Tag: NJ Historical Sites

Hamilton-Van Wagoner House Museum  971 Valley Road  Clifton, NJ 07013

Hamilton-Van Wagoner House Museum 971 Valley Road Clifton, NJ 07013

Hamilton-Van Wagoner House Museum

971 Valley Road

Clifton, NJ  07013

(973) 744-5707

https://www.cliftonnj.org/256/Hamilton-House-Museum

Open: Sunday 9:00am-5:00pm/Monday & Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm

Fee: Suggested Donation $5.00

 

I visited the Hamilton House Museum this afternoon which is right down the road from Montclair State College and sits at the border of the Clifton-Montclair border. The interesting part of the house location is that it still sits the farm land of the Van Wagoner Family but the house was moved from its location to the current one because of the building of Route 46 in 1973.

When talking with curator, the house is going through a transition from the City of Clifton ownership to the County of Passaic Historical Society’s site. They are currently cataloging every piece in the house and putting it online. They want to view the collection to see what they can work with within the home.

Each room represents a different time in the history of the house. There is a living room from the Victorian age, the kitchen is from the late 1700’s to the early 1800’s and the dining room is from the mid-1800’s. These rooms are furnished to represent a certain time in the house.

There will be many revisions in the future for the house so there are some changes on the way. The upstairs is currently being used for storage and there will be revision there as well. I got a quick tour of the rooms with the curator and he said there will be more changes in the future as they catalog each piece. The grounds are currently being replanted.

Hamilton House MuseumII.jpg

The Hamilton House Museum sits at the Clifton and Montclair border

The house is one of the last examples of early 19th century stone houses in Passaic County. The house was built in 1817 by John and Ann Vreeland and then passed to the Van Wagoner family. It changed hands a few times until 1856 when the Hamilton Family bought the house (no relationship to Alexander Hamilton). The house remained in the Hamilton Family until 1972 when the last living relative died and no one in the family wanted possession of the house (Tour Guide & Wiki). That’s when the City of Clifton bought the house from the family of its historic value. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 13th, 1982 (Wiki).

Hamilton House Museum III

The outside grounds of The Hamilton House Museum

History of the Hamilton House:

(taken from the City of Clifton website)

This 18th Century Dutch gambrel-roofed homestead was once the home of the Van Wagoner and Hamilton families. This basic of the house does not greatly differ from its Dutch antecedents.

The sturdy one and one half story cut sandstone structure, flanked by a grainery, spring-house and gardens reflects almost two hundred years of American history. It brings back memories of an uncluttered horizon with farms, orchards, fresh brooks, forest full of game and filled with scent of wildflowers.

Hamilton House & the Clifton Community:

Although the City of Clifton was incorporated in 1917, a community had existed since 1679. Prior to 1917, the area was known as Acquackanonk Township and included parts of : Little Falls, Passaic, Paterson and West Paterson.

The Indian Chief Captahem deeded 11,000 acres to the early Dutch settlers on the shores of the Passaic River. Predominately rural, this sparsely populated village thrived and grew.

The farmhouse was presented to the City of Clifton by the developers of the late Henry Hamilton. The Hamilton family had bought the 96 acre property in 1856 and for over 100 years until the death of Mr. Hamilton in 1970, it had been the family home.

Current Location and Future Plans:

The house was moved to its present location in Surgent Park in 1973. Infinite plans have been taken with examination and documentation of the building’s structural elements. Extensive research has been conducted including the records and treasured memories of Miss Caroline Hamilton as well as: Artifacts, Deeds, Manuscripts, Maps, Photographs and Wills.

Scheduling Tours:

The museum is opened for tours on Sunday from 2:00pm-4:00pm (except on holidays). The house is going through a transition right now with the change over.

 

 

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Grover Cleveland Birthplace                    207 Bloomfield Avenue Caldwell, NJ 07006

Grover Cleveland Birthplace 207 Bloomfield Avenue Caldwell, NJ 07006

Grover Cleveland Birthplace

207 Bloomfield Avenue

Caldwell, NJ   07006

(973) 226-0001

https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/presidents/grover_cleveland_birthplace.html

Open:  Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday & Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am-12:00pm-1:00pm-4:00pm. Closed on all major holidays.

Fee: Free New Jersey State Park System/Free Parking on premise

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46338-d2661291-Reviews-The_Grover_Cleveland_Birthplace-Caldwell_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

 

I recently visited the birthplace of of our 22nd and 24th President of the United States of America and it is an interesting look into one man’s past. The Grover Cleveland Birthplace Museum was originally the pastor’s residence for the First Presbyterian Church in Caldwell, NJ.

Grover Cleveland

President Grover Cleveland

What I found interesting about this historical home is that the President’s sister, Susan, saved everything of the family’s past. Things like furniture, home furnishings, cooking utensils, paintings and photos of the family plus personal items of the President such as his clothes, pipes, shaving kits and traveling cases so there is a lot of interesting items to see and well thought up display cases.

The house is broken up into the kitchen area, the living chambers, the former living room area which has most of the displays and then the front hallway where more family displays are located.

Grover Cleveland Birthplace IV

President  Cleveland and Mrs. Cleveland’s personal clothes

Try to take a tour with the tour guide, Paula, who knows the house backwards and forwards and gives you an interesting take on the family. She will be able to point out all the family objects and personal items that have been donated by family members. Things from formal clothes to a piece of the President’s wedding cake.

Grover Cleveland Birthplace III

A piece of the President’s wedding cake

The whole tour takes about an hour and you will find yourself memorized  by the displays and the family history of the children and grandchildren. It is interesting to see how the family grew when they were living in Caldwell, NJ.

History of the Cleveland Birthplace Museum:

Grover Cleveland’s birthplace was built in 1832 as the Manse or pastor’s residence for the First Presbyterian Church of Caldwell. Cleveland’s father, the Reverend Richard Fally Cleveland was the minister here from 1834-1841.

Originally this frame home had a two-story main section with a one-story kitchen to the east and a one-story lean-to at the rear. It was enlarged several times between 1848-1870 to meet the growing needs of the Presbyterian clergy. The house is a good example of local vernacular architecture.

Grover Cleveland Birthplace

The Birthplace house

The historical significance of the Manse was first noted in 1881 when Cleveland was running for Governor of New York. As his political star  ascended, so did the interest in preserving his birthplace as a museum. A group of Cleveland’s friends and admirers began negotiations to purchase the Manse in 1907. Their efforts culminated in the opening of the house to the public on March 18, 1913.

Most of the first floor rooms portray the Manse as it was in 1837, the year Grover Cleveland was born. The decidedly middle-class character of the rooms reflect the day to day life of the Reverend Richard Cleveland and his family. Among the artifacts on display from Cleveland’s early years are his cradle and original family portraits.

Grover Cleveland Birthplace II

Grover Cleveland’s crib where he was born

Contrasting sharply with the humble beginnings portrayed in these rooms, the exhibit gallery features a striking display of artifacts that reflect the financial and political success Cleveland achieved during the last quarter of the 19th Century. Here, the mud-slinging campaign of 1884, the public’s intense interest in his wife and children and America’s political climate throughout his split terms of office are explored.

The Grover Cleveland Birthplace State Historic Site is the only house museum in the country dedicated to the interpretation of President Cleveland’s life. It is the nation’s leading repository of Cleveland artifacts and political memorabilia. The Grover Cleveland Birthplace is listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.

The President’s time in New Jersey:

Stephen Grover Cleveland was born on March 18, 1837 to the Reverend Richard Cleveland and his wife, Ann. Named for the first ordained pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell, he would in time become known by his middle name, Grover.

Cleveland was raised in a strict, modest home. As the son of a minister and the fifth of nine children, he had a religious and principled upbringing with few luxuries. When Grover was four, Reverend Cleveland moved his family to Fayetteville, NY.

(The Grover Cleveland Birthplace Museum pamphlet)

The Cadmus House: Fair Lawn Museum     14-01 Politt Drive  Fair Lawn, NJ 07410

The Cadmus House: Fair Lawn Museum 14-01 Politt Drive Fair Lawn, NJ 07410

The Cadmus House Borough Museum

14-01 Politt Drive

Fair Lawn, NJ  07410

(201) 796-7692

http://www.cadmushouse.org

http://www.fairlawn.org/content/203/267/521.aspx

https://www.co.bergen.nj.us/discovering-history/cultural-historic-sites

Fee: Free to the public

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46430-d17707566-Reviews-Cadmus_House-Fair_Lawn_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I visited the Cadmus House today and it is a very interesting look back on the history of Dutch Bergen County and the town of Fair Lawn, NJ.

Cadmus House III.jpg

The Marker

The Cadmus House was built in 1808 by landowner Jacob Haring and his wife, Margarat. It was originally a two room farmhouse when it was built on their extensive farm land. The Harings’ sold the house to Abraham and Harmones Van Derbeek in 1815 and they turned around and sold the house to Thomas Cadmus and his  wife, Margaret in 1816 and the name stuck from there.

Cadmus House

The house had a gable and second floor built in the late 19th century

Over the years, the house had had many owners and many uses. Before the house was moved in 1985 to its current location, it served as a real estate office at that time. When they were building new construction on the spot, the house was saved by a group of concerned Fair Lawn residents to preserved the town’s past and it was turned into the Cadmus House-Fair Lawn Museum.

The house is broken down into different themed rooms. The downstairs rooms are devoted to the Fair Lawn’s past with pictures of old homes that used to line the streets of the neighborhood. There are pictures of old farms and farm houses, relics from town such as arrowheads, farming equipment and old farm house decor such as ice boxes and apple presses for cider.

Cadmus House II

Pictures of Fair Lawn’s past

In the room that once served as a dining room, there are period Dutch items that would be needed to run a household or a business.

Cadmus House Cider Press.jpg

The apple press which was a big part of the farming community in Bergen County

The upstairs rooms have different displays. One room is devoted to Victorian living with furniture and bedroom decors along with dolls and cribs. The other room is dedicated to the history of the Fair Lawn Fire and Police Departments as well as memorabilia from Fair Lawn High School such as trophies, yearbooks and old films of football games.

There is plenty of parking in the front of the house and the parking lot is shared with the railroad station next door. The house is only open the third Sunday of each month and it is closed for the months of July and August.

If you want to take a glimpse of Bergen County’s past Colonial, Victorian, Motor Age or current, the Cadmus House will give you a perspective on living in Bergen County in the past into current times.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park, Laboratory Complex and Glenmont        211 Main Street, West Orange, NJ 07052

Thomas Edison National Historical Park, Laboratory Complex and Glenmont 211 Main Street, West Orange, NJ 07052

The Thomas Edison National Historical Park

211 Main Street

West Orange, NJ  07052

(973) 736-0550

https://www.nps.gov/edis/index.htm

Open: Sunday 10:00am-4:00pm/Closed Monday-Tuesday/Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm

Note: There are renovations going on at the site so please call ahead to check on hours and fees.

The Thomas Edison National Historical Park, Laboratory Complex and Glenmont home are a step back in time when machines were run by belts and pulleys and music was played on phonographs. Where to the passerby, the buildings betray little evidence of the industries they once started. Discover where America’s greatest inventor changed our world forever.

The Laboratory site Complex contains:

  1. Visitor Center (Restrooms & Gift shop)
  2. Chemistry Laboratory
  3. Chemical Storage and Pattern Shop
  4. Metallurgical Laboratory
  5. Main Laboratory
  6. Powerhouse
  7. Blacksmith Shop
  8. Building 11
  9. Vault 12
  10. Black Maria
  11. Water Tower
  12. Vault 32
  13. Vault 33
  14. Building 35 (Maintenance Facility)

Park Information:

The Laboratory Complex is open Wednesday through Sunday. The Glenmont Estate is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Glenmont tickers are limited and are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis from the Laboratory Visitor Center. Please call for specific hours.

Fees:

Entrance Fee-$10 (Under 16 years old free)

Optional Laboratory Audio Tour-$5

Park Annual Pass-$40

Inter-agency Passes Accepted

Group Reservations: Call 973-736-0550 ext. 33

Filming and Photography: Call 973-736-0550 ext. 50

Corporate Events: Call 973-736-0550 ext. 50

For more Information: http://www.nps.gov/edis (973) 736-0550 ext. 11

Calendar of Events: http://www.nps.gov/edis/planyourvisit/events/htm

*Thomas Edison National Historical Park Facebook.

Directions to Glenmont:

*Please respect the privacy of our neighbors by driving directly to and from Glenmont.

Directions to Glenmont:

*Put your pass on the dashboard of your car

*Right out of the parking lot

*Right at the first light and stop at the gatehouse

*Go up Park Way

*Right onto Glen Avenue

*Left onto Honeysuckle Road

*Right into paved parking lot

*Tour begins in front of the home

*Restrooms located in Potting Shed/Visitor Center

*Information is taken from National Park Service, US Department of the Interior, Thomas Edison National Historical Park, West Orange, New Jersey.

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60796-d1023095-Reviews-Thomas_Edison_National_Historical_Park-West_Orange_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

 

I had visited the Laboratories of Thomas Edison and it is very interesting to tour the floors of inventions. There are very innovative items that I never knew he invented, things like talking dolls and many household items for the kitchen and home.

Edison National Site.jpg

Another room they showed was his private office where he did most of his personal work and spent his sleeping hours when working at the laboratory. Each of the rooms show how and at what stages of the invention process that each object.

Edison National Site II.jpg

Glenmont, the family home, can be a musty place in the colder months. The house smells like it is old. It needed a good airing out. The period furniture are very interesting. The house is full of Victorian elegance but it needs a good renovation. The walls and ceilings  need some plastering and the home needs a good deep cleaning. Still it is interesting that for all their prestige, they still lived more like an upper middle class family.

The history Edison National Historical Park:

Thomas Edison National Historical Park preserves Thomas Edison’s laboratory and residence, Glenmont, in Llewellyn Park in West Orange in Essex County, NJ. These were designed, in 1887, by Henry Hudson Holly. For more than 40 years, the laboratory had a major impact on the lives of people worldwide. Out of the West Orange laboratories came the motion picture camera, improved phonographs, sound recordings, silent and sound movies and the nickel-iron alkaline electric storage battery (Wiki).

Edison’s home was designated as the Edison Home National Historic Site on December 6, 1955. The laboratory was designated as Edison Laboratory National Monument on July 14, 1956. On September 5, 1962, the 21 acre site containing the home and the laboratory were designated the Edison National Historic Site and overseen by the National Park Service. On March 30, 2009, it was renamed Thomas Edison National Historical Park, adding “Thomas” to the title in hopes to relieve confusion between the Edison sites in West Orange and Edison, NJ. Following extensive renovations of the laboratory complex, there was a grand reopening on October 10, 2009 (Wiki).

Historic Glenmont Mansion:

Thomas Edison resided at Glenmont, his 29 room Victorian mansion, for over half his lifetime. Its architect, Henry Hudson Holly, is considered to be the father of the Queen-Anne style architectural movement in the United States. Holly’s crowning achievement, Glenmont, was part of a working estate which presently contains six outbuildings including a barn and a greenhouse. Examples of Thomas Edison’s poured concrete structures, the auto garage and the potting shed are also still in existence. (Wiki).

Glenmont

The interior of the fully furnished Victorian home is a rare example of Pottier & Stymus interiors, a New York decorating firm that lost the majority of its records in a catastrophic warehouse fire in the year 1888. Glenmont’s interiors display rare examples of the firm’s modern Gothic style furniture suites and also include decorative arts objects chosen by the company to outfit this home in Victorian style. The Edison family appreciated the original interiors, consequently making only minimal changes to the home’s decoration during their residency (Wiki).

Glenmont’s period rooms reflect examples of the era’s Eastlake style and Aesthetic Movement style interiors. The first floor library boasts hand stenciled walls in flat, stylized floral patterns with a ceiling of distemperment. Tall case cabinets store leather bound volumes. The decorative arts collection at Glenmont ranges from major works of art and sculpture to everyday objects. The collection, consisting of 40,000 items, includes remarkable examples of Hudson River School artists and antiques (Wiki).

Examples of more utilitarian items include the Edison china collection, still housed in the historic Butler’s Pantry, the household linen collection, family toiletry items, books and household receipts that detail purchases made by the Edison family.  These vouchers reveal to us the Edison’s choice of household products and their spending habits (Wiki).

Disclaimer: The above information on the history of the house and labs came from Wiki and I give the format full credit for the information. The above information also comes from the National Parks Services pamphlet and I give them full credit for the Visitor’s information.

 

 

 

 

The Paterson Museum  2 Market Street          2 Market Street   Paterson, NJ 07501

The Paterson Museum 2 Market Street 2 Market Street Paterson, NJ 07501

The Paterson Museum

2 Market Street

Paterson, NJ  07501

(973) 321-1260

Open: Monday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm/Sunday-Sunday 12:30pm-4:30pm

Fee: Free

http://www.thepatersonmuseum.com/

http://www.patersonmuseum.com

https://www.patersonnj.gov/department/?structureid=16

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46718-d2704664-Reviews-Paterson_Museum-Paterson_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Paterson Museum is an interesting museum of the history of the City of Paterson, NJ. The museum is broken into different sections of the City’s history. The museum discusses from the time that the Lenape Indians lived in the area to the rise of colonization and then to how it developed into the Silk City. through city planning and placement. The nice part of this museum is that the parking is free, it can be toured in about two to three hours and it is walking distance to the Paterson Falls and to Little Peru restaurants. It is also free.

The Introduction:

The Paterson Museum offers a ‘History within History’ experience. Located inside the former erecting shop if the Rogers Locomotive & Machine Works, the museum, presents a glimpse of the rich history and the many factors that gave rise to Paterson, New Jersey: “America’s First Planned Industrial City.”

From the natural wonders and the first inhabitants of the land that lay below and above the ground to the vital role Paterson played in setting of our nation’s industrial course. Through the museum’s exhibits. you’ll find out why Paterson was known for more than a century as the “Silk City.” You’ll discover that Paterson was at the forefront of locomotive, submarine and airplane engine development. And that’s just the beginning of our story. By the time you finish your visit, you will want to learn more about this city that surrounds the Great Falls.

The Exhibitions:

Paterson Residents: There are exhibitions on such celebrity natives as Lou Costello and his life after living in Paterson are shown in detail. Baseball players, football players and actors have shown against all odds and color barriers they found success in the world with Paterson being their roots.

Paterson MuseumII

The Silk Industy

Silk City: The history of Paterson as ‘Silk City’ features winders, warpers and power-looms that produced beautiful fabrics. How the Falls and the location of the City of Paterson played its part in the garment industry at the turn of the last century. Not just in the silk industry but also in other companies like the Wright Aeronautical Corporation and the their time as a manufacturer in Paterson.

Paterson Museum III

The Paterson Fire Department

The Paterson Fire and Police Departments: The history and development of both the Paterson Police and Fire Departments are told through pictures, stories, uniforms and equipment through the ages. There are many turn of the last century fire trucks in the museum.

World War Exhibition: The museum has a wonderful exhibition on the history of Paterson and the role it played in the World Wars. There are all sorts of uniforms, munitions and stories to tell.

Geographical: There is a whole side exhibition of gems and minerals both native and from all over the country at the museum and a full display of native New Jersey stone formations. There is also a discussion of how the Falls played such an important role inf the development not just of the City of Paterson but of New Jersey as well.

Alexander Hamilton Exhibit: The history and life of Alexander Hamilton is told from the time he was born in the Caribbean to his coming to the United States, his marriage and his rise through the ranks of the government. There is how he helped develop the banking industry and paying of the government debts to his fall from grace and his eventual fatal duel with Aaron Burr.

Lenape Indian Culture: The Lenape Native American culture is shown how the tribes developed, lived, worked and hunted and gathered to create the society that was in place before colonization. There are all sorts of tools, displays on their regions of living, language, housing (there is a recreation of a Tee Pee here), that native wardrobe and a complete display of tools and arrow heads. It is a very detailed account of life as a Lenape Indian.

The museum shows the history not just of Paterson but of the surrounding areas and how growth of the City of Paterson made an impact on the region.

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.

Ringwood Manor-A New Jersey State Park 1304 Sloatsburg Road, Ringwood, NJ 07456

Ringwood Manor-A New Jersey State Park 1304 Sloatsburg Road, Ringwood, NJ 07456

Ringwood Manor-A New Jersey State Park

1304 Sloatsburg Road

Ringwood, NJ  07456

Phone: (973) 962-7031

Fax: (973) 962-2247

http://www.ringwoodmanor.org

Admission: Adults $3.00/Children 6-12 $1.00/Children 5 and under Free

Review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46774-d9564482-Reviews-Ringwood_Manor-Ringwood_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I have visited the Ringwood Manor during the Christmas holidays over the last three years and it keeps getting better. Each room in the house is tastefully decorated for the holidays. The Great Hall was decorated with garland and ornaments with a large tree in the corner.

The formal dining room was set for Christmas dinner for the family after church. The elegant china was set on the table with poppers and small Christmas gifts for the guests. The side boards were set with the dinner entrees and sides for the family meal.

ringwood manor christmas

Each room was set for the holidays with garlands, trees and decorations. As it was explained to me on another house tour during the holidays, the Victorians would normally only decorate one or two rooms for the holidays and not the whole house. The whole house might be decorated based on the wealth of the family and the amount of servants to take care of the home. Needles would have to cleaned up and the trees would have to be attended to on a daily basis.

One of the nicest rooms that was decorated was the screened in porch. Here there was a tree set with presents, hot house flowers and garland lining the room. The sunlight shined throughout the room and the decorations sparkled.

Each room had a docent to explain the decor or what the room’s use had been in the family’s time. A visitor can roam the house at their leisure and see the rooms as many times as they want. There is also a gift shop in a room off the formal dining room that contains some beautiful Christmas crafts for sale by the Women’s Club of New Milford. Some of these women are very creative and sell the most amazing Christmas ornaments made of glitter, wood, branches, walnuts and moss.

The decor of the home changes over time and there are different things to see every year. The barn also on the property as you drive in has more artwork and crafts. In the Gardener’s Shed next to the house, the Society has a small cafe with sandwiches, desserts and coffee/tea/hot chocolate.

The tour of Ringwood Manor is wonderful during the holiday season and the rest of the house opens up during the warmer months of the year.

History of the House:

This 582 acre historic site is open to the public year round. The historic house museum, Ringwood Manor is open Wednesday to Sundays year round.

History of 19th Century Manor House and Landscape:

The present manor house was begun by Martin J. Ryerson in 1807. He and his sons controlled not only the iron mines and forges on the property but also operated productions at four other locations in the area. The Ryerson family resided in their 10 room Federal style home for almost 50 years.

In 1853, the Ryerson’s house and property were purchased by business partners Peter Cooper and his son in law Abram S. Hewitt. The 22,000 acre ironworks and the Ryerson’s home were purchased for a sum of $100,000. Their company, Cooper-Hewitt & Company, grew to be the fifth largest corporation in the United States. The Hewitt’s, one of the most influential and wealthiest families of the 19th century, fell in love with the Ringwood estate.

They decided to make this site of their summer home, naming it The Forges and Manor of Ringwood. They enlarged the home of the Ryerson’s, constructing major additions or renovations in 1864, 1875, 1900 and 1910. The completed 51 room house is 226.5 feet long and features 28 bedrooms, 24 fireplaces and 13 bathrooms and more than 250 windows. The house was built in an eclectic style, typical of the Victorian period. In 1875, the Manor House was an excellent example of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. By 1900, the Hewitt’s changed the exterior facade to its present appearance, adding the neo-classical portico and columns of the front porch and affixing white stucco to the exterior walls. The furnishings of the house reflect the varying tastes and styles of the family and time period.

The formal gardens surrounding the Manor House were developed by Mrs. Hewitt and her daughter, Eleanor around 1900. Their design was influenced by the Hewitt’s many trips overseas. The gardens possess a mysterious old world charm that captivates visitors as they enjoy the serenity of reflecting pools and the progression of blooms from early spring to late fall. Placed throughout the garden are French and Italian statuary and garden ornaments as well many interesting architectural items from New York City acquired while Abram Hewitt served as Mayor and Congressman. Examples of these features include columns from the old New York Life building, gates from the Astor family’s home and gate posts from Columbia College. Relics from the iron company that are found on the grounds include a trip hammer and anvil, cog wheel and a Dictator-class mortar the base of which was created by the Hewitt’s company and used at the Battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi during the Civil War.

History of Ringwood, NJ:

Colonial Ringwood:

Long before the Forges & Manor of Ringwood existed this property was occupied by the Native American people. Prehistoric artifacts found on the grounds confirm their inhabitance back to the Archaic and Woodlands periods. Living in a hunting and farming paradise, these Munsee-speaking Lenape peoples dwelled at the head of the Topompock or Ringwood River Valley. This paradise attracted colonial prospectors, who by 1740, came for the iron ore found in the ground. Recognizing the rich magnetite ores, Cornelius Board settled here in 1739 and first utilized the property for iron mining. He was followed shortly thereafter by the Ogden family who established the Ringwood Company and built the first blast furnace here in 1742.

After twenty years of production, a German promoter, Peter Hasenclever, organized the American Iron Company to exploit the resources in colonial North America, purchasing the Ringwood area in 1764. He would also develop forges at Long Pond and Charlotteburg but made Ringwood the center of his iron empire. Hasenclever established iron plantations and developed the production of flax and timber across 50,00 acres of land stretching through New Jersey and New York, from present day Butler to New Foundland and Nova Scotia. The iron was said to have been “the best iron in the American colonies.” Robert Erskine, the last ironmaster of the American Iron Company, was sent from England in 1771 and would manage the company during the Revolutionary War.

(History of Ringwood, NJ)