North of the old Barrytown Station is Blithewood, the historic country estate of National Guard captain and real estate mogul Andrew C. Zabriskie.
The story of the grounds goes back to 1835, when a North Carolina gentleman, named Robert Donaldson, Esq., purchased the land and named the grounds "Blithewood". He hired architect Alexander Jackson Davis, and landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing to fix up the home and grounds. Sometime after that ownership was transferred to Mr. John Bard. After the death of Mr. Bard the estate was sold to St. Stephen's College.
In 1899, ownership passed to Zabriskie.
Andrew C. Zabriskie was born in New York City to Christian A. Zabriskie and Sarah J. Titus on May 30th, 1853. The Zabriskie family is of Noble Protestant Polish descent, going back hundreds of years when his ancestor, escaping the political and religious oppression of his own land, emigrated to America in 1662. The family became deeply involved in the real estate business. The family is connected in various ways with the history of Bergen County, New Jersey since its earliest days.
After being educated in private schools and Columbia College, he Inherited large real estate properties and began devoting himself to the business connected with those interests. In 1895, Captain Zabriskie married Frances, the youngest daughter of the late Charles F. Hunter, who was President of the People's Bank of New York City. They had two children, Julia Romeyn and Christian Andrew. Julia was married to Captain Edward Powis Jones in 1918.
In 1899, Captain Andrew C. Zabriskie purchased the estate and hired Francis Hoppin, of the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, to design a manor house and garden to replace the old house on the property (Not to be confused with Blithewold in Rhode Island which was designed by Francis Hoppin). Hoppin designed a grandiose mansion and Italian style garden that reflected the architectural elements of English mansion design, according to the tastes and trends of the Gilded Age.
The result is the grand Beaux-Arts mansion which you see today.
The house and its traditional Italian garden were donated to Bard College in 1951.
Rumours have circulated that the mansion is currently haunted by the spirit of his daughter who either fell or jumped to her death out the window of their New York apartment.
There seems to be many versions circulating about the haunting. One legend states that before her death, Capt. Zabriskie commissioned a sculptor to create 4 statues of his daughter, for each 3 years of her life up to the age of 12, in the gardens. But, to this day, only three statues are present, along with an empty pedestal for the fourth one. In another version, 4 statues were made, one for each daughter, which would mean he had four daughters. The second version seems less believable as according to my research Zabriskie only had two children.
Today the grounds can be visited and the Mansion and Grounds are considered outstanding examples of the Country Place Era residences of the Hudson Valley’s social and political elite.
Blairsden is a historic 62,000 square foot, 38-room mansion built by Clinton Ledyard Blair in 1897. It is located in Somerset County, New Jersey.
The original main entrance gate was at the base of Ravine Lake although the one that can be seen today is in Peapack on a main road.
Clinton Ledyard Blair was a prominent American investment banker and the grandson of one of the wealthiest men of the 19th century,John Insley Blair.
In addition to the massive estate in New Jersey, he also had an estate in Newport, Rhode Islandand Bermuda.
WAYNE NEW JERSEY
Hobart Manor as it is called now was once called Ailsa Farms. Ailsa Farms was purchased by the state of New Jersey in 1948 from the family of Garret Hobart who was the 24th vice president of the United States who served under William McKinley.. It now is the campus of William Paterson University . The original manor house, built in 1877, was the weekend retreat and summer residence of the Hobart family.
It is a tudor style mansion with 40 rooms and once was the site of very lavish parties for the wealthy.
In 1915 Fred Wentworth and Frederick Vreeland were hired to remodel the estate and it was completed in 1919. .
It was originally owned by John McCullough, a Scottish immigrant who made a fortune in the wool industry. In 1902 he returned to his native country he sold it at auction.
The mansion is rumored to be haunted and has attracted the attention of many a ghosthunter and psychics.
August 5th 2015
In the Eastside Park neighborhood of Paterson, New Jersey is an Italian Renaissance style residence built in 1929 for Jacob Weidmann who was one of the central figures in the development of the silk dyeing industry in Paterson.
Born in Switzerland in 1845 and then trained by his father before apprenticing in the silk dyeing works of Germany and France, Jacob Weidmann became an American success story.
At 22, he came to the United States. He secured a job at Cheny Brothers, which was a silk dyers located in Manchester, Connecticut, before relocating to Paterson in 1872 and opening his own mill called the Weidmann Silk Dyeing Company . His success grew due to his reputation for producing the heavy-weighted black silks.
In 1887, the Weidmann Silk Dyeing Company relocated its works from downtown Paterson to the city's Riverside section after purchasing a fire devastated works from former partner, Claude Greppo.
By the mid-1900s, Weidmann was the largest silk dyeing works in the country employing approximately 3,000 workers. By the time 1909 rolled around, Jacob Weidmann sold a large portion of his company to Gillet et fils of Lyons, France. He died two years later.
This center hall Dutch Colonial style homestead, dating to 1790, overlooks a scenic waterfall in a park-like setting. It sits on the original land grant issued in 1668 by King Charles II of England to Major Nathan Kingsland, one of the first settlers of present-day Nutley, and remained under Kingsland family ownership until 1909.
Open house tours are held on the third Sunday of each month from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m and you can get more information on the manor's website.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Gonzalez is a photographer, blogger and historian currently residing in Newark, New Jersey.