Tag: Historical Sites

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

Advertisements
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.

The New Jersey Firemen’s Museum at the New Jersey Firemen’s Home  565 Lathrop Avenue Boonton, NJ 07005

The New Jersey Firemen’s Museum at the New Jersey Firemen’s Home 565 Lathrop Avenue Boonton, NJ 07005

The New Jersey Firemen’s Museum at the New Jersey Firemen’s Home

565 Lathrop Avenue

Boonton, NJ  07005

(973) 334-0024

http://www.NJFH.org

Open: Sunday-Saturday 8:00am-4:00pm

Admission: Free

http://www.njfh.org/njfh-museum.php

Located inside the Boonton New Jersey Firemen’s Home, The New Jersey Firemen’s Museum is an 8000 square feet, two story museum that houses steamers, ornate hose carts and antique fire trucks from all eras.

The museum was established in May of 1985 and is home to many fire department in New Jersey’s memorabilia. It seems like everyone fire department in the State of New Jersey is represented here with old fire department pictures, patches from the fire companies, fire trucks from all eras and pictures of department fires from all over the state.

Filling the cases is antique fire equipment, badges from officers in many departments, figurines of fire equipment and ribbons from conventions of the past. There are old fire buckets from the beginnings of the fire service, horns to sound the alarms from the turn of the last century and helmets that retired chiefs from many departments donated with much honor.

New Jersey Fire Museum II

Many companies donated their department pictures from fires of their past that were fought with much bravery. People forget that this job is very dangerous and we have to watch ourselves in every step.

The fire trucks are from every era from the carts that were dragged by hand to horse drawn engines to the original steam engines that were introduced with the advent of technology. All of the equipment has been carefully restored and shined to almost new. Much care has been taken to show the transition of the fire service over the years.

New Jersey Fire Museum

The tours are on your own and the admission is free. You don’t have to be a fire fighter or visiting a resident here to visit the museum. If you are a serious fire buff or have children that are really into fire fighting or being a fireman, this museum will give you all sorts of perspectives on the fire service and its development not just in New Jersey but all over the county as well.

Don’t miss the memorial to the victims of 9/11 off to the side. It is very touching and shows the support of the fire service to the members of the FDNY and their families.

It is a nice afternoon out.

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).

Zabriskie House II.jpg

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.

 

John Fell House  475 Franklin Turnpike Allendale, NJ 07401

John Fell House 475 Franklin Turnpike Allendale, NJ 07401

John Fell House

475 Franklin Turnpike

Allendale, NJ  07401

(201) 783-8754

http://www.johnfellhouse.org

Open: For special events and for corporate events. Please check their website for details.

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g29737-d10356749-Reviews-The_John_Fell_House-Allendale_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I visited the John Fell House in May 2016 for the Northwest Bergen History Coalition 6th Annual History Day on “Day Forty-Three” of “MywalkinManhattan.com” blog site. The house is a stately home that sits at a busy point of the Franklin Turnpike, once the main artery of this part of Bergen County.

The house is operated by the Concerned Citizens of Allendale and sits on 2.8 acres of land which includes the stately home, the Gothic Revival Barn, wetlands and old-growth trees. The house is across from the Celery Farm Bird Sanctuary, which was once part of the estate and is open to walkers year round (BCHS).

The historic John Fell House is named in recognition of Founding Father, John Fell, a revolutionary war patriot, who purchased the property in 1766. The house is located on the march route of Rochambeau’s army, on its way in 1781 to Yorktown, Virginia and the Seige of Yorktown that would decide the American Revolutionary War (Wiki).

John Fell (1721-1798) was an American merchant and jurist. He was born in New York City in 1721, he was engaged in overseas trade and has acquired a small fleet of ships by the time he moved to Bergen County, NJ in the 1760’s and lived at ‘Peterfield’, a home in present day Allendate, NJ (that is now known as the ‘John Fell House’) (Wiki).

He served as judge of the court of common please in Bergen County from 1766 to 1774. With the coming of the American Revolutionary War, he became chairman of Bergen County’s committee of correspondence and the committee of safety. He was Bergen County’s leading delegate to the Provincial Congress of New Jersey in 1775. In 1776, Fell was elected to a one-year term in the New Jersey Legislative Council representing Bergen County.

The house is open for all sorts of special events and can be rented out. Please check out their website above for more details.

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

(Closed now for renovation)

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 in 2016 and in 2019. It is mentioned on ‘Day Forty-Three’ of my blog, ‘MywalkinManhattan.com’. It had been my last stop of the day. The historic home is currently closed due to renovations on the house and will open in the Fall of 2019.

Of all my stops that day, I found that the Van Allen House was in need of a renovation. From the outside, it is very quaint. On the inside, the house needed a lot of fixing up and restoration work. The upstairs had water marks all over the ceilings. The gardens also needed some serious weeding and planting. 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. One of the members makes handmade cloth dolls for $5.00 that are just quaint and make a beautiful gift.

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 History of the Van Allen House:

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).

Van Allen House.jpg

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).

Van Allen House II.jpg

The Van Allen House Marker

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.

Old Stone House IV

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.

Old Stone House II.jpg

The Old Stone House Barn

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.

Old Stone House III.jpg

The Old Stone House