Bergen County Historical Society
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New Bridge served as a battleground, fort, encampment ground, military headquarters, and intelligence-gathering post in every year of the American Revolution. The Steuben House, a state historic site, is the only extant building remaining from the 1776 Retreat through Bergen County, the Retreat to Victory. The house was Washington's HQ while 14,000 soldiers camped nearby for 2 weeks in 1780. It has been the Bergen County Historical Society's HQ since 1939. HNBL is only open for events by BCHS, the grounds are open dawn to dusk. Event Calendar PDF Click Here.

BCHS is the largest landowner at HNBL and the largest historical society in New Jersey. Our collections were begun in 1902 when the organization was founded. They represent the largest collection of artifacts and documents reflecting the history of Bergen County.

BCHS Lecture Evening
Canceled, to be rescheduled:

March 26, 2020, Thursday, 7:30 pm
Topic: Spirits in Stone: The secrets of Megalithic America: Decoding the Ancient Cultural Stone Landscapes of the Northeast by Glenn Kreisberg

Glenn Kreisberg with speak on the hundreds of megalithic stone structures in northeastern America, including cairns, perched boulders, and effigies.

The Lecture Series meets in the Steuben House, 1209 Main Street, River Edge, NJ. No admission, please join us for refreshments afterwards.

Dear members and friends,

The Bergen County Historical Society has cancelled all public events for the month of March  due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Events will be rescheduled at a later date.  But don't fret! We will be using our email blasts and our Facebook Social Media presence to provide you with historical updates and musings.

For more information on how to combat the Coronavirus, please visit the CDC website:

Thank you for your continued support!

James Smith
Bergen County Historical Society

BCHS School of Interpretation & Volunteer Meeting
Canceled, to be rescheduled:

Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
Topic: Countdown to America 250: Political Imagery

On March 5, 1770, British soldiers fired into an innocent Boston crowd, inflaming colonist anger and creating one of the most iconic images of the Revolutionary period. But were they innocent? Join Jim Smith, BCHS President, as we examine that fateful day, get to the bottom of the events the occurred, and find out how images and documents can shape our opinions over time.

For anyone interested in volunteering at Historic New Bridge Landing events as a docent, greeter, operations personnel, or living-history interpreter in period dress, the Bergen County Historical Society sponsors the School of Interpretation to hone communication skills, familiarize volunteers with Bergen’s unique history, give insight into the material culture of the past, and train volunteers in historical presentation. It also provides an opportunity for prospective participants to ask questions and learn about volunteering with BCHS.

Please meet in the Steuben House (the house nearest the bridge). No charge.

Canceled, to be rescheduled:
Alexander Hamilton at New Bridge

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway smash-hit musical Hamilton, based upon Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography, has not only revived interest in this nation’s first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, but it perhaps also might be credited with preserving his portrait on the ten-dollar bill. In connection with Hamilton's topicality, this letter, addressed from him while he served on Washington’s staff at New Bridge, offers insight into its writer’s gloomy outlook on the war effort and his growing disdain for weak and indecisive government. It also highlights New Bridge’s complex involvement in the American Revolution as a battleground, military headquarters and intelligence post, repeatedly occupied and contested by both armies.

Letter written by Hamilton to Colonel John Laurens from New Bridge Sept. 12 1780

I say this to you because you know it and will not charge me with vanity—I hate Congress—I hate the army—I hate the world—I hate myself. The whole is a mass of fools and knaves: I could almost except you and Meade. Adieu.

A. Hamilton

My ravings are for your own bosom.
The General and family send you their love.
New Bridge
Sept. 12, 1780

 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 during the Steenrapie encampment with 14,000 men 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.

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?
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 war damaged house in 1783 to Baron von Steuben for his services during the war.

BCHS President Jim Smith, Kevin Wright and Jim Purcell accept a check from representative Pete Marion, Finance Officer (Center) of the Sgt Walter Scott Brown Legion Post #226!
Fundraising efforts bring us to $312,500.

100% of your donation goes to our mission.

BCHS Email Blasts

Sign up if you are interested in hearing about BCHS news, events and historic preservation issues in Bergen County.

Additionally, we offer to include events of organizations that are BCHS members in the blasts -- to the extent possible. If you attend their event, please tell them you saw it in our email blast.

BCHS has over 2,550 interested history constituents receiving Our Connection to the Past.

We won't "sell" your address to anyone.

To sign up:

BCHS Mobile Phone Walking Tour of HNBL
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.

A QR code (s short-cut web link) is now on HNBL site kiosks.

First developed in June 2011.
D. Powell

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

The Steuben House is an artifact of the Revolution that memorializes the "Drillmaster of the American Revolution," Major-General Baron von Steuben, whose valuable wartime services have been described as being second in importance only to those of George Washington.

In 1777, Steuben volunteered his services to Benjamin Franklin to advise the ill-trained American army. At Valley Forge, he converted the ragged, starving army into an effective fighting force. His training manual still remains a reference for military training and organization.

After the war, Congress granted von Steuben a life annuity and New Jersey gifted him the Steuben House in appreciation for his contributions to the American Cause.

Steuben "thoroughly rebuilt" the 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 and is the only extant house he owned.

Major-General Baron von Steuben by Charles Willson Peale, 1780
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.

In 1955, BCHS was able to persuade County officials to divert the planned bridge & 4-lane road expansion to the north of site by donating BCHS land, thus saving the Steuben House and the one-lane 1889 swing bridge from being eclipsed and obliterated by a highway.

The 1889 swing bridge is now a pedestrian crossing connecting Teaneck/New Milford and River Edge/Hackensack.

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 have been 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 2019-2020

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. The Park Commission also has representatives from NJDEP, the County of Bergen, Blauvelt-Demarest Foundation and towns of River Edge, New Milford and Teaneck.

Read the Draft Resolution of Support for a Line-Item Appropriation of $375,000 for the Historic New Bridge Landing Park Commission.

On May 2, 2016, The Senate Environment and Energy Committee approved the measure in a 4-0 vote following a brief hearing. The measure would fullfill the orginal intent of the law. HNBL is the only unfunded state park and historic site. Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck and Sen. Gerald Cardinale, R-Demarest, are the prime sponsors of the bill.

Check out the Impact of Morristown National Park on the local economy.

What about Bergen County?

BCHS, a non-profit volunteer organization and largest landowner provides all programming. We receive no public operating grants to maintain our property and provide programming.

BCHS events scheduled for 2019-2020:

Link for BCHS event rack card (pdf) for Dec 2019 - Aug 2020. Subject to change and updates. The card was mailed to members and available at New Bridge at the kiosk and the BCHS Library Room.

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
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.

Hours Open: Wednesdays 12 - 5 pm and Thursdays 10 am - 3 pm.

Contact: Check back for updates.

This is made possible through a partnership between BCC and BCHS.
Location: The Philip J. Ciarco Learning Center, 355 Main St, Rm 124, Hackensack, NJ.
Thank you Bergen Community College!

Library Description: library webpage for more info. Please remember to obey US copyright laws. The articles below have been previously published in BCHS newsletters.

BCHS Newsletter
Spring 2019

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

BCHS Newsletter Fall 2018

BCHS Newsletter Spring 2018

BCHS Newsletter Fall 2015/Winter 2016

BCHS Newsletter Spring/Summer 2015

BCHS Newsletter Winter 2014-15

BCHS Newsletter - Spring 2014

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

Map & Directions
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. Includes postcards of New Bridge Landing and other sites in Bergen County.

Children's Book Available!
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 BCHS Gift Shop located at the Campbell-Christie House at New Bridge Landing. $20.00. The gift shop is open for events.

Or mail to BCHS, PO Box 55, River Edge, NJ 07661-0055. Add $3.12 shipping & handling $23.12. For PayPal -- Click Here.

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
1776 British Invasion & Washington's Retreat Map Available
Illustrates events that took place in Bergen County November 20 & 21, 1776 -- described as the closest call of the war for Washington's army. Includes routes, times and details of events in color, and newly discovered information.

Available for purchase. 24" x 18" - standard size for easy framing. 10 pt matte card stock.

Visit the Campbell-Christie House Gift Shop during events or order online.

Winter 360 degree photo of Steuben Hs and Hackensack River
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 - leave a phone message |
QUERIES: PLEASE email OR call, NOT both.
Website created and maintained by Deborah Powell, contact:
I will forward questions to be answered by all-volunteer organization. This site was updated 03-14-2020
BCHS voucher form BCHS message board. 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 and this website was first created in 1996. Made possible by donations to BCHS.
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BCHS Facebook Page
Join us in thanking our business and organization sponsors for this year. If you would like to be one -- please contact us. This info also goes out to over 3,000 history constituents 3x-plus-a-month in our email blasts.