The Vanderveer House

By: Sharon Kang, Rose Kostak, Cynthia Tsai

The Vanderveer House

The original part of the Vanderveer House shows Dutch and English traditions of vernacular construction. It is a one and a half story clapboard frame dwelling. The original fabric of the house is still intact today, and the original flooring is of wide pine boards. A wall in the west parlor features raised wood paneling above the fireplace with a barrel-back cabinet to the side. The house had a few alterations later in the 19th and 20th century such as imposing “bungaloid” features like exterior stucco. The interior of the house interprets both the west Georgian section when Knox were in residence and also the east Federal addition with its higher ceilings.

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Vanderveer House

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Vanderveer House 40.666667, -74.645000

The Vanderveer House is located in Bedminster Township in Somerset County, along the North Branch of the Raritan. It served as headquarters for General Henry Knox during the Revolutionary War’s Second Middlebrow Encampment and is the only known building still standing that was associated with the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment. It is also the last surviving building in Bedminster associated with the Vanderveer Family. The Vanderveer family was prominent in Bedminster Township history from its earliest settlement through the mid 19th century. The location has never moved, and the house is now used as a museum and an educational center. It was first built in the early 1770’s by Jacobus Vanderveer, the father of Jacobus Vanderveer Sr., who built it for his son and other Vanderveer families to come. It was then purchased by the Township of Bedminster in 1989 and has experienced many changes in construction since then, although remains of the original framing still exist and endure in sturdy condition. Jacobus Vanderveer was descended from Dutch immigrants who arrived in Long Island, New York in 1659. He was a very active member of the Dutch Reform Church of Bedminster, acting as an elder in the church and playing a major part in the organization of the church. He even donated the land that the church was built on, and eventually married Mariah Hardenbergh, the daughter of Jacob Ruten Hardenbergh, who was the minister of the church. The Dutch Reform Church was a huge part of Dutch life in America, and Jacobus Vanderveer was a big player in the church. 

The Vanderveer House is connected to Rutgers history because Jacobs R. Hardenbergh, Jacobus Vanderveer’s father-in-law, was Queen’s College’s first President. Its first instructor was Frederick Frelinghuysen, and through intermarriages, Frederick Frelinghuysen and Elias Vanderveer were brothers-in-law. The Vanderveer’s strong connections to Frelinghuysen portray that the family was strongly linked with Dutch-American cultural elites. 

We picked the Vanderveer House because it is very close to where one of our partners, Rose, lives in Morris County and it is interesting how such an influential historical monument could be located only a short drive away from home. It is also fascinating how so much information can be gathered about a building that at first glance appears to be like any average one-story house but in reality was reconstructed multiple times so that it now retains most of the original Dutch framework and holds the appearance of the Vanderveer House from when it was first built. This object brings many aspects of Dutch life to light, specifically the connection to the Dutch Reform Church, which played such a large role in the history of the house. The Dutch had such an influence in America, especially in our area and at Rutgers University, and continues to be a legacy to many families here, and this house perfectly exemplifies their life and their culture. It tells a story that parallels many whose ancestors may have come here not only from the Netherlands, but also from other places in Europe and maybe even from elsewhere in the world.

“The Vanderveer families remained in the Pluckemin/Bedminster area for generations and are remembered today as major contributors to the legacy of the area.” (www.jvanderveerhouse.com)

Bibliography

“Guardians.” The Pluckemin Cantonment and Jacobus Vanderveer House in Bedminster New Jersey. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

“Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum.” Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

“The Vanderveer House.” The Vanderveer House. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

The Jans Martense Schenck House

James Williams, Jonathan DiPippa, Anika Kumar (Section 04)

“The Schenck House, Avenue U between East Sixty-third and sixty-fourth Streets, is considered one of the oldest houses in New York City, the original section having been built in 1656. A white house with green shutters and red brick chimneys, it stands in a little hollow back of Public School 236, surrounded by old pine trees. Its Dutch origins are evident in the small twelve-paned windows and early round-end shingles. The slender-pillared front porch formed by an overhanging roof is an eighteenth-century addition.”

From the (1939) WPA Guide to New York City

The original house as it stood in the 17th century.
Re-creation of the house in the Brooklyn Museum.

       This landmark provides a real-life recreation of traditional Dutch architecture of the Colonial period. Those interested in Dutch history can see a rebuilt version of the house inside the Brooklyn Museum.

        Schenck House does not have an specific connection to Rutgers history. However, some of the architecture of the house resembles the Kirkpatrick Church located on College Avenue. The high, rounded ceilings found in the are similar to the high roof of the house, which give both a unique, Dutch aspect. The window panes are also common of Dutch architecture, and was also found as a part of the church.

        We picked this object because it is one of the oldest Dutch landmarks in the United States. We found it to be interesting due to its portrayal of rural Dutch life (they lived in small farmhouses on large tracts of land). The house is also representative of the Brooklyn area of Flatlands, which is still heavily populated with people of Dutch descent. The family living in the house was one of the first of Dutch descent to settle there.

        The history associated with the house is interesting as well. Jan Martense Schenck arrived in New Netherlands in 1650 and bought the tract of land that the house stands on today from another man of Dutch descent, which simply shows how long the Dutch has had a presence in North America. The house was in place around 1676. The house was a part of the Schenck family for three generations. For the 275 years where it was originally located, it underwent many changes as tastes changed. When it was moved to the Brooklyn Museum in 1929, it was recreated to the Dutch colonial style it was originally. None of the original Dutch colonial furniture is known to have survived. The land in which the house once sat is now the site of elementary school P.S. 236.

Address of original location: 6302 Avenue U, Brooklyn, NY 11234

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Modern site of the Schenck House

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Modern site of the Schenck House 40.615851, -73.912663

 

Description of Artifact:

The house as it was originally built in 1676 was simple yet complex for its time. It was a two-room structure, and in the middle featured a chimney. The interior was composed of H-bents, which are simply cross-sectional templates that were the strongest of its time. But this also made it stand out from nearby English architecture, which were more box-like than bent. A kitchen was added around the 1790s while the chimney was removed, and in the early 1800s, a porch was also added. The last reconstruction changes before the house was relocated to the Brooklyn Museum took place around 1900.

Interior view of the house.

Works Cited:

https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/features/schenck

https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/exhibitions/2676/Jan_Martense_Schenck_House_1676_long-term_installation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jans_Martense_Schenck_house

http://www.kirkpatrickchapel.rutgers.edu/about/history

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