3055 River Road • Bedminster, New Jersey (908) 396-6053
Copyright © 2018 Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House.
Q: How can I visit the Jacobus Vanderveer House?
A: The Jacobus Vanderveer House is open for scheduled events. Please check our calendar of events. There is no fee for admission during these hours. The house is also open as part of the Heritage Trail Association’s “Five Generals Tour” in February and as part of Bedminster Township’s Fall Fest (see “Events” for information).
“Colonial Christmas”, our signature event, offers stunning period Christmas decoration as well as special music, demonstrations, boutiques, and a visit with Santa. Colonial Christmas is offered on two weekends in December, with private tours available on Thursdays before the weekends. There is a fee for admission during Colonial Christmas (see “Events” for specific information).
Q: Who owns and operates the Jacobus Vanderveer House?
A: The Jacobus Vanderveer House is owned by the Township of Bedminster and operated by The Friends of Jacobus Vanderveer House, a New Jersey non-profit corporation.
Q: When did Bedminster Township purchase and preserve the Jacobus Vanderveer House?
A: The house was acquired by Bedminster Township in 1989 when it bought the 100-acre River Road Park tract with Green Acres funding. It was rented as a private residence until the township believed it was unsafe, and plans were made to tear it down. In 1994, the Township Historic Commission stepped in to save the structure. In 1997, the Commission hired an architect to prepare drawings for a proposed restoration and in the same year gave the go ahead for demolition of buildings surrounding the house that were thought to be of a later period. In 1999, The Friends of Jacobus Vanderveer House assumed full responsibility for the restoration, interpretation, funding, and administration of the house.
Q: What is the historic significance of the Jacobus Vanderveer House?
A: The house was built in 1772 by Jacobus Vanderveer, the son of a wealthy Dutch miller. In early 1778, Vanderveer was approached to lend the residence to Gen. Henry Knox, who was coming from Boston to command a new artillery encampment and training academy that the Revolutionary Armies were setting up on the mountain high above the village of Pluckemin (part of Bedminster Township). Knox and his wife Lucy occupied the house until June or July 1779. The Jacobus Vanderveer House is the only building remaining from that period.
Q: What is the architectural significance of the Jacobus Vanderveer House?
A: The Jacobus Vanderveer House is an outstanding example of Dutch-American architecture modified and enlarged in the Federal period. The main block of the house, built in 1772, is a representative 18th century Dutch dwelling with mud walls, sturdy wooden beams, and fireplaces tiled in Delft from Holland. It was extended in 1813 in classic Federal style.
Q. What is the Pluckemin Cantonment?
A. A cantonment is a military training academy. General Henry Knox, the artillery commander during the Revolutionary War, created the Pluckemin Cantonment to provide training for the Continental Army troops. It is believed to be the first military training academy in the United States, and is the forerunner of the United States Military Academy at West Point. All vestiges of the Pluckemin Cantonment have disappeared, but visitors to the Jacobus Vanderveer House will soon be able to view a 3D digital film that “reconstructs” the Cantonment.
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