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Ringwood Manor and its surrounding 479 acres became a national historic landmark district in 1966. Ringwood State Park is comprised of the Ringwood Manor district and the nearby Skylands Manor. The NJ Parks department manages the site and provides regular tours of the mansion. Photography is not allowed inside the house, except during the Victorian Christmas Open House.
The surrounding Ramapo mountains are rich in iron deposits. Iron mines and forges made this an area of strategic importance during the Revolutionary War and again during the war of 1812.
Ironmaster Martin Ryerson built the first 10-room section of Ringwood Manor in 1807. The State Park has maintained some of this original section with the simple Washingtonian decor that the Ryersons favored.
The Cooper-Hewitts bought Ringwood Manor as a summer home in 1853. Peter Cooper invented glue, gelatin and the Tom Thumb locomotive. Together with his son-in-law A.S. Hewitt (a one-term NYC mayor) he founded one of the largest iron companies in the USA. A.S. Hewitt married Peter Cooper’s daughter Sarah.
Sarah Hewitt built several additions onto the house over the years.
Ringwood Manor has 51 rooms, 30 of which are open to the public via a ranger-guided tour.
Mrs. Hewitt favored lavish French Louis XV design. She allowed her husband to decorate only three of the rooms in a more masculine style.
She was an avid collector of marquetry, china, etc… Her collections are showcased throughout the manor.
The grounds were patterned after European gardens the Hewitts had seen on their travels. They also incorporated into the landscape salvaged items, like Columbia University’s iron gates and the Cooper Union Institute’s marble columns.
There is a large iron chain in front of the house which Mr. Hewitt thought was the chain that was stretched across the Hudson River at West Point during the Revolutionary War to keep the British navy out.
He later found out that he’d been scammed, that the chain was not authentic, but Mrs. Hewitt perpetuated the rumor that it was THE chain, so there it still sits. There is also a cannon from the USS constitution in front of the house along with other iron antiques.
The Hewitts had six children. The two younger daughters stayed on at Ringwood and ran the iron mines after their parents’ deaths.
The youngest son, Erskine, was the last surviving heir and donated the estate to the State of New Jersey in 1936.
- Ringwood Manor National Historic Landmark District
- Merry Christmas from Ringwood Manor National Historic Landmark District
- Victorian Christmas at Ringwood Manor (Coming Soon)
- Skylands Botanical Gardens (Coming Soon)
Location: 1304 Sloatsburg Rd, Ringwood, NJ 07456
Designation: National Historic Landmark District, State Park
Date designated or established: November 13, 1966
Date of my visit: 12/8/2018, 8/26/2018, 3/5/2016