Tag: Historic Homes

The Frick Collection 1 East 70th Street  New York, NY 10021

The Frick Collection 1 East 70th Street New York, NY 10021

The Frick Collection

1 East 70th Street

New York, NY  10021

(212) 288-0700

http://www.frick.org

https://www.frick.org/

Hours:  Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm/Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm/Monday Closed

Closed: January 1st, July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas

Admission: Adults $22.00/Senior Citizen $17.00/Students $12.00. Pay as you wish Wednesday from 2:00pm-6:00pm

Audio Guide: The Acoustiguide Audio Tour is available free of charge in the Entrance Hall.

I visited The Frick Collection for the first time when I was walking the Upper East Side for my project, “MywalkinManhattan” Day One Hundred and Twelve-Walking the Upper East Side”. In all the years I had been coming into Manhattan I had never been inside. So I stopped for the afternoon to see what it was like inside the old Frick Mansion.

When you first walk into the museum, in the inside of the main foyer of the house there is fountain with a large indoor pool with benches, the perfect place to relax after the long walk outside. All around the pool are various doors and windows that lead to the rooms that house the collection.

the frick collection ii

The Fountain area

All around the house you will see famous Old Master’s paintings, statuary and porcelain figurines. While I was visiting there, I stopped in to see the new exhibition “George Washington Statuary Collection”.

The  “George Washington” exhibition showed the creation of the statue for the Virginia State Capital that was destroyed by fire in the last century. All of the models and drawings were accompanying the display to see how the work was created.

After that, I just walked through the galleries to see all the paintings and sit by the fountain in the middle of the old house. Each of the rooms houses each part of the Mr. Frick’s Collection plus new pieces that continue to be added.

the frick collection iii

The inside galleries

Before you leave, remember to check out their gift shop which has interesting items for sale and copies of the art in various forms to take home. Also on a nice day take time to walk around the gardens. For a mansion on Fifth Avenue, it is cared for beautifully and is well cared for just as the Frick’s would have done.

 

History of The Frick Collection:

The Frick Collection is house in the former residence of Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), which was designed by Thomas Hastings and constructed in 1913-14. After Mrs. Frick’s death in 1931, changes and additions to the building were by the architect John Russell Pope and in 1935 the Collection was opened to the public.

The Collection preserves the ambiance of Mr. Frick’s private house and visitors are therefore asked to observe regulations necessary for protecting the works of art and their domestic setting:

*Because few ropes or cases are used to guard fragile objects, children under ten are not admitted to the Collection.

*Group visits are by appointment only and large groups must be divided into parties of no more than ten. Lecturing in the galleries is prohibited.

*Free checking is provided in the coat room. Coats (if not worn), packages, umbrellas and large handbags must be checked.

The Collection includes some of the best known paintings by the greatest European  artists, major works of sculpture (among them one of the finest groups of small bronzes in the world), superb eighteenth-century French furniture and porcelains, Limoges enamels, Oriental rugs and other works of remarkable quality.

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from The Frick Collection Museum pamphlet and I give the museum full credit for this information. Please check out times and dates before you visit.

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Skylands Manor-New Jersey Botanical Garden  5 Morris Road  Ringwood, NJ 07456

Skylands Manor-New Jersey Botanical Garden 5 Morris Road Ringwood, NJ 07456

Skylands Manor-New Jersey Botanical Garden

5 Morris Road

Ringwood, NJ  07456

(973) 962-9370

http://www.ringwoodmanor.org/Victorian-Christmas.html

The Skylands Manor is decorated for the holidays during the first week of December and only for one weekend as it used for a banquet facility the rest of the time and as a hotel. The first weekend of December is when local Gardening groups are assigned one room to decorate and they have one week to put it together, display their ideas and explain how they did it to the public. The best day to go is the Thursday afternoon opening as it is the quietest day of the four day event with Saturday being the busiest.

skylands manor ii

Each of the eleven rooms that were decorated for the event were amazing each with their own decor, docents and gardeners and theme to the room. The Entrance Hall was elegant with its garland and potted plants, the Octagon Hall used its space wisely with a series of trees and hot house flowers. The women who decorated it had a phenomenal sense of space.

skylands manor iii

The Teaneck Garden Club did a great job decorating the Library with an elegant Christmas Tree and vintage ornaments. Some of the gardeners also came in vintage clothing of the area.

skylands manor iv

Each room had its own personality and was a combination of Christmas decorations and holiday plants.

Watch the calendar for 2019 in early December for the next display.

 

History of the Skylands Manor & People:

Clarence McKenzie Lewis bought Skylands in 1922 from the estate of Francis Lynde Stetson, who founded Skylands in 1891. Mr. Lewis was educated in England and Germany. While he was there, his widowed mother, Helen Forbes Lewis married William Salomon, founder of the New York banking house. Upon his return, Lewis attended Columbia University, where he received a Civil Engineering degree in 1898. In 1908, he married and bought a country place in Mahwah; it was there that Lewis became interested in horticulture.

Helen Lewis Salomon, the mother of Clarence Lewis, was widowed in 1919. Not only thereafter, she and her bereaved son agreed to a joint project; she wanted a Tudor-style showplace; he wanted plants and gardens. Mrs. Salomon worked closely with the architect on Skylands Manor but she died in 1927 before its completion.

John Russell Pope (1874-1937) “an architect born to work, in the grand style” was educated at City College, Columbia University, the American Academy in Rome and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He trained under Bruce Price, the master builder of Tuxedo Park. Pope designed many outstanding public buildings, such as the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art.

Tutor Architecture originated in England in the late Gothic period and continued to be popular into the Renaissance. It features half-timbering on the exterior, crenelated walls, large groups of rectangular windows, oriel or bay windows and intricate chimney complexes The interiors usually had large central halls, wood paneling, molded plaster ceilings and elaborately carved staircases. Tudor Revival became a popular style for the elegant country houses of wealthy Americans.

The builder of Skylands was the Elliot C. Brown Co., of New York City, which also built the country homes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at Hyde Park and E. Roland Harriman (Arden House).

Samuel Yellin (1885-1940) decorative metal designer and craftsman, who performed to call himself “the blacksmith”, fashioned the lanterns. electrical fixtures, lamps, gate, and spiral staircase rail for Skylands Manor.

Native Granite for the exterior walls of Skylands was quarried at Pierson Ridge above Emerald Pond in the eastern part of the property in Bergen County.

Mrs. Salomon purchased a collection of antique Stained Glass Medallions from an English collector. The 16th century German, Bavarian and Swiss panes were set in leaded windows by Heinegke & Smith of New York City.

Disclaimer: This information on the details of the history of Skylands Manor was taken directly from their pamphlet and I give them full credit for it. Please call the manor for times that it is open as it is used a banquet/catering facility and a B & B.

Visiting Stone Street in Lower Manhattan

Visiting Stone Street in Lower Manhattan

Visiting Stone Street in Lower Manhattan:

As part of my tour of Historic Bars and Pubs on Day One Hundred and Thirteen with the Cornell Club on May 9th, 2018, we toured the famous ‘Stone Street’ one of the original paved streets of Manhattan. You will not find architecture or pavings like this left in New York City. Here and there are streets or buildings that represent these times during the early to mid-1800’s but they are few and scattered in remote spots all over the island. Here the street still represents a different era of Manhattan.

The stores in the 90’s had been either boarded up or were used but in horrible shape. During the business hours not too many people inhabited this area of Lower Manhattan and it was ignored. The neighboring South Street Seaport was being transformed in the mid 80’s into a type of historic theme park and entertainment center by the Rouse Corporation. It put these old neighborhoods back into vogue and people started to return again.

Over time, especially after 9/11 and the changes in downtown Manhattan, the street is now home to many trendy bars and restaurants and a hang out for the downtown business crowd. During the recent walking tour, the place was hopping with people spilling out of restaurants, ordering drinks during happy hour and eating pizza at the local pizzeria.

During ‘Happy Hour’ after work, the place is mobbed with people milling around having a good time. The tables toward the end of the street are filled with tourists taking pictures and at one end of the street is the famous “India House” and at the other is the Frances Tavern where George Washington gave his troops his farewell address.

stone street

Stone Street in the warmer months

It is not only a historical neighborhood but loaded with things to see and do. The buildings which were once in horrible shape have been brought back to life and repositioned to use for the meals and entertainment. It is interesting to see how a neighborhood comes back in full circle in a 150 years.

History of the area:

Stone Street is a short street in Manhattan’s Financial District. It originally ran from Broad Street to Hanover Square but was divided into two sections by the construction of the Goldman Sachs building at 85 Broad Street in the 1980’s. Today the cluster of historic buildings along Stone, South William, Pearl Streets and Coenties Alley form the Stone Street Historic District.

Stone Street is one of New York’s oldest streets. It was originally known by its Dutch name, Hoogh Staet (High Street). In 1632, the Dutch West India Company built the first commercial brewery in North America there. Around 1656, Hoogh Straet was shifted about twenty to twenty-five feet to align it with Brouwer Street, the extension of Hoogh Straet west of the Gracht and which in 1658 became the first paved street in Nieuw Amsterdam. Following the British conquest of the colony, the name Hoogh Straet was translated to High Street. It was then called Duke Street for the Duke of York during most of the 18th century. Leveled in 1771 and 1790, it was renamed Stone Street in 1794 because of it’s cobblestone paving as New Yorkers abandoned reminders of British Rule. The street’s stores and loft were built for dry-goods merchants and importers, shortly after the Great Fire of 1825, which destroyed many remnants of New Amsterdam.

Most buildings were used as storage. The building at 57 Stone Street was rebuilt in 1903 by C.P.H, Gilbert in Dutch Colonial Revivial architecture at the behest of the owner, Amos F. Eno as son of Amos R. Eno. The buildings to the back on South William 13-23 also were reconstructed in the Dutch revival style, evoking New Amsterdam.

Following many decades of neglect, a joint partnership between the Landmarks Preservation Commission and other city agencies, the Alliance for Downtown New York and Stone Street owners has transformed Stone Street from a derelict back alley into one of Downtown’s liveliest scenes. Restored buildings, granite paving, bluestone sidewalks and period lights set the stage for the half dozen restaurants and cafes, whose outdoor tables are very popular on warm summer nights.

The eastern portion of the street and the surrounding buildings have been protected since 1996 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as the Stone Street Historic District and is pedestrian only. The historic district is now populated by several restaurants and bars and has a outdoor dining when the weather permits. The India House historic landmark is located at the Hanover Square end of the street.

(This information was taken directly from Wikipedia and I give them full credit)

Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street   Bronx, NY 10471

Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street Bronx, NY 10471

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street

Bronx, NY  10471

(718) 543-3344

infor@vchm.org

Open: Tuesday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm/Saturday & Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm

Admission: $5.00 for Adults/$3.00 for Seniors & Students/Children under 12 are free/General Admission is free on Wednesdays. Guided and group tours are available.

Review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47369-d103501-Reviews-Van_Cortlandt_House-Bronx_New_York.html?m=19905

 

I visited the Van Cortlandt House Museum for the their Annual Christmas Decorated House event. The mansion was decorated for Christmas in the 1700’s so it was not overdone as it would during the Victorian times. The front of the house entrance was done with sprays of holly, mistletoe above the door and garlands of pine around the banister and fireplaces. The windows had candles in them and the dining room was set for Christmas luncheon in post-Revolutionary War era.

While most of the house is represented during the Dutch era with floors with no rugs, vintage furniture and decorations and the second and third floors are set for family entertainment. The first floor is set for entertaining for the holidays with the formal dining room, family palour and the formal living room for games and dancing. The formal dining room was the only room decorated post-Revolutionary War era.

van cortlandt mansion xmas ii

Van Cortlandt Mansion at Christmas 1800’s

Until the Victorian era, Christmas was a more religious affair with church service in the morning and luncheon in the afternoon. Things were formal and less elaborate. The acts of gift giving, sleigh rides, tree decorating and card giving came during the affluence of Queen Victoria’s reign in the post Civil-War era. This is the reason why the house is decorated so simply and elegantly.

History of the Van Cortlandts:

The Van Cortlandt House Museum, also known as Fredrick Van Cortlandt House or Van Cortlandt House, is the oldest surviving building in New York City’s borough of The Bronx. The Georgian style house, begun in 1748, was build of fieldstone by Fredrick Van Cortlandt (1699-1749) on the plantation that had been owned and farmed by his family since 1691. Fredrick intended the house to be a home for him and his wife, Francis Jay and daughters, Anna Maria, 14 and Eve, 13. His sons, Augustus, 21 and Fredrick, 19, were not intended to be permanent residents of the house. Sadly, Fredrick died before the new house was completed. In his will written in 1759, Fredrick left the house to his son, James Van Cortlandt (1726-1781) and a life time tenancy to his widow, Francis Jay Van Cortlandt (1701-1780).

The Van Cortlandt’s were a mercantile family prominent in New York affairs. Fredrick’s father, Jacobus, established a thriving wheat growing and processing business on the plantation including a grist mill for processing the wheat into flour and a fleet of shallow draft boats to carry the flour from the south end his lake down Tibbet’s Brook and out to the Harlem and Hudson Rivers to market. During the Revolutionary War, the house was used by Rochambeau, Lafayette and Washington.

(From History of Van Cortlandt House and Museum)

In 1887, after 140 years of occupancy by the Van Cortlandt family and the community of plantation workers, the property was sold to the City of New York and made a public parkland. Before the house became a museum, it saw a variety of uses including as a temporary police precinct house and as a dormitory for ranch hands responsible for taking care of a herd of buffalo.

By 1895, The National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York expressed their interest in restoring the house as a museum open to the public. There was only one obstacle keeping the Colonial Dames from this important project, there was no provision in the New York State Law allowing the stewardship of a publicly owned building by a private organization. Undaunted, the first Society President, Mrs. Townsend, took the Society’s cause to Albany where on May 22, 1896 in the 199th session of the New York Legislature, Chapter 837 was approved by the governor and passed by a 3/5 majority to become law.

After nearly a year if repairs and restoration, Van Cortlandt House Museum was opened to great fanfare on May 25th of 1897. The original license agreement grained custody of the house to the National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York for a period of 25 years at a ‘peppercorn’ rent of $1.00 per year. Although the Society no longer pays the city rent, they remain, to this day as dedicated to Van Cortlandt House as they were in 1896.

In 1967, Van Cortlandt House was added to the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1967. The house was declared a New York City Landmark on March 15, 1966, recognizing the historic and architectural importance of both the exterior and interior.

(From the Van Cortlandt House Museum NSCDNY)

van cortland mansion xmas

Van Cortlandt House Museum at Christmas

Lambert Castle/Passaic County Historical Society  3 Valley Road  Paterson, NJ 07503

Lambert Castle/Passaic County Historical Society 3 Valley Road Paterson, NJ 07503

Lambert Castle/Passaic County Historical Society

3 Valley Road

Patterson, NJ  07503

Phone: (973) 247-0085

Fax: (973) 881-9434

info@lambertcastle.org

http://www.lambertcastle.org

Hours:

Museum Wednesday-Sunday-1:00pm-4:00pm

Library & Archives Wednesday-Friday-1:00pm-4:00pm/2nd and 4th Saturday of each month 1:00pm-4:00pm (Memorial Day through Labor Day: 12:00pm-4:00pm)

Admission: $5.00 Donation

My TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46718-d1880569-Reviews-Lambert_Castle-Paterson_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I have visited Lambert Castle a few times, most recently to see the Christmas decorations before they were taken down for the season. I found out from one of the director’s that they had not been put back up since their Holiday Bazaar back in November. I had seen them the year before and they had been very impressive.

I had a chance to visit the floors undecorated. The first floor is set up as if the family still lived there with the Billiards Room, Dining Room, Sitting Room, Music Room and Atrium still set as the family resided there. There is period furniture and decorations in all the first floor rooms to give a feel of what it must have been like to live there at that period.

lambert castle ii

The view of Lambert Castle from the second floor

The second floor galleries hold the collection of the Passaic County Historical Society with all sorts of objects, signs and historical items from all eras of the collection. You are able to see the footprint of the living quarters of the family.

The third floor at the time I was there was dedicated to the work of an Italian stone worker and artist who migrated and lived and worked in Paterson.

It is a very interesting way to see life at the turn of the last century in Paterson and the home offers a beautiful view of the City of Paterson and New York in the distance. I have never seen the grounds in the Spring but I am sure that they are quite lovely.

The view alone is worth the visit.

 

History of Lambert Castle:

Catholina Lambert and his Castle:

Catholina Lambert was born in 1834 in Goose Eye, England. In 1851 at the young age of 17, Lambert left home to seek his fortune in the “Land of Opportunity” that was America. After several successful ventures in the silk industry, Lambert decided to build a home that would be reminiscent of the castles he recalled from his boyhood in England. In 1892, he built his own castle on Garret Mountain in Paterson, NJ, then known as the “Silk, City of the New World.”

Lambert’s home was built to showcase his elaborate art collection  of fine European and American paintings and sculpture. At one time, his collection was so vast that it was considered to be “the nucleus of an American Louvre.” In 1913, Lambert fell into debt and his fortune started to dwindle. As a result, he was forced to mortgage the Castle and eventually sell much of his art collection. The proceeds allowed him to live comfortably in the Castle until his death at age 89 in 1923.

After Lambert’s death, his son, Walter sold the Castle to the City of Paterson, which later sold it to the County of Passaic. Today the Castle is still owned by the County and  serves as the headquarters of the Passaic County Historical Society. The Society, a private not for profit organization, owns the historical artifacts and works of art. The home and the museum, exist as a reminder of a bygone era and as a tribute to the great accomplishment of  the Castle’s creator. Although most of the furnishings today are not original to the Lambert’s home, they represent period furnishings that would have been found in the Castle during the Lambert era.

For more information about the rooms and decor, visit The Lambert Castle Blog at:

https://lambertcastleweb.wordpress.com/museum/

Passaic Historical Society:

The Society & Museum:

The Passaic County Historical Society is a private non-profit educational organization founded in 1926 and dedicated to cultivation of interest in the history and culture of Passaic County and former home of silk magnate Catholina Lambert was built in 1892. The Castle is owned by the County of Passaic and has been the home to the Society since 1934.

Library & Archives:

Located in the lower level of the Castle is the Elizabeth A. Beam Memorial Historical Research Library, operated by the Passaic County Historical Society. Here scholarly researchers, genealogists and historical enthusiasts may find books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, genealogy records and other information that reveals the history of Passaic County. Access to the library is included with regular admission to Lambert Castle.

Membership:

The Society depends upon the support of its membership as well as museum admission to sustain its important mission. Please consider becoming a member and helping to preserve the history of Passaic County.

The Second Floor Galleries:

The Castles’s second floor has several exhibition galleries, each presenting a different historical display from the Society’s collections. To the right of the fireplace on the walls of the second floor balcony is an exhibition of works by noted Paterson artist Julian Rix. On the opposite side are portraits of notable Passaic County residents and a collection of historic engravings of the Passaic Falls. Behind the fireplace are the Lambert’s private rooms. To the left, in the former sitting room and bedroom of Mr. Lambert, are the Curiosities and Local Folk Art galleries and the famous Brass Dog Sculpture that served for many years as an advertising sign for a tinsmith’s shop in nineteenth-century Paterson. In the adjacent room, the former bedroom of Mrs. Lambert, is the Local History Gallery which features historical images of prominent businesses and people.

The Third Floor Exhibition Gallery:

The Third floor of Lambert Castle is reserved for changing or seasonable exhibitions.

Disclaimer: This information comes directly from the Passaic County Historical Society & Museum pamphlet and I give them full credit of it. Rather than transcribing the whole pamphlet with the description of rooms, I attached their website and blog on WordPress.com for more detailed viewing.

Staatsburgh (The Mills Mansion) 75 Mills Mansion Drive Staatsburg, NY 12580

Staatsburgh (The Mills Mansion) 75 Mills Mansion Drive Staatsburg, NY 12580

Staatsburgh (The Mills Mansion)

75 Mills Mansion Drive

Staatsburgh, NY  12580

http://www.facebook.com/staatsburghSHS

Open: Thursday-Sunday: 11:00am-5:00pm

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48676-d107418-Reviews-Staatsburgh_State_Historic_Site_Mills_Mansion-Staatsburg_New_York.html?m=19905

Hours: Open Thursday-Sunday: 11:00am-5:00pm (the last tour is at 4:00pm)/Open Monday Holidays from April 19th to October 28th. The mansion then closes to prepare for the holiday season. Closed on Thanksgiving and Easter. There are special programs from January to April so please see the website.

Admission: $8.00 for adults/$6.00 for groups and Seniors/Children under 12 are free. Special events have separate fees and can run from $8.00 to $10.00 and above.

I have been a Friend of the Mills Mansion for about four years and have attended many special events at the mansion including their Afternoon Tea & Lectures, the Annual Meeting and Talk, The Holiday Party and most recently the Isadora Duncan Dance and Reception. Their events are a lot of fun and are very engaging. It also includes a tour of the mansion which is very interesting. Try to get on one of their theme tours.

Their Special Events:

I recently attended their Summer fundraiser “Sunset on the Terrace”, an evening of cocktails, appetizers and music. On a beautiful sunny evening, there is nothing like it. We were entertained by the Perry Beekman Trio with an assortment of jazz music while passed hot and cold appetizers were passed around the room. It is a relaxing night of light food and cocktails and wine while chatting with members as the sun sets on the mansion’s terrace. Now I know why the Mills loved this house so much.

Another event I have attended over the past few years has been their “Christmas Cocktail Party” that is held in the formal dining room which is decorated for a Victorian Christmas. What is nice is that everyone is dressed in suits or tuxes for the evening and like its Summer counterpart, it is a evening of light appetizers both passed and on the tables, light desserts and an assortment of wines from a local vineyard.

The “Winter Lectures & Teas” have gotten more interesting over the years. The tables are laden with tea sandwiches, scones and small cakes and the Staatsburg blend of tea. They are always refilling everything for you and I have seen some big eaters at the table. The lectures this year were on various subjects taking place during the Victorian era that included “Bicycling and the Women’s Movement”, “Masquerade Balls during the Season” and “Etiquette & Calling Cards during a Social Visit” by visiting lecturers from colleges or local historians. These are a nice afternoon of good food and interesting discussion.

All of these can be seen on the organization’s website.

History:

In 1792, Morgan Lewis, the third Governor of New York, purchased an estate covering of about 334 acres and commissioned the construction of a colonial-style house on the site of the present mansion. In 1832, the first house was destroyed by fire, said to be the act of arson committed by disgruntled tenant farmers.

The current home, originally built in 1832 and greatly expanded in the 1890’s, the Mills Mansion (also known as Staatsburgh) is emblematic of the great country estates built in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to house America’s wealthiest families.

Staatsburgh is a New York State Historic Site located withing the boutonnieres of Mills-Norrie State Park. It is an elegant example of the great estates built by America’s financial and industrial leaders during the Gilded Age.

A 25 room Greek Revival structure was built on the site in 1832 by Morgan Lewis and his wife, Gertrude Livingston, replacing an earlier house that had burned down. This second house was inherited by Ruth Livingston Mills, wife of noted financier and philanthropist Ogden Mills.

In 1895, Mr. and Mrs. Mills commissioned the prestigious New York City architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White to remodel and enlarge their Staatsburgh home. After the completion in 1896, the house was transformed into a Beaux-Arts mansion of 65 rooms and 14 bathrooms. Its exterior was embellished with balustrades, pilasters, floral swags and a massive portico. The rooms were furnished with elaborately carved and gilded furniture, fine oriental rugs, silk fabrics and a collection of art objects from Europe, ancient Greece and the Far East.

In 1938, the house and 192 acres were given to the State of New York by Gladys Mills Phipps, the daughter of Ruth and Ogden Mills. The estate is now operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. In 1988, the Friends of Mills Mansion were organized to support the preservation and educational work at the site.

(Friends of the Mills Mansion Website)

Design:

The outside of the mansion features a massive portico, balustrades, pilasters and floral festoons. The central part of the mansion is layered into a basement, three floors and an attic. In the north and south wings, there is a subbasement, a basement and two floors. Ceilings in the older part of the building dating prior to the enlargement (the first floor of the central part) are about 14 feet high, whereas the ceilings of the later construction (first floor of the north and south wings) can be about 18 feet high. The interior of the building is decorated in French styles of the 17th and 18th century. However, some architectural elements of the previous home have been preserved in the process.

Preservation:

The Mills Mansion poses several challenges to preservation: On the outside, a gray sprayed concrete finish which was added later as a preservation measure need to be removed and replaced with a more suitable surface treatment. At the same time, the decorative cornice and many decorative elements need to be either restored or replaced. On the inside of the building, wall paint and furnishings fabrics are in need of replacement, marble and wooden surfaces need to be cleaned and the objects of the mansion’s collection need to be conserved.

(Wiki Website)

 

Zabriskie House  421 Franklin Avenue Wyckoff, NJ 07481

Zabriskie House 421 Franklin Avenue Wyckoff, NJ 07481

Zabriskie House

421 Franklin Avenue

Wyckoff, NJ  07481

http://www.zabriskiehousewyckoffnj.org

Open: Please check out their website for the dates when the house is open to the public.

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46945-d10359429-Reviews-The_Zabriskie_House-Wyckoff_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I visited the Zabriske House in May 2016 and 2019 for the Northwest Bergen History Coalition 6th Annual History Day. The house is left the way the last owner. Grace Zabriskie,  willed it to the town with all the original furnishings.

It has period furnishes, family heirlooms and antiques. The docents will take you on a tour of the house and show you where all the later additions were added and how they make up the whole house. As you walk through the house, you can see the difference in structure of the home plus how the last owner lived.

Don’t miss touring the gardens in the Spring as Mrs. Zabriskie worked with a Botanist to plant the gardens to bloom at different times. She planted it in stages so that she could entertain in them but still treated the gardens similar to the house as if you had to walk into a room. It is very nice and colorful in the Spring.

On the terrace there are people to guide you through the house and docents to take tours. The ladies had a nice reception laid out for all of the people who came to visit.

The original stone structure of the VanVoorhees-Quackenbush-Zabriskie House was built in 1730 by William Van Voorhees. It is believed to be the oldest house in Wyckoff, NJ. In 1824, William’s son, Albert, completed a major addition to the house in the classically Dutch colonial style. The original structure then became the dining room (NWBHC).

Zabriskie House IV

History of the House: (Taken from the Wyckoff History Page)

The Van Voorhees-Quackenbush-Zabriskie House has been a local landmark for over 275 years and is believed to be the oldest structure in the Town of Wyckoff, NJ. In 1720, William and John Van Voor Haze, yeoman of Bergen County, purchases 550 acres of land in what is now Wyckoff. The brothers were descended from Dutch settlers who emigrated from Holland in 1660 (Wyckoff History).

The first stone house was built circa 1730 by William. The land was cleared and the family farmed, raising table crops and staples such as grain, corn, potatoes and grapes. Over time, apple orchards and dairy farming became main occupations in the area. The Jersey Dutch were especially skilled at animal husbandry. They were considered the best farmers and gardeners in the American Colonies (Wyckoff History).

There were only about 20 families in the area in 1775, when the house served as the village store and tavern. William’s son, Albert, served in the Militia in the Revolutionary War. The original stone structure later became the dining room of the house, when a large addition was added in 1824 by William’s son, Albert when he was 86 years old. He had just one son, John, but likely expanded the house for his nine grandchildren and their wives and children. Over the years, in addition to serving as a home, the house served as a not only home, tavern and store but also as a hotel and ballroom for area parties (Wyckoff History).

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The original 1730 house has a steeply pitched roof and overhanging eaves designed to protect the building and foundation from rain. It has a two piece “Dutch” door to allow ventilation while keeping animals outside. Inside is a five foot high fireplace which originally was the sole source of heat and was used for all cooking (Wyckoff History).

The much larger 1824 structure is three stories originally tall with a sub-basement. It contains four fire places, again for heat. It has two half and four quarter moon windows and two oval windows. There are four bedroom with pegs to hand clothes on (no closets then). Its exterior demonstrates the classic Dutch Gambrel roof with an upper 23 degree roof line and then a lower 45 degrees roof line. This beautiful design was developed by the Dutch in northern New Jersey and up the Hudson River and is found nowhere else in the world. The typical Dutch front porch has two benches on either side of the entrance (Wyckoff History).

The property left the Van Voorhees family in the mid-1800’s. In 1867, it was purchased by Uriah Quackenbush. Uriah and Keziah Quackenbush had one son, John, who died as a young adult. Grace Quackenbush was his only child and was two years old when he died. She was raised in the house by her grandparents, who left the property to her when they passed on, after Grace had married John Zabriske (Wyckoff History).

During her lifetime, Grace modernized the house (including adding an indoor bathroom) and restored the appearance of the home using authentic period antique furniture and furnishings. She also created three beautiful formal gardens on the landscaped property with her friend, Mrs. Elizabeth Spencer, a botany major (Wyckoff History).

The house is considered one of the finest examples of American architecture in northern New Jersey. The current House Museum has been called one of the finest in New Jersey. In 1973, Mrs. Grace Q. Zabriske, who was the last resident, willed the house and its antique furnishings to the Township of Wyckoff, when she died that year. The “Zabriskie” house belongs to everyone in Wyckoff to enjoy (Wyckoff History).

Please check out their website for when the house is open to the public.