The Hermitage National Historic Landmark

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Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!
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NW Bergen County History Day

For several years, the Northwest Bergen History Coalition has been holding a themed History Day. On History Day, several historic sites in the county are open, running tours and stamping passports. In 2018, when I visited the Hermitage, the theme was ‘How Immigration & The Railroad Shaped Our Towns’. Ten sites participated that year and I made it to a few.

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The Hermitage

The Hermitage in Ho-Ho-Kus is Bergen County’s first National Historical Landmark. The original dwelling was built in the 1700s.  During the Revolutionary War, Theodosia Prevost was left to tend the property while her husband was off fighting. She opened the home to soldiers as a rest station, extending a personal invitation to General Washington and his troops.

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Theodosia’s husband was killed during the war, but she continued to host the militia. Guests during the Revolution included James Monroe, William Paterson, the Marquis de Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton, Lord Stirling and Aaron Burr.

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Aaron Burr and Theodosia married at the Hermitage in 1782, after the death of Theodosia’s first husband. They lived there for only a short while. The Rosencrantz Family bought the home in 1807 and in 1847 expanded it to a 14-room Gothic Revival mansion.

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The last surviving Rosencrantz heir, Mary Elizabeth, lived there for her whole life. In her later years, she fell on hard financial times and was unable to properly maintain the house.

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She burned herself on the fireplace and had to call for help in the late 1960s. It was then discovered that she and a cousin had been reduced to living in two rooms of the house without any heat or electricity. She moved to a nursing home and willed the Hermitage to the State of New Jersey. She died in 1970 and ownership of the estate passed to New Jersey with the stipulation that one section of the house dating to the 1700s remain untouched.

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Bergen County historic sites

  1. The Old Stone House (Ramsey)
  2. The Schoolhouse Museum (Ridgewood)
  3. The Hermitage (Ho-ho-kus)
  4. The Zabriskie House (Wyckoff)
  5. The John Fell House (Allendale)

Location: 335 Franklin Turnpike, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ
Designation: National Historical Landmark
Date designated/established: May 22, 1970
Date of my visit: April 28, 2018

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Only this one window has a stained glass panel. Visitors saw it when at the threshold of the front door at the top of the staircase…designed to impress them.