Bergen County Historical Society
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Bergen 350 Gala
Many thanks to the Bergen350 Committee, our sponsors and all the folks who came out to support us!
More images on BCHS FaceBook. The fundraising event took place at the Venetian, October 15.
Bergen County's Potential as a Heritage Destination
Thursday, October 23, 2014  | 7:00 pm

Are we there yet? Providing memorable experiences in storied places.
And maybe some jobs.

Having spoken directly to at least 425,000 tourists over the past 37 years, historian and author Kevin Wright will use his experience in historic interpretation, historic site administration, and interpretive planning, to discuss how to provide meaningful and memorable experiences at our most storied places. His presentation, Are We There Yet? will spotlight the cultural and economic value of heritage tourism, noting the particular challenges we face in New Jersey, including bureaucratic intransigence and the lack of qualified management and effective investment in an infrastructure of hospitality. While noting that Morristown National Park pumps about $16 million into the local economy and supports nearly 200 jobs in service industries, nevertheless Valley Forge has nearly six times as many visitors as Morristown and generated four times as much in visitor spending.
We have the history, so why aren't we there yet? 

Wright gave this presentation to 250 business leaders at Bergen Lead's Spring 2013 event at the Stony Hill Inn, Hackensack. 

The Thursday night lectures are at the Steuben House, 1209 Main St, River Edge, NJ 07661, No. 1 on map below. Usually the 3rd Thursday of the month.
Afterwards, please join us for refreshments.
No fee. BCHS Monthly Lectures & Events are listed on our website, updates are frequent.

Harvest Homecoming and the Grand Re-Opening of the Westervelt-Thomas Barn
Saturday, October 25 - 2 pm to 6:00 pm

The Westervelt-Thomas barn, built in 1889 and moved to BCHS land in the 1950’s, has undergone a restoration funded by the Blauvelt Demarest Foundation. The project was based on original photographs.

2:00 pm: Site Opens

2:15-3:00 pm: Tim Adriance will give a presentation on the barn restoration and barn history (Steuben House)

3:15-4 pm: Long Hill String Band
1st Performance (Steuben House)

4:00 pm: Official Ribbon Cutting (Barn)

4:45-5:30 pm: Long Hill String Band
2nd Performance - (Steuben House)

Visit Andrea J. and Michele D. cooking in the outkitchen. Jim the Blacksmith will be set up behind Campbell Christie House. All three houses will be open including the Westervelt-Thomas Barn. Handmade limberjacks made by Manfred are available in the giftshop. Our favorite cider donuts, mulled cider and coffee/tea are availble for purchase in the Campbell-Christie House.
Event schedule subject to change.

Historic New Bridge Landing, 1201 Main St, River Edge, NJ 07661.

$7 adult, $5 children, BCHS members free. Free parking available or take a train on the Pascack Valley Line from Secaucus via NJ Transit to the New Bridge Landing stop.

 Walking Tour Brochure including map and history of HNBL, BCHS collections. 688k file size - PDF.
Brochure available at the 2 kiosks at HNBL. Made possible by BCHS members.
These are the times that try men's souls
Painting of the Retreat by New Bridge and Steuben Hs by B. Spencer Newman
The wooden bridge was later replaced by the 1889 truss swing bridge.
Crossing at New Bridge, Washington saved his army from its certain defeat in November 1776, inspiring Thomas Paine's American Crisis. "Our first object was to secure the bridge over the Hackensack, which laid up the river between the enemy and us..."

New Bridge was a strategic river crossing throughout the American Revolution. Its homes served as military headquarters. Deadly skirmishes echoed about its walls, earthworks were thrown upon its hills, and consuming armies camped upon its fields. Soldiers passed this gateway so often that the Steuben House is said to have seen more of the Revolution than any other house in America.

Washington headquartered here in 1780, Thomas Paine, Major General Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von Steuben, Major General Marie Joseph du Motier, Marquis de LaFayette, Major General Nathanael Greene, Major General Anthony Wayne, Royal Governor William Franklin, Founding Fathers Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, Lt. Col. Henry Lee, Capt. John Outwater, Major John Andre, Lt. General Sir Henry Clinton, Lieutenant General Charles Lord Cornwallis, Major General Charles Grey, Capt. Patrick Ferguson, Col. Francis Lord Rawdon, Lt. Col. Stephen Kemble, Capt. Johann Ewald, Brigadier General Cortland Skinner, Lt. James Moody were all at New Bridge during the American Revolution. Per Military Historian Todd Braisted.


Thomas Gordon wrote in 1834, “There are few spots in New Jersey presenting more pleasing attractions than this country above the Hackensack, and on the highlands on each side of the river. The houses, built in the ancient Dutch cottage form, of one full story, with its projecting pent houses, and dormitories within the slopes of the roof, are sometimes large, always painted white, and surrounded with verdant lawns, shrubbery, and well-cultivated gardens. And we may here remark, that the taste for horticulture and ornamental shrubberies, appears more general in the central and northern parts of New Jersey, than in the southern parts, or in the state of Pennsylvania.”
A Gazetteer of the History of New Jersey, A General View of Its Physical and Moral Condition. 1834
Aycrigg House, Paramus (now gone)
In 1982, 195 of the surviving Jersey Dutch sandstone houses were listed through a Thematic Nomination of Early Stone Houses of Bergen County in the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. BCHS trustee emeritus Claire K. Tholl completed the field work for the survey. The houses are found throughout Bergen County and most are still privately owned. Many have a BCHS Blue Marker. Unfortunately we lost one of the Paramus sandstone houses in July 2012.
For more news. l received an email (Jan 2013) that the Haring-Vervalen House in Norwood was also demolished.
On August 1, 2012, Sen. Weinberg, Sen. Cardinale, Sen. Gordon, Asw. Holly Schepisi, County Executive Kathleen Donovan and other area representatives met in agreement on the importance on getting the Steuben House (a State Historic Site) open and coming up with a creative funding source. Patch River Edge Article Article Article

Where are we now?

We are the largest repository of the cultural history of Bergen County.
We are fundraising for a museum & library building at HBNL to protect and make available our collections.
We rely on private donations, membership and volunteer efforts.
PayPal. or BCHS, PO Box 55, River Edge, NJ 07661

Doesn't Bergen County Deserve a History Museum?
Make a donation where it counts!
100% of your donation goes to our mission.

In the American Revolution, New Bridge served as a battleground, encampment ground, military headquarters and intelligence gathering post in every year of the war. The Steuben House served as Gen. Washington's headquarters in 1780. NJ presented the Steuben House in 1783 to Baron von Steuben for his services during the war.

Would you like to receive our email news & events? Sign up here.
We have over 1,800 email blasts regularly going out to an interested history constituency.

Past President John Heffernan and Linda Heffernan recently made another donation to the BCHS museum building fund - $1,600. Thank you for helping us reach our goal!
Fundraising efforts bring us to $170,450.

100% of your donation goes to our mission.

Historic New Bridge Landing: Can We Profit from the Past Through Heritage Tourism?

Sometimes a simple question has a simple answer: What heritage tourist attraction—other than the Baron von Steuben House at Historic New Bridge Landing—holds even equal potential to put River Edge, New Milford, Teaneck and Hackensack on the map and to attract a steady flow of local, regional, national and international visitors, not only to the site itself, but to local businesses? If I owned a fine or fast food restaurant, a shop or gas station, or even property within easy traveling distance of New Bridge, I’d be shouting for its success.

Click here to see BLOG post.
Tourism to Morristown National Historical Park creates $15,853,100 in Economic Benefit. Report shows visitor spending supports 188 jobs in local economy.
Note: BCHS regularly receives job inquiries.

BCHS Mobile Phone Walking Tour of HNBL now available!
For use on any "smart phone".
QR code for BCHS Mobile App Walking Tour of HNBL

Introducing the new handy Historic New Bridge Landing Walking Tour Mobile App -- for use on any smart phone.

The tour begins with the HNBL Map image (numbered) with corresponding numbered link list: Prehistory, Steuben Hs, New Bridge, New Bridge Landing, Tidemill, Demarest Hs Museum, Campbell-Christie Hs, Barn, Brett Park, Out Kitchen, The Meadow, Museum & Library, I Spy Hunt for Kids.

I've included a short history, photos & images of each important site feature at HNBL. Additional history links are at the bottom of each page. For example; "The Steuben Hs in the Rev War" or "Did Steuben really live here?"

This the first NJ historic site mobile app walking tour.

The code I used advertised it had "enabled assistive technologies." If anyone has ability to test on such software please advise on how well works.

I can update as needed, no printing costs. It is estimated by one tech watcher that 70% of US will have a "smart phone" by 2014.
(I noted this July 2011, you can see how fast they were adopted)

A QR code (s short-cut web link) is now on HNBL site kiosks. To scan a QR code you need to first download the QR code app reader on to your phone. The reader I use was free through iTunes. --
D. Powell Patch article on this App, includes more info.

New Bridge Landing
New Bridge was a prosperous mill hamlet, centered upon a bridge strategically placed at the narrows of the Hackensack River, Bergen County, New Jersey.
Steuben House, Campbell-Christie House (1774) and Demarest House (1794) are landmarks of Bergen Dutch sandstone architecture, popularly called "Dutch Colonial" and frequently seen and admired throughout northern NJ.

The Steuben House (1752) was at the center of activity at New Bridge. Home and store of Jan & Annetje (Ackerman) Zabriskie. The house grew in size as the family became wealthy with their tidemill, store and in trade — shipping on the Hackensack River. Sloops of 40-ton burden would navigate to and from city markets. The bridge was the first crossing above Newark Bay.

The Steuben House, modern photo on a sunny day
The Steuben House
History of Baron von Steuben at New Bridge

Baron von Steuben "thoroughly rebuilt" the large war-damaged stone house on Main Street, River Edge, that now bears his name, forever marking his association with one of New Jersey's most beloved landmarks.

This is largely the house you see today.

The Steuben House is the only extant 18th century building that Steuben owned.

remains of the junkyard with the Campbell-Christie Hs in background The BCHS purchased the land between the Steuben House and north of Main St. in 1944 to buffer and protect the Steuben House from the c.1930s auto parts junkyard.
The end of the junkyard began in January 2000 when HNBL Park Commission secured a $1.1 million Federal grant to buy & clean the junkyard thru Sen. Torrecelli.

BCHS was able to persuade County officials to divert the planned 1956 bridge & 4-lane road expansion to the north of site by donating BCHS land, thus saving the Steuben House and one-lane 1889 swing bridge from being eclipsed and obliterated by a highway.
BCHS Membership form
Photo of Nagel-Auryansen Cemetery marker, Closter
The Bergen County Historical Society (BCHS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer organization, founded in 1902, promotes preservation, study and appreciation of civil, political, military and the general history of the United States of America, particularly of Bergen County. Beginning in 1939, our museum collections were displayed at the Steuben House, a State Historic Site. The house is now open for special events. Membership Application.

The Campbell-Christie & Demarest Houses and Barn are located on Bergen County Historical Society land. BCHS operates the historic house museum and provides programing at Historic New Bridge Landing. Other activities include placement of informative roadside historic BLUE markers, educational events, museum exhibits, monthly lectures, and a library collection. We are not a government agency and do not receive public operating grants or funds, we rely on private donations and membership. More info.
BCHS Board 2014-2015

Historic New Bridge Landing Park Commission (HNBLPC) is an example of public/private stewardship and continues the protection of this NJ cultural landmark/resource. BCHS is proud to be a member and the lead force on the commission.

Read the Draft Resolution of Support for a Line-Item Appropriation of $375,000 for the Historic New Bridge Landing Park Commission. Check out the Impact of Morristown National Park on the local economy.

Sampling of the collections and research.
The Bergen County Historical Society's Collections
The Bergen Dutch were an agricultural community who settled and farmed the valleys of the Hackensack, Saddle and Passaic Rivers, beginning in 1640. The Steuben House, Campbell-Christie and Demarest Houses display a small part of the BCHS collections (objects made or used in Bergen County from 1680 to 1860) which span folk art, ladderback chairs, Hackensack cupboards, kasten (Dutch cupboards), redware pottery, coverlets, quilts and spoonboards.

Shown here: This is 1760's era French Musket, probably of Charleville manufacture, confirmed by Don Troiani, military expert and artist. The musket was pulled out of the Hackensack River in 1903 by a nine year old boy who was fishing from the New Bridge 1889 bridge. It is full-cocked, ready for firing. The gun measures 57". Now on display at the Steuben House.

Thousands of these guns were shipped to the colonies, obtained from the French in support of the American Cause.

Todd Briasted provided advice and contact to Don Troiani.

BCHS collections, Charleville gun found in Hackensack River
The BCHS message board is an online forum for queries, discussions, and alerts about Bergen County history. Enter your event or look for an activity in the Calendar. List your BC history-related website in History Links. 

Anyone can browse the forums, but you must register to post messages.

Don't miss this important BCHS resource!
Please join us. The  more participants, the better!

To contact BCHS, email us to below address.

Message board
Library building
The Society's Library collection comprises family genealogy, diaries, and manuscripts; church, cemetery, and bible records; books, clippings, and on local and county history, the Revolutionary War, and historic architecture; postcards, photos, videos, atlases, and maps.
Library and Manuscript collection is in storage until we can find a permanent home for it. Our ability to provide research assistance is limited but we would be happy to direct questions to appropriate resources. Contact: Check back for updates.

Library Description: library webpage for more info.

Research articles of interest -
Please remember to obey US copyright laws. The articles below have been previously published in BCHS newsletters.

BCHS Newsletter
Spring 2014

Download for free here. Hard copy mailed to BCHS members.

BCHS Newsletter
Fall/Winter 2013-2014

BCHS Newsletter – Spring 2013
1.4 mg (pdf)

BCHS Newsletter – Fall 2012-13
561k (pdf)

BCHS Newsletter – Fall 2011
561k (pdf)

BCHS Newsletter – Fall 2010
1.1 mg (pdf)

BCHS Newsletter February 2010
Demarest House Museum History, Demarests at New Bridge, 1781, Historic Flag Project, A Century Ago, Charles Livingston Bull, 907k pdf

BCHS Newsletter – Spring/Summer 2009
1.1 mg (pdf)

BCHS Newsletter – Early Winter 2008
1.1 mg pdf

BCHS Newsletter – Spring 2008 (pdf) HNBL Train Stop, Outhouse History, Bergen Trolley, A Century Ago, Colonial-era Broadside

BCHS Newsletter – Winter 2006-2007 (pdf) Modern Steuben House history, Haworth House, Marginalia From Ancient Almanacs, Zabriskie Mystery, Franklin Lakes’ Contribution to The Battle of the Atlantic

BCHS Newsletter - Winter 2006 (pdf)
Article on Tenafly, Frank A. Morrison Indian Artifact Collection and a Century Ago

BCHS Newsletter - Spring 2005 (pdf)
articles on Rev War Massacre at the Steuben House, 1780 events at New Bridge, Hackensack Raid in 1780 and a Century Ago

BCHS Newsletter - Fall 2004 (pdf)
articles on Indian Castle at New Bridge, Nike Base NY & Dear Friends by Ruth Paci and a Century Ago

The Steenrapie Encampment Sept 25, 2005
Washington at the Steuben House in 1780

225th Anniversary of the British Grand Forage, Bergen County, New Jersey
October 11 & 12, 2003

Retreat to Victory 2001
Bergen County Commerorates the 225th Anniversary of the Retreat Across New Jersey

Publications For Sale
Photo of 1609 Book
BCHS has some great books to purchase. Click here for a complete listing and order form that you can print out and mail us. Sorry, no orders via the internet. Includes postcards of New Bridge Landing and other sites in Bergen County.

Publication Available!
Bergen County saw much of the American Revolution from its own doorstep.

The Revolutionary War at New Bridge Landing
tells the story of the important role that New Bridge Landing and the Steuben House played in the history of our Independence.  The entire proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the museum building fund of the Bergen County Historical Society.  The book was written by Mary Donohue and illustrated by George Fernandez, longtime residents of River Edge.

The Revolutionary War at New Bridge Landing may be purchased at the Gift Shop of the BCHS located at the Campbell-Christie House at New Bridge Landing. $19.95. Online availability soon.

Map & Directions
How to get to us and when we're open
New Bridge Google map
Many Bergen County homes are listed and described in the BCHS Historic Site Markers booklet. Click here for a description of the Marker Program and a pdf of the booklet.
Google maps logo
Historic New Bridge Landing Location
Donate to BCHS when you shop at Amazon.

For eligible purchases at AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the customer’s selected and qualifying charitable organization.
Choose the Bergen County Historical Society!

You must be in AmazonSmile to make the donation.

Thank you for thinking of us.
100% of the donation goes to our mission.

Winter 360 degree photo of Steuben Hs and Hackensack River
Website created and maintained by Deborah Powell, contact:
I will forward questions to be answered by all-volunteer organization. This site updated 10/22/2014
BCHS message board.
Painting of site by L.Feigel. Painting of Retreat by B.Spencer Newman.
All text by Kevin Wright and D. Powell unless otherwise noted. All photos by D. Powell unless otherwise noted. This website was first created in 1996 and is made possible by donations to BCHS.

Bergen County Historical Society
MAIL: P.O. Box 55, River Edge, New Jersey 07661-0055 |
SITE LOCATION: Historic New Bridge Landing, 1201 Main St, River Edge, NJ 07661
HNBL is only open for special events | (201) 343-9492

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