rose’s work in the industry as an architect and the other projects he had worked on over the years before his death in 1991.

James Rose Center

James Rose House at 506 East Ridgewood Avenue

http://jamesrosecenter.org/

The lecture was followed by a tour of the house with the group and then a small lecture and tour with the guide. We got to see the whole house, what he was trying to achieve in the design and the renovation work on the house as it is in pretty bad shape. The materials that were used to build the house were not the best quality and have rotted over the years. There is a lot of restoration work on the house that is needed.

We were able to walk all around the house and what struck me was the use of nature in the design of the house. He used the trees and brook on the property to achieve the aesthetic of the design of the house but over the years it has been used against it as the trees have either grown too big around the house or have died, in which one did and caused thousands of dollars of damage on the house. Still, it was an interesting tour of how the house was used as a studio and a family home for him, his mother and unmarried sister.

History:

James Rose (1913-1991) was a maverick landscape architect whose rebellious nature caused one writer to refer him as the “James Dean of Landscape Architecture.” Here Rose created a unique work of art fusing modern sculpture, architecture and landscape into a single unified place for living.

(Information from the Center’s pamphlet)

For its unique modern sparial language, its expression of an alternative approach to conventional post war suburban residential development and as the constantly changing laboratory of one of landscape architecture’s most inventive minds, the Ridgewood home of James Rose is one of the twentieth century’s most important landscapes.

The Vision:

Rose began  the design while in Okinawa during World War II with a model he made from scrapes found in construction battalion headquarters. “I wanted the spaces flowing easily from one to another, divided for privacy and for convenience.” Rose wrote in 1943. “I wanted the arrangement flexible and varied. Most of all, I wanted all this integrated with the site in a design that seemed to grow, to mature and to review itself as all living things do.”

The Reality:

Constructed in 1953, Rose described his home as a “tiny village” build on an area half the size of a tennis court. It was a composite of three buildings-a main house for his mother, a guesthouse for his sister and a studio for himself. This experimental landscape achieves a fusion of indoors and outdoors perhaps unequaled by other leading designers of this time. Rose later described it as “neither landscape nor architecture, but both; neither indoors, nor outdoors but both.”

The Metamorphosis:

It was conceived to accommodate rapid twentieth century charge. “I decided to go at the construction as you might a painting or sculpture.” Rose wrote. “I set the basic armature of walls and roofs and open spaces to establish their relationships but left it free in detail to allow for improvisation. In that way it would never be “finished,” but constantly evolving from one stage to the next-ametamorphosis,” Rose wrote, “such as we find commonly in nature.”

Consistent with this, the design changed dramatically during the almost forty years Rose lived here. From 1961, when Rose was invited by the Japanese government to participate in a World Design Conference (WoDeCo), he founded a mirror to his modern American design sensibility in the ancient culture of Japan. In changes such as the addition of the roof garden and zendo in the early 1970’s a fusion of ancient East and modern West is effected as Rose compares the filigrees of plant forms to the filigrees of structure. “In the bare architectured outline is a pattern of organic (rather than cosmetic) decoration and an inter division of space.”

The Reincarnation:

Unfortunately in the eighties this remarkable design, built to accommodate rapid growth went into rapid disrepair. Neglect, fire and water damage threatened complete destruction until a foundation was established by Rose, Dean Cardasis and a few of Rose’s close friends was formed just before Rose’s death in 1991. In 1993 the rehabilitation of this important property began and continues to this day. The site serves students, scholars and the general public in its new life as the James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and Design.

The rehabilitation reversed rampant deterioration of the previous decade. Support systems were revamped.  Fire damage was repaired. The leaking roof was rebuilt and Rose’s roof garden was reconstructed. Salvageable wood was reconditioned and woven with new lumber. Garden pools were rebuilt and important planting edges re-established. Murals and other original artwork were reconditioned. Through the center’s ongoing efforts, Rose’s enduring creation has entered a new stage of its metamorphosis from which it will continue to evolve. But it remains consistent with its origins as a important modern work and serves the same larger purpose it always had for Rose to pose for us elemental questions about the nature of design. “Change is the essence,” Rose observed. “To reveal what is always there is the trick. The metamorphosis is seen minute by minute, season by season, year by year. Through this looking glass, ‘finish’ is another word for death.”

(Ridgewood-James Rose Center History)

James Rose, landscape theorist, author and practitioner

Along with Garrett Eckbo and Dan Kiley, James C. Rose was one of the leaders of the modern movement in American landscape architecture. Rose was only five years old when his father died and with his mother and older sister, moved to New York City from rural Pennsylvania. He never graduated from high school (because he refused to take music and mechanical drafting) but nevertheless managed to enroll in architecture courses at Cornell University. A few years later he transferred as a special student to Harvard University to study landscape architecture. He was soon expelled from Harvard in 1937 for refusing to design landscapes in the Beaux Arts manner.

The design experiments for which he was expelled served as a basis for a series of provocative articles expounding modernism in landscape design, published in 1938 and 1939 in Pencil Points magazine (now Progressive Architecture). Subsequently Rose authored many other articles, including a series with Eckbo and Kiley as well as four books which advance both the theory and practice of landscape architecture in the twentieth century.

Rose was employed briefly in New York City in 1941 as a landscape architecture by Tuttle, Seelye, Place and Raymond where he worked on the design of a staging area to house thirty thousand men to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. For a short time, Rose had a sizable practice of his own in New York City but he quickly decided that large-scale public and corporate work would impose too many restrictions on his creative freedom and devoted most of his post WWII career to the design of private gardens.

Fusion of indoor and outdoor space:

In 1953, he began building one of his most significant designs, the Rose residence in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Rose conceived of the design while stationed in Okinawa, Japan in 1943. He made the first model from scraps found in construction battalion headquarters. After construction, the design was published in the December 1954 issue of Progressive Architecture, juxtaposed to the design for a traditional Japanese house built in the garden of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; the article cites Rose’s design for its spatial discipline. The design clearly expresses Rose’s idea of fusion between indoor and outdoor space as well as his notion that modern environmental design must be flexible between indoor and outdoor space as well as his notion that modern environmental design must be flexible to allow for changes in the environment as well as in the  in the lives of its users.

Practice based on improvisation:

From 1953 until his death, Rose based an active professional practice in his home. Like Thomas Church and many others. Rose practiced a form of design/build because it gave him control over the finished work and allowed him to spontaneously improvise with the sites of his gardens. As a result of this, most examples also exist in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, California and abroad.

Establishment of a landscape research and design study center:

James C. Rose was one of the most colorful figures in twentieth century landscape design. While skeptical of most institutions during his lifetime he served as guest lecturer and visiting critic at numerous landscape architecture and architecture schools. Before he died he set in motion an idea which had been in his mind for forty years; the establishment of a landscape research and design study center and created a foundation to support the transformation of his Ridgewood residence for this purpose. Rose died in his home in 1991 of cancer.

(James Rose Foundation-James Rose Center)