Princeton Historic District: Princeton University – NRHP

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Princeton University is one of the nine Colonial universities founded before the American Revolution. It dates back to 1746, when it was The College of New Jersey in Elizabeth and then moved to Newark. In 1756, it moved to its current site in Princeton, New Jersey into the original Nassau Hall building.

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The college was renamed Princeton University in 1896 has consistently been ranked the USA’s top university over the past two decades. Many influential people have graduated from the institution including two US presidents and twelve US Supreme Court justices. It is currently around $66,000 a year to attend Princeton, if you can get in.

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After the completion of Nassau Hall (a national landmark on its own), the campus continued to expand around it. Today, the Princeton campus sits on 500 acres with many gorgeous Collegiate Gothic style buildings and some more modern architecture on the south side.

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A friend from out of town wanted to photograph the architecture, so we drove down to the campus only to find it was move-in day for the students and abuzz with activity. The good thing about this is that there were plenty of people to offer directions and we were able to ride the campus bus from the parking lot to the historic section.

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Location: 125 Faculty Rd., Princeton, NJ

Designation: National Register of Historic Places

Date designated or established: June 27, 1975

Date of my visit: 9/3/2016

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The Princeton University Chapel opened in 1928, replacing an older one that had burned down.

Philadelphia City Hall

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Philadelphia City Hall was constructed from 1871 to 1901 and was designed to be the tallest building in the world at 548 feet. By the time it was finished, it had been surpassed by the Washington Monument and the Eiffel Tower.

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With 700 rooms and 22-foot supporting masonry walls, it is the largest municipal building in the United States. It houses all three branches of the city government.

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The 37 foot statue of city founder William Penn tops the tower and is the largest statue on top of any building in the world.

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Fun fact: The construction of One Liberty Place ended the decades-old gentlemen’s agreement to limit the height of other city buildings to William Penn’s hat brim. This was said to have cursed the Philly sports teams until another Penn statue was erected on the Comcast building just before the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.

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The clock faces in the tower are 26 feet in diameter, three feet larger than London’s Big Ben. There is a small glass-enclosed observation deck just below the base of the statue which we have never been able to visit since it’s only open during business hours. We did get to the top of One Liberty on our last visit for views of City Hall and the rest of Philadephia.

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Location: 1400 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Designation: National Historic Landmark

Date designation declared: 1976

Date of my visit: August 11, 2017

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Ringwood Manor National Historic Landmark District

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sarah Hewitt built several additions onto the house over the years.

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Ringwood Manor has 51 rooms, 30 of which are open to the public via a ranger-guided tour.

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Mrs. Hewitt favored lavish French Louis XV design. She allowed her husband to decorate only three of the rooms in a more masculine style.

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She was an avid collector of marquetry, china, etc… Her collections are showcased throughout the manor.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Hewitts had six children. The two younger daughters stayed on at Ringwood and ran the iron mines after their parents’ deaths.

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The youngest son, Erskine, was the last surviving heir and donated the estate to the State of New Jersey in 1936.

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Ringwood State Park posts:
  • 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

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There is a trail behind the mansion that leads past some colonial era graves to this dam

Glacier National Park: Lake McDonald

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At ten miles long, Lake McDonald is Glacier National Park’s biggest lake. It is on the West of the Continental Divide, which receives more rain, so the area is lush.

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The lake is not fed by glaciers and so does not have the distinctive turquoise hue found on the Eastern side of the park. But the water is crystal clear, showcasing the multicolored Argillite rock on the lake’s floor.

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We stopped at Lake McDonald on our last evening in the park. It stays light longer in Glacier in the summer than where we live because it is farther from the equator. We stopped to dip our feet in the icy lake waters before going into the lodge for dinner.

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Lake McDonald Lodge was built in 1913 on the Eastern shore of Lake McDonald at the mouth of Midget Creek. Like the other lodges in the park, it has a Swiss Chalet design which was part of the Great Northern Railroad’s campaign to attract tourists to the ‘American Alps.’

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Though not as big as Many Glacier, the lodge has an impressive three-story lobby and was restored in the 1980s. It includes many of the original furnishings and some reproductions of the original Kanai craftsmen paper lanterns. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

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We had dinner in Russell’s Fireside Dining Room, which was far better than the disappointing meal we’d had previously at Many Glacier’s Ptarmigan Dining Room.

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This appetizer is a charcuterie platter with local game and cheeses. It was delicious.

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Location: 288 Lake McDonald Lodge Loop, West Glacier, MT 59936

Designation: National Park, National Landmark

Date designation declared: 5/11/1910, NHL 1987

Date of my visit: 6/27/2018

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National Historic Landmark: St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the New York diocese and is perhaps the most famous Catholic Church in the US. It is on the busiest section of 5th Avenue, across the street from Rockefeller Center.

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Once inside the doors, it is an oasis of calm in the midst of chaos. Though crowded with tourists when there is not a service, there is still a hush when compared with the blaring horns of the traffic outside.

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The land was originally purchased by the Jesuits for a college campus in 1810 and served multiple purposes over the next several decades. At that time, this area was considered north of the city proper.

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Construction on the cathedral began in 1858 and took 20 years to complete because work on it stopped during the Civil War. The Gothic Revival-style cathedral was dedicated in 1879 and had the main spires added nearly ten years later. They were the tallest structures in NYC at the time.

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Renovations and additions continued into the early 1900s. The Cathedral was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

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Compare the marble color in this photo, taken in 2010 to the aerial view of the spires from 2014 at the end of the post

The last time we visited, there was an extensive restoration underway. The Cathedral that I’d thought was grey all my life gradually emerged as pristine white marble. The restoration cost $177 million and was completed just in time for Pope Francis’ visit in 2015.

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Location: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022

Designation: National Historic Landmark

Date designated or established: 12/8/1976

Date of my visit: 8/1/2014

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The Pietà by William Partridge is three times the size of Michelangelo’s Pietà
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From the Top of the Rock, you can clearly see the cross-shaped floor plan in the style of the great European cathedrals.

Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area: DeWint House

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area  is one of the forty-nine federally-recognized National Heritage Areas in the United States. The Hudson Valley NHA is considered a National Park Service affiliate. Through the partnership with the Park Service and other organizations, the Heritage Area includes over one hundred sites spread across ten counties in New York State.

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I visited the DeWint House in Tappan, New York. This site is billed as Washington’s Headquarters in Tappan. George Washington stayed there on four separate occasions between 1780 and 1783.

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I stopped first at the Visitor Center in the 1865 carriage house. A later owner of the DeWint house added this structure to the property after returning from the Civil War. There are many artifacts displayed from Washington’s time and there is an introductory video in which two charming children take visitors on a virtual tour.

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The DeWint house was built in 1700, evidenced by the numbers set into the brick facade. During the Revolutionary War, it was owned by the DeWint family who had made their fortune in the West Indies. Over the years, the home passed to different owners until the Masons bought it and restored it as a Masonic Shrine in 1932.IMG_2641

George Washington stayed at the DeWint House four times during the Revolution. His most notable visit was the second, when he signed the death warrant of John Andre. Andre was the major who conspired with Benedict Arnold in the thwarted plans to hand West Point over to the British.

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During a later stay, Washington negotiated the evacuation of British forces from New York City with British General Carleton.

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After watching the video and looking at the displays in the carriage house, I went over to the stone and brick house. The house’s two first-floor rooms have been restored by the Masons and furnished to reflect the 1780s and Washington’s visit.

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You can only peer into the rooms through a Plexiglas partition, so taking in the video and the museum displays first is necessary to appreciate the history of the site.

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To see my other posts from The Hudson Valley National Heritage Area, please click the links below:

  • DeWint House (Washington’s HQ at Tappan)
  • Camp Shanks
  • Storm King Arts Center– Coming Soon!
  • New Windsor Cantonment– Coming Soon!
  • Purple Heart Hall of Honor– Coming Soon!

Location: 20 Livingston Avenue, Tappan, NY

Designation: National Heritage Area, National Historic Landmark

Date designation declared: 1996 NHA, 1966 NHL

Date of my visit: 8/18/2018

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The Pierpont Morgan Library National Historic Landmark

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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If you’ve watched the series or read The Alienist, a work of historical fiction by Caleb Carr, you’ve seen a representation of J.P. Morgan as a powerful financier who controlled Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt’s New York City of 1896.

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In reality he was the USA’s most influential banker, financing the railroad, US Steel, General Electric, etc… With a group of other bankers, he helped to stabilize American markets during the Panic of 1907.

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He was also an avid collector of rare books, manuscripts, antiquities and art with nearly inexhaustible funds. He built a lavish library in 1906 to house his collections. In 1924, his son opened to library to the public as a museum.

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J.P. Morgan used the West Room as his private study. Its furnishings reflect his fondness for the art of the Renaissance. It was here that he met with the group of bankers in 1907 to resolve the national economic crisis. There is a vault in this room for the most valuable manuscripts.

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The rotunda, with its marble columns and elaborate ceilings, was the original entrance to Morgan’s private study. The blue and white reliefs are modeled after the work of the artist Raphael in Rome. The paintings represent the three ages contained in Morgan’s collections: The Antiquities, Middle Ages and Renaissance.

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The East Room is the original library. It is three stories of carved walnut and contains rare books including a Bible printed by Johannes Gutenberg in 1455.

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More modern buildings were added to the museum later and contain rotating and permanent exhibits. We enjoyed the Etruscan jewelry section!

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Location: 225 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016

Designation: National Historic Landmark

Date designated or established: 11/13/1966

Date of my visit: 9/6/2015

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