Tag: Historical Sites

The Van Allen House Oakland Historical Society 3 Franklin Avenue & Route 202 Oakland, NJ 07436

The Van Allen House Oakland Historical Society 3 Franklin Avenue & Route 202 Oakland, NJ 07436

The Van Allen House

Oakland Historical Society

3 Franklin Avenue & Route 202

Oakland, NJ  07436

(201) 337-9652

http://www.oaklandhistoricalsociety.org

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46693-d10359401-Reviews-The_Van_Allen_House-Oakland_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I visited the Van Allen House on my first trip on the Northwest Bergen History Coalition 6th Annual History Day tour of Upper Bergen County. It is mentioned on ‘Day Forty-Three’ of my blog, ‘MywalkinManhattan.com’. It had been my last stop of the day.

Of all my stops that day, I found that the Van Allen House needed the most work. From the outside, it is very quaint. On the inside, the house needed a lot of renovation work. The upstairs had water marks all over the ceilings. The gardens also needed some work as well. One of the best things of the house is its gift shop. It has some of the most unusual handmade gifts that it was worth the trip out to the house.

The Oakland Historical Society, who operates the house, was putting a lot of time and effort in the renovations of the house and their volunteers I was told would be working on the gardens. Either way, it is an interesting house to visit and it is steeped in history.

The Van Allen House was built around 1740 as the home of farmer Hendrik Van Allen. During the Revolutionary War, it served as the headquarters for George Washington on July 14, 1777. At the time, he moving his troops from Morristown, NJ to New York (Wiki).

In 1778 and 1779, Bergen County used the house as a court. Edward Day Page, a dairy farmer, businessman and Oakland’s second mayor, owned the house as well as the northern fourth of Oakland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (Wiki).

It was saved  from demolition by the Oakland Historical Society with aid from the Woman’s Club of Oakland. It is now maintained as a museum displaying colonial Dutch life. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 24, 1973. There were several branches of the family in the Paterson, Passaic and Bergen Counties in New Jersey (Wiki).

The Oakland Historical Society:

The mission of the Oakland Historical Society (Oakland, NJ) is to bring to life and help maintain the history of the Borough of Oakland by activating and preserving especially the Van Allen House site, with the Vygeberg Farm Office Building and by keeping a museum there showing living displays and memories of Oakland’s past. We support living displays and memories of Oakland’s past. We support the Borough’s efforts to continue and complete the renovations of both buildings with the help of the Bergen County Office of Historic Preservation (OHS).

During the year we offer opportunities fro people to visit the Van Allen House and experience local life as it was in the 18th and 19th Centuries on a farm settlement in northern New Jersey. The Lenni-Lenape Indians are known to have used the path which followed the Ramapo River Valley north and south and has now become an interstate roadway, Route 202, which goes from Maine south into Maryland and beyond. Copies of letters George Washington wrote at the House are available there during open-houses, usually the 3rd or 4th Sunday afternoon many months during the year. Please check our events page to see when the house will be open (OHS).

The site also has a building from 1902, built by Edward Page, one of the industrialists who settled along Route 202 to develop agricultural for the growing cities of Northern New Jersey, such as Paterson or Newark (OHS).

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The Old Stone House 538 Island  Road Ramsey, NJ 07446

The Old Stone House 538 Island Road Ramsey, NJ 07446

The Old Stone House

538 Island Road

Ramsey, NJ  07446

(201) 327-2655

http://www.RamseyHistorical.org

Open: Four times a year, for special events and by special appointment only. Call for hours.

Fee: Voluntary donations

TripAdvisor Review:

I visited ‘The Old Stone House’ during the Northwest Bergen History Coalition’s 8th Annual History Day.  This Dutch stone farmhouse is one of the oldest buildings in Ramsey, NJ. It has been known as the Westervelt-Ackerson House to the families that built it and have lived in it in the past. The house is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

The house sits on a bluff that overlooks the highway but at one time was a 300 acre farm. The house’s furnishings on the first floor are period to the house with some of the original doors and windows of the house. There are still many original features in the house.

The first floor has a exhibit on the armed services and off to the side of the house which had once served as a antique shop to the last two owners of the house is a general store exhibition. On the second floor are two children’s displays, one of toys and the other is set up like a school. There are period furnishings and children’s playthings in both rooms. The upstairs was finished off the house in the 1920’s.

The barn off to the side of the house was moved to the property and holds a collection of period farm equipment.

The house had been used as a private home for most of its history as well as a tavern during the late 1700 to early 1800’s. In the modern age, it was used as a antique store for the last two residents.

During the holidays, there is a big Christmas ‘Sinterklaas Festival’ (Dutch Christmas) that happens in early December.

The History of the house:

The house has had many owners who have put their own touches to the ownership of the house. The original part of the house was built around 1746 by the original owner of the house, Jan Westervelt. This may have been part of the land leased to Uriah and Ruloff Westervelt in 1744. The land was part of the Ramapough Tract for the Proprietors and was from Peter Fauconier, one of its original purchasers (RHS).

The Ramapough Tract is situated between  the Ramapo Mountains and the Saddle River. It was purchased from the Indians on November 18, 1709 and it was acknowledged by the Indians at Tappan before Cornelius Harring, the Justice of the Peace. The land was passed through the Westervelt family through the early 1800’s until it was sold outside the family in 1837.

From there the house had multiple owners until it was sold to the State of New Jersey in 1955 and is now leased to the borough of Ramsey for a dollar and is maintained by the Ramsey Historical Society.

The Museum at the Station                         176 Rock Road Glen Rock, NJ 07452

The Museum at the Station 176 Rock Road Glen Rock, NJ 07452

The Museum at the Station

The Glen Rock Main Line Station

178 Rock Road

Glen Rock, NJ  07452

(201) 342-3268

http://glenrockhistory.wix.com/grhs

Open: The last Sunday of each month from 1:00pm-3:00pm

There is no admission fee although donations are gratefully accepted.

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46608-d2661796-Reviews-Maywood_Station_Museum-Maywood_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I visited the Museum at the Station as my last stop on the Northwest Bergen History Coalition 8th Annual History Day tour. The station is managed by the Glen Rock Historical & Preservation Society and is housed inside the original 1905 Erie Main Line Train Station on Rock Road at the tip of downtown Glen Rock. The station was at one time a destination and departure point for families and farmers, commuters and immigrants.

There are permanent exhibits  on the Erie Railroad’s past and artifacts from Glen Rock’s past including clothing, furniture, toys and farm equipment. Some of the items they have on display are an interesting toy train collection by a local resident, an old Victrola with the accompanying records, period clothing donated from local residents and local artifacts from local residents.

They had a small display for the day on how immigration shaped the town of Glen Rock and it grew on the transportation that was brought to this small town. The volunteer docents who operate the museum do a nice job with the tours and in describing all the artifacts on display.

What is nice is that right down the road is the historic ‘Rock’ that Glen Rock is named for is a block down the road at the corner of Rock Road and Doremus Avenue. This historic landmark is a product of the its movement here in the last Ice Age. During the time of the Lenape Indian living in the area, it was considered sacred and used as a historic marker. During the Colonial era of the town, it was used as a gathering place.

The museum is open limited times of the month so please call in advance.

(Please see my blogs under my site, “MywalkinManhattan.com”, ‘Days One Hundred & Nine’ and ‘Day Forty-Three’ for description of my touring days of the sites of Bergen County)

 

 

Waldwick Museum of Local History           4 Hewson Avenue  Waldwick, NJ 07463

Waldwick Museum of Local History 4 Hewson Avenue Waldwick, NJ 07463

Waldwick Museum of Local History

4 Hewson Avenue

Waldwick, NJ  07463

(201) 873-8913

http://www.WaldwickMuseum.org

The Museum is open one Sunday afternoon a month and for special events only.

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46892-d14049026-Reviews-Waldwick_Museum_of_Local_History-Waldwick_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I visited the Waldwick Museum of Local History during the Northwest Bergen History Coalition 8th Annual History Day for their exhibition, “How Immigration & the Railroad Shaped our Towns”. The Waldwick Museum is in the restored 1887 Railroad Station, which has served the town of Waldwick and the surrounding towns.

The Museum is has been planned for years and the restoration was spearheaded by Doug Cowie, the Vice-President of the Waldwick Community Alliance, who at the ribbon cutting ceremony at the opening on May 22nd, 2016, thanked resident, Kay Williams. Ms. Williams formed the Waldwick Historical Society in 1977.

In a ‘Brief History of the Borough of Waldwick’, the timeline for the town is:

Pre-1700: Lenni-Lenape Indians inhabited the land.

1600’s: European farmers settled the land.

Late 1700’s: Franklin Turnpike is a toll road.

1840’s: The Railroad connecting Jersey City with Suffern is built and ran through Waldwick, then named New Prospect.

1852: Erie Railroad Company takes over the railroad.

1880: New Prospect becomes a depot.

1886: An architectural Queen Anne Style depot is built. The depot is called ‘Waldwick’ meaning “Light in the Woods”. The depot brings more commerce to the area also called Orville Township.

1890: The Railroad Signal Tower is erected in a similar style as the Depot.

1919: The small railroad hamlet is incorporated as the Borough of Waldwick.

When I visited the museum that day, the theme of the day was how immigration had changed the suburbs and how the Town of Waldwick had a increase of Italian immigrants move into the town bringing their traditions with them and how it shaped the town.

They also had an extensive exhibition of the town’s railroad past with maps and pictures of the old railroads. The pictures are accompanied with memorabilia from the railroad era. There is also artifacts from the town in different eras on display.

The museum has limited hours and is run by volunteers. It is open one afternoon a month and for special events.

The Hopper-Goetschius Museum  363 East Saddle River Road Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458

The Hopper-Goetschius Museum 363 East Saddle River Road Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458

The Hopper-Goetschius Museum

363 East Saddle River Road

Upper Saddle River, NJ  07458

(201) 327-8644

http://www.usrhistoricalsociety.org

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46882-d14048029-Reviews-Hopper_Goetschius_Museum-Upper_Saddle_River_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I visited the Hopper-Goetschius House Museum during the 8th Annual Northwest Bergen History Coalition History Day. I had never been here before and it is a real treat. There are many buildings on the property to visit on top of the house and the fact that this was someone’s house into the 1980’s is pretty interesting.

The best part of the tour of the house is the secret stairs in the kitchen that lead to the old second floor. This  can only accessed behind a panel that leads to a narrow set of steps. You can see it from the new second floor from the top floor.

The house is a treasure trove of period furniture and family items and on the property there is a schoolhouse, a barn, a blacksmith shop and an outhouse. During the Summer months, the house is open for special tours on the weekends and in the Fall, they have a Harvest Festival and Christmas holiday events. The house is run and operated by the Upper Saddle River Historical Society.

Upper Saddle River Historical Society:

The Upper Saddle River Historical Society was organized in 1977 to collect, preserve and distribute the history of the Upper Saddle River area. The Society is also responsible for the management and restoration of the Hopper-Goetschius House Museum located at 245 Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

The Historical Society has over 500 members and is host to nearly 2000 museum visitors each year. The Society holds program meetings throughout the year along with special events such as a Spring Concert, a wonderful Harvest Fair in the fall and an Old Time Holiday Open House in December, featuring mulled cider with chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

The Museum is open for tours every Sunday during July & August from 2:00pm-4:00pm or by appointment. For group or individual tours contact: Althea Gardner @ (201) 327-7807 or Kay Yeoman @(201) 327-2236.

Hopper-Goetschius House Museum Restoration Fund Drive

USR Historical Society.org

Hopper Genealogy Info. http://www.reetree.com

(Upper Saddle River Historical Society)

The Hopper-Goetschius house on the corner of Lake Street and East Saddle River Road dates back to 1739. Built by the Hopper family, it is the oldest remaining house in Upper Saddle River. We know it existed in 1739 because it was recorded in surveyor Charles Clinton’s journal and possible it is older. Rosalie Fellows Bailey in her book on pre-Revolutionary Dutch houses, says it was marked as the home of Gerrit Hoppa on a rough sheepskin map made about 1713.

The house underwent several changes in the mid 1800’s. The large central chimney with back to back fireplaces was removed. Probably, with more modern forms of heating available such as wood stoves, the fireplace seemed a bit old-fashioned and the owners took it out. Besides, they wanted to use the entrance hall as a room, so the stairway along the east wall was removed and a central staircase added where the fireplaces had once been. The dormers were added in the Victorian era.

The Hoppers farmed the land and had a lot of it by today’s standards. The property extended from the Saddle River (Lion’s Park) up the hill almost to Montvale and up the East Road to where Creative Gardens was located.

In 1814, the house became the home of the Reverend Stephen Goetschius of the Old Stone Church. It remained in the Goetschius family for a century and a half, always a place of central importance in town as Stephen Goetschius, the great-great grandson of the Reverend Stephen, served as the borough clerk for over 40 years and conducted his town business from the east room of the house.

The house was without running water until Stephen’s death in 1962. Until improvements were made at that time, Steve’s wife, Lizzie, as those before her, carried water from the well for washing, cooking and shoveled coal for heat.

In 1985, the Hopper-Goetschius house was presented to the Borough of Upper Saddle River by Clinton and Grace Carlough. Lizzie Goetschius, the last resident of the house was Clint Carlough’s aunt. The house today serves as a museum, run by the Upper Saddle River Historical Society and offers the public historically related events throughout the year.

(Upper Saddle River Historical Society)

The property also contains:

*The Privy or Outhouse that was in use at the Hopper-Goetschius House until 1962 when plumbing was installed in the house.

*The Ramsey Sayer house was moved to the grounds in 1999 to become part of the museum complex. This is the oldest existing from house in Upper Saddle River, a good example of a tenant house common on farms in this area. The Ramsey Sayer house belonged to William Ramsey, the grandfather of Kate Fisher Goetschius, mother of Steve Goetschius, who lived in the Hopper Geotschius house for many years.

*The Van Riper-Tice Barn was erected about 1800 by the Van Riper Family on their farm on West Saddle River Road (near the Cultural Center). It was later owned for many years by Harmon Tice. In 1989, it was scheduled to be demolished to make way for a development, the Historical Society dismantled it, moved it to the Museum ground and had it restored and rebuilt on its present location.

*Snake Fence: a zig-zag fence of split rails once common in this area was added in the property north of the Van Riper Tice barn. The project was completed in 2001 with the help of Will Mazzuto and the vision of John Kroner and Joanne Lombardo.

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the Upper Saddle River Historical Society website. Please check the site for the hours and days it is open.

Waldwick Signal Tower 1 Bohnert Place Waldwick, NJ 07463

Waldwick Signal Tower 1 Bohnert Place Waldwick, NJ 07463

Waldwick Signal Tower

1 Bohnert Place

Waldwick, NJ  07463

http://www.wctower@optimum.net

Open: Please note the website for when the two buildings, the tower and the railroad station museum are open.

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46892-d10366154-Reviews-Erie_Railroad_Signal_Tower-Waldwick_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

This was the second time I visited the Waldwick Signal Tower, one of the last surviving of its kind on the railroad line. The architectural Queen Anne Style depot was built in 1886. The depot was called ‘Waldwick’ meaning “Light in the Woods”. The railroad signal tower was erected in 1890 in a similar style as the depot (Waldwick Historical Society).

The tower is a two story museum right next to the tracks in a rather obscure location in the back which you have to reach coming off Hopper Road to 1 Bohnert Place and the parking lot is off to the side.

There is some walking here and not ADA accessible as the building was built so long ago but you can see it from a car from the parking lot and get a feel for its look and purpose at an earlier time in history. The main room downstairs had an interesting exhibition of railroad deeds from the various railroads that used to be part of the system of Bergen County whereas the upstairs which can be reached from the outside.

Upstairs you get a better view of the tracks and the surrounding area. There was a train video going the first time I was there and there are members of the Waldwick Historical Society on hand to answer any questions.

Waldwick Signal Tower History:

Waldwick’s Train Signal Tower is both historically and architecturally significant. It is a rare historical treasure for its residents and railroad enthusiasts from far and wide. Before the turn of the 20th Century, the Waldwick rail yard was an active repair depot and turn station for the Erie Main Line from Jersey City, NJ to Port Jervis, NY and was a major employer in Waldwick thus  contributing  to the borough’s residential and commercial growth.

The ornate Queen Anne style building was built in 1890 and housed the mechanism connecting switches and signals allowing trains to safely move from one track to another. The tower men who operated the switches by hand had great power indeed in their time.

By the mid-1980’s, upgrades in computerized signal equipment warranted the elimination of the tower. The tower was slated for demolition in June 1987. The Waldwick Historical Society members led by Kay Williams campaigned to place the tower on The National Registry of Historical Places. This accomplishment allowed the tower to at least stay dormant till the next wave of enthusiasts came along in 1999.

Michael Brunkhorst and Glenn Corbet banded together a group of citizens to form the All Aboard committee of Waldwick’s Historical Society. Curtis Springfield of Wanaque, who is the great-grandson of the renowned locomotive engineer, Harvey Springfield, got wind of the tower’s trials. He stepped up to the plate and purchased the tower for $6,000 then gave the Tower to the Borough of Waldwick as a gift to preserve for future generations in honor of the trainman’s family name.

The small All Aboard group set out to create awareness of the tower’s existence and it’s plight. Before long, fund drives were organized grant applications were filed. The response of a number of supporters including Mr. Robert Keeble, have given this project a solid start.

Meticulous measures are currently being made and can now be witnessed at the track end of Bohnert Place, to maintain the tower’s historical authenticity. Attention is being given to the placement of exact shaped decorative shingles and the repair and replacement of the original slate roof are among the initial stages of it’s restoration.

The Mission Statement:

The All Aboard continues seeking membership and financial support to complete the tower with the vision of becoming “The Harvey Springfield Memorial Tower at Waldwick” for generations of Waldwick citizens and for rail enthusiasts everywhere. If funding continues the tower is sure to be the pride of Waldwick with time and care.

This information comes from the Waldwick Historical Society’s pamphlet.

All Aboard Waldwick

Bless this tower, standing tall,

With Memories we share with all;

Bless the levers standing there,

Their work now finished,

with a prayer;

Bless this time in history now,

Remembering its always, this we vow;

Bless the ones who share this song,

And keep us all in health and strong.

Words by Helen Taylor.

A Brief History of the Borough of Waldwick

Pre-1700: Lenni-Lepane Indians inhabited the land.

1600’s: European farmers settled the land.

Late 1700’s: Franklin Turnpike is a toll road.

1840’s: The railroad connecting Jersey City with Suffern is built and ran through Waldwick, then named New Prospect.

1852: Erie Railroad Company takes over the railroad.

1880: New Prospect becomes a depot.

1886: An architectural Queen Anne Style depot is built. The Depot is called ‘Waldwick’ meaning “Light in the Woods”. The depot brings more commerce to the area also called ‘Orville Township’.

1890: The Railroad Signal Tower is erected in a similar style as the Depot.

1919: The small railroad hamlet is incorporated as the Borough of Waldwick.

Disclaimer: This information is taken directly from the Waldwick Historical Society pamphlet and I give them full credit for the information. Try to take time to see both  the tower and the museum by the train station. The Whistle Stop Restaurant is around the corner and has a reputation for excellent sandwiches and ice cream.

The Old Station Museum 171 Old Station Lane  Mahwah, NJ 07430

The Old Station Museum 171 Old Station Lane Mahwah, NJ 07430

The Old Station Museum

171 Old Station Lane

Mahwah, NJ  07430

(201) 512-0099

http://www.mahwahmuseum.org

*The Museum is currently closed for the season yet it was open for this event. It will reopen in late June. Admission to the museum is $3.00 per person over the age of 16 and is free for kids under 16 years of age.

TripAdvisor Review:

As part of my tour on the Eighth Annual Northwest Bergen History Coalition Day, I visited the Old Station Museum, which is partnered with the Mahwah Museum (mentioned in this blog also) and its concentration is on the history of trains and the trains that serviced the area.

They had an interesting exhibition on the trains that used to run in the area before they consolidated years ago, the companies that ran them and a full train display (as well as there is a complete train set in the lower level of the Mahwah Museum that you should not miss. It will bring the kid out in you).

One of the displays that I really liked was the Pullman Car exhibition of menus, china and other things that were used on the car to make service the best it could be. Like they mentioned in the display, food was a loss leader to the company which was made up in the ticket itself but it is what made the experience for the passenger. It what was brought them to the train in the first place. All I could keep thinking of was Eve Marie Saint in ‘North by Northwest’ when she was dining with Cary Grant.

The best part of the museum is when you tour the museum’s caboose that is located in the back of the museum. There are displays of the men that worked the line and their role in the railroad as well as a display of their living conditions. With new technology the caboose went out of service and there are very few left now. You really see the caboose from inside out and its purpose on the train.

The Old Station Museum and Caboose:

The exhibition at the station this season features several models built by former Mahwah resident, Hollis C. Bachmann. Mr. Bachmann constructed a model of N.Y.C. #999 and several other trolleys. We are fortunate to receive a donation of this balance of Mr. Bachmann’s collection from his niece, Kay Doody. Mr. Bachmann had built out model of the North Jersey Rapid Transit interurban car (trolley) that ran from Suffern to Paterson. You may remember seeing that model in our main museum building. It was constructed of tin cars, was two feet in length and included a detailed interior, having taken Mr. Bachmann six months to build. Please come by and see these really nicely detailed creations that are the offspring of that trolley.

The Old Station Museum established in 1967 is located in a building that was the original station on the Erie Railroad in Mahwah. It was rescued from destruction, first by the Winters family and later by the Mahwah Historical Society. It contains many interesting artifacts given to the museum by collectors of railroad memorabilia. It also features a 1929 Erie cupola caboose which has been recently restored. There is a scale model of the Erie system and photos of the early days of railroading in Mahwah and along the rest of the mainline.

In 1848, the Paterson and Ramapo Railroad was built through Mahwah to carry passengers and freight from New York City via Paterson  to the mainline of the Erie Railroad located in Suffern, New York. From there, connections could be made to upstate New York then Chicago and on to the west.

In 1871, the leaders of Mahwah petitioned the Erie to allow a stop at a new station in Mahwah. The 1871 station remained in service until 1904 when the Erie expanded to four tracks and raised the roadbed from the ground level. The second station remained until 1914 when it was destroyed by fire. The current station was built in 1914 and still serves commuters today.

http://www.mahwahmuseum.org

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the museum’s website and I give them full credit for all of the work. The museum will be reopening in June so be on the lookout for more information on events at the museum. It is a great place for kids.