Printer friendly format

 Registered Historic Sites 

 1  John A. Haring House
& Barn

 3  Abraham A Haring House

 6  James Gowdy House

 7  Gesner Burying Grounds

 9  Henry Tory House II

11  Henry Tory House I

13 Joseph DuBois House

13A Site of John Henry Gesner Homestead

14 Abraham Cooper House & Blacksmith Shop Site

16 Van Wickel-Moore House

18 Site of Concklin's Cider Mill & Quarry

20A Sneden-Happel House

21 Conklin-Sneden House

21A Site & Ruins of C. Sneden House & Ice Pond

22 Ryker-Mabie-Conklin-
Sneden Homestead "Roaring Brook Farm"

23 "Pegasus Club"

24 Abraham "D" Haring House - Northern Valley Manor House

25 Site and Ruins of Sloat's Saw Mill 

26 Jacob Haring House

27 Moses Taylor Sneden House

29 Site of Washington's Troop Encampment

30 Snedens Landing Road (Rockleigh Road)

31 Carterette Road (Piermont Road north)

32 Closter Publick Road (Piermont Road south)

33 Rockleigh Borough 
(at Borough Hall)

 

          Because the historic old homes lie along the two main roads of Rockleigh Borough,  walking is as good a way to discover Rockleigh today as it was two centuries ago. So...

 "...tarry with us awhile and we will take you back to a heritage rich in color and strong in spirit... 

 33     The walking tour begins at Borough Hall (26 Rockleigh Road), where parking is available in the rear. The central section of Borough Hall was a small c.1860 outbuilding moved from Piermont Road in 1928. Recent wings that house the Rockleigh Volunteer Fire Department and Borough Offices. The residents of Rockleigh are pleased with the way their Borough Hall complements the character of  the community. Borough Hall is the only building on the tour that is open to the public. 

From Borough Hall, walk southwest on Rockleigh Road.  Keep in mind that, true to it's rural character,  there are no sidewalks in Rockleigh Borough. It is important to be aware of traffic. Also safe crossing places will be suggested.

 20A The Sneden-Happel House  is a 1921 Vernacular Queen Anne 2 story wood-frame gabled cottage next to Borough Hall. The present house was built by Henry Happel on the site of and incorporates portions of a c.1870 structure apparently built by Robert Newton Sneden. The Queen Anne styling is seen in the bays, the addition of shingles, imbricated pattern, to rounded wall surfaces A frame barn to the rear, probably older than the house, was replaced in 2001.

 21     The Conklin-Sneden Homestead, c.1790, (21 Rockleigh Road) is the 1 story, gambrel-roof, stone and sandstone on the right. Jacob Conklin was one of the original families in the area, building a frame house on the site c.1748. All the lands from the corner across from Borough Hall to the small bridge just down the Rockleigh Road and east to Piermont Road were the "Sneden Fields". [map]

 21A  Across from 19 Rockleigh Road on Borough parkland is the site of the c.1765  Gerardus Ryker - Jacob Sneden Site  with only the cellar hole (set back about sixty feet from Rockleigh Road) testimony to the old homestead. On borough parkland behind the house site is the Sneden Ice Pond and ruins of a small ice house. On the far side of the pond is an 18th century masonry arch bridge spanning the stream. [map]

 22    Just to the south on the left or east side of the road is "Roaring Brook Farm", the Ryker-Mabie- Conklin-Sneden Homestead (14 Rockleigh Road). This is a 1  story, gable-roofed, clapboard structure. The oldest portion of the house was built by John Ryken, one of the four original families of the area, between 1744-1752. Some outbuildings exist to the rear of the house. [map]

 23    Across the bridge on the right side of Rockleigh Road is the Abraham Riker Homestead - "Pegasus Club" (15 Rockleigh Road). This is a 2-story, Colonial revival, central-bay portico, with pent roof and brackets, re-built circa 1890. However, the kitchen, buried deep within this impressive structure, is a c.1760 stone house - that of Abraham Ryker.  The Pegasus Club once owned most of "Snedens Fields" as polo and equestrian fields. These became Pegasus Farm after WW II. [map]

 25    Across the road to the east, Roaring Brook, a branch of the Sparkill, runs free. The boundaries of the mill pond that provided water for Sloat's Saw Mill, 1859-1861, are visible (opposite 7  and 9 Rockleigh Road). The ruins of the mill dam and mill site are evident further along the stream. [map]

 24    The beautiful Dutch Colonial home coming into view on the right at the bend in Rockleigh Road is the Abraham "D" Haring House  (7 Rockleigh Road). The small structure between the main house and the west wing, built c.1745, is the oldest extent structure in Rockleigh. It a 1-story, gambrel-roofed with a later sandstone addition (now mostly stucco). The grand dressed brick and sandstone main house was built in 1823 was known as the "Northern Valley Manor House".   Harings, Cornings, Sloats successively lived in this house. In 1923, Mayor Tait, the first mayor of Rockleigh lived here. [map]

 30    Rockleigh Road is an old traditional track that likely preceded the Lockhart Patent. It turned south as Closter Publick Road. 

 26    Southwest,  beyond site of Sloat's Saw Mill, the driveway through the pasture on the east side of Rockleigh Road leads to the Jacob N. Haring House ( 4 Rockleigh Road), set on the knoll beyond Roaring Brook. Built circa 1820 of clapboard with gable roof. It was enlarged from 1 story to 2 stories circa 1864. This house was inhabited by Haring descendents until the last decade of the 20th century. [map]

Turn left onto Piermont Road, but take care because this major artery shows it's county origins and was not meant to accommodate today's traffic.

 32    This southerly portion of Piermont Road was initially Closter Publick Road. It was along this road that Northern Valley farmers carted their produce to the Hudson River to be transported to  market in New York City. 

 27    On the left, the graceful walled drive leads to the Moses Taylor Sneden House  (8 Piermont Road). Built circa 1860, it is an L-form 2-story Victorian clapboard farmhouse with bargeboard. While the house has been enlarged and renovated, considerable care has been taken to remain faithful to the tradition and style of this beautiful frame  house. This is one of the few farmsteads to have retained the working lands, encompassing the original 15 acres of farmstead. [map]

In the interest of safety, stay on the left side of the road, walking against traffic past the Abraham A. Haring House to which you will return. It is safest to cross Piermont road at the bend once you passed the John A. Haring barn.

  1     The John A. Haring House (5 Piermont Road) is ahead at the bend in Piermont Road. You should seen the Dutch Barn.  The 1-story, gambrel-roofed Dutch Colonial sandstone was built circa 1805. Other wings were added within a few years. The Dutch form barn which was built in 1806. It is of the traditional three-bay Dutch barn plan with wagon doors on both gable ends which open up to a threshing floor flanked by storage and animal isles originally entered from the outside by doors at the corners of the gable end. This Dutch farm complex represents a typical farmstead in the early  19th century rural community. However, most of the out-buildings have been lost to time. The large Haring holdings included the lands  south to the Norwood border and east to Northvale. [map]

Return North along the west side of Piermont Road

  3     The Captain Abraham A. Haring Homestead (9 Piermont Road) is sited on the crest of a knoll on the left. The Harings were one of the original four families who settled in the area. A 1-story, gabled-roof sandstone, it was built circa 1758. It is considerably older than the John A. Haring House and also a fine example of a working Dutch farmstead. Numerous out-buildings are extent. The earliest farmhouses in the Rockleigh Historic District are typically Dutch, particularly the 18th century structures. These 1 story gambrel-roofed red sandstone dwellings are indigenous to the Hudson Valley and Northeast New Jersey region. Again the haring  lands extended [map]

At this point, the safer and more pleasant walk is back along Rockleigh Road toward Borough Hall. Cross at the corner of Rockleigh Road.

 29    The Site of Washington's Troop Encampment ("The Battery at Sneden Fields") is along Willow Road - on the left just beyond the bridge. The troops bivouacked here were charged with protecting Snedens Landing from British Attack. Artifacts are encountered from time to time. [map]

  9     Across Willow Road from the encampment site is the Henry Tory II House (5 Willow), a 2-story clapboard structure built circa 1850. While in excellent condition and rather charming, it has been extensively altered during the 20th century. [map]

 11    On the corner of Willow and Rockleigh, is the Henry Tory I House  (9 Willow). This structure, built circa 1850, is a 2-story, T-form, clapboard Victorian with gable roof that faithfully retains the character of a turn of the century Victorian farmhouse. [map]

Turn left up the Hill on Rockleigh Road, staying to the left against traffic.

 13    The Joseph DuBois House (31 Rockleigh Road) is on the left. Built between 1823 and 1833 with an 1840 addition, this 1-story gable-roofed, clapboard, this farmhouse faithfully retains the character of a small farm even though the builder was a Hudson River boatman. The barn is in excellent condition. [map]

13A  The John Henry Gesner Homestead Site is located on the present DuBois House property, about 100 yards to the west of the present Joseph DuBois House. In 1749, John Henry Gesner, one of the four original settlers of the area, purchased property a mile and one-half southeast of Tappan Village and close to the disputed New York-New Jersey line in what is present-day Rockleigh, New Jersey.  John and Famitcha began  their married life in a house built to the west of Sneden Landing Road. The house was demolished in 1835 for the lumber to build the central wing of the Joseph DuBois House.

         The Gesner farmlands included the large area to the north of present Willow Avenue extending north of the present NY-NJ boundary and West from Rockleigh Road to the Sparkill Creak close to the Northvale boundary. These lands ultimately were handed down to his daughter Elizabeth Gesner Conklin and thence to several great grandchildren, including the Elizabeth, wife of Joseph DuBois. [map]

Because of the blind curve up the hill, it is best to cross to the East side of Rockleigh Road

 17/18 On the right at the top of the hill is the Site of John G. Conklin's House, Cider Mill & Quarry  (34 Rockleigh Road). The cellar hole of the original c.1832 house lie on the knoll to the south. The current brick Cape Cod (Locarni-April House) was built in 1950 on the knoll to the north, site of the Louis H.F. Conklin House (1848). The present garage marks the approximate location of the cider mill which operated circa 1850-1885. The ruins of the cider storage vault are on the adjacent property to the south, dug into the east side of the hill. The basalt cliffs behind the cider mill site were quarried for local stone. However, basalt was too hard to be used for most building purposes, local sandstone being far easier to cut and dress. [map]

 16    The Van Wickel-Moore House  (36 Rockleigh Road) is an example of the smaller frame farmstead. Built circa 1810-1823, it is a 1-story clapboard . A necessary house is just opposite the back door. Moore was a cobbler. In the early 18th century, a 12-acre lot was consider the minimum necessary to provide a family with a living of the land. On the western slope of the Palisades, these consisted on a relatively level area of cultivatable land and for building a homestead, upland pastureland, and forested woodlots on upper slopes. The farmsteads in this part of the borough typify this concept. [map]

 14    Across the road is the Albert Cooper House  (35 Rockleigh Road), home the local blacksmith. The forge was located in the area of the driveway. The house was built circa 1823-1827 as a 1-sory gabled-roof, clapboard. Complementary additions to the rear and north are late 20th century. [map]

From this point, return to Borough Hall. For safety, stay to on east side of Rockleigh Road.

The Gowdy House on Piermont is best reached by car. From Borough Hall, proceed across Rockleigh Road onto Willow. Turn right on Piermont. The Gowdy House is the second on the right.

  6     The Gowdy House (42 Piermont Road) is sited on a knoll well back from the road. The central part of the is a 2-story, gabled-roof, clapboard built circa 1862. Wings have been added to the north and south late in the 20th century, keeping within the character of the house. There is one old barn. The other out-buildings are recent. [map

  7     The Old Gesner Burying Ground is on private property and may no be visited. It contains graves of he Gesner and Conklin families. Unfortunately, few stones remain. [map]

 31    Carterette Road was extended toward Piermont in 1859. It has been known subsequently as Central Road and finally Piermont Road when that community was established.

         A short drive through Historic Palisades, NY, to Snedens Landing on the Hudson provides a full sense of this unique area. Return to Rockleigh Road (south on Piermont, left onto Willow, left onto Rockleigh). Rockleigh, NJ,  and Palisades, NY, developed as a single community, only to be bisected by the boundary line in 1769. Take Rockleigh Road  Northeast into NY, turning right onto Oak Tree Road at the blinking light. Cross US 9W at the traffic light onto Washington Spring Road. As the road descends the Palisades steeply, follow the road downhill to the river. The Ferry terminal still stands at roads end. 

          The Historic Hamlet of Tappan, NY, is a short drive west along Oak Tree Road. A true village, if offers a magnificent Dutch Reformed Church with interesting grave yards, colonial and federal architecture, and some rather fine restaurants. Take Rockleigh Road  Northeast into NY, turning left onto Oak Tree Road at the blinking light. 

 

ROCKLEIGH BOROUGH

John A. Haring House (c.1805) Abraham A.A. Haring House (c.1758) James Gowdey House (c.1862) Gesner-Conklin Burying Ground (1778) Henry Tory House II (c.1850) Site of Washington's Troop Encampment (1781) Henry Tory House I  (c.1850) Joseph DuBois House  (c.1823-1833) Albert Cooper House (c.1823) Van Winkel-Moore House (c.1810-1823) Site of John G. Conklin Housel (1822) Site of Louis HF Conklin House & Quary (1848) Robert Sneden-Henry Happel House (c.1863 & 1921) Conklin-Sneden House (c.1796) Site of Girardus Ryker-Jacob Sneden House (c.1762-c.1900) Ryker-Mabie-Conklin-Sneden House (c.1744/1752) Abm Ryker - R Sloat House - Pegasus Club (c.1750 & 1890) Abraham D. Haring House (c. 1740) Site & Ruins of Sloat's Saw Mill (c.1855) Jacob Haring House (c.1820, 1865) Moses Taylor Sneden House (c.1860) Site John Henry Gesner Homestead (c.1849) Rockleigh Borough Hall

 

Written and compiled by E. W. April, 2002

Background Music: "Where the Bee Sucks" Courtesy of Barry Taylor

 
Historic Rockleigh Previous
Historic Sites

Top of Page