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Van Wagenen House

Since 2002, JC Landmarks has worked to preserve this late-18th to mid-19th century sandstone edifice - referred to by local residents as the "Apple Tree House" for a now-disproved story about Generals Lafayette and Washington meeting in the front garden - which stands as an architectural testament to Jersey City's now-vanished Dutch heritage.

Not long ago the house was seriously threatened with erasure by owner neglect, vandalism, vagrancy, and inappropriate interventions. Working primarily behind the scenes with supportive City officials, JC Landmarks was instrumental in achieving landmark status for the Van Wagenen House, which is located on Academy Street in the Bergen Square (settled 1660) section of Jersey City.

The exterior of the house has been fully restored and the interior phase is currently underway. Recently, the National Register-listed homestead has been awarded over $700,000 in preservation funding from the Jersey City Council.

However, preservation issues are still present. A proper adaptive reuse/cultural site management for the site remains uncertain.

JC Landmarks will continue to monitor the restoration and reuse of this rare inner-city resource.

Page Header Photo Credit: Van Wagenen House (2005), Holt Morgan Russell Architects, Princeton, New Jersey; and the City of Jersey City, Division of City Planning.


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Text from the historical marker in front of the Van Wagenen House:

The Van Wagenen House is the last Dutch vernacular sandstone structure to stand inside the intact boundaries of Bergen Square, the first permanent European settlement in New Jersey (1660).

Long mythologized as the “Apple Tree House” in reference to a breakfast between Washington and Lafayette under the shade of an apple tree, the house was built in stages circa 1704, 1842 and 1860.

Owned by the Van Wagenens for over 250 years, the property was conveyed in 1947 to the Quinn Funeral Home and today provides visitors with an authentic portrait of our Dutch forebears.

 


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