Kearney House (Blackledge-Kearney House)
Alpine, NJ 07624
(201) 768-1360 ext. 108
Open: Most weekends & holiday afternoons from May to October
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.
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.
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.
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.
The house illuminated by candlelight (Kearney House.com)
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.
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.
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.
Alpine Boat Basin by the Kearney House