Eckerson House Photo

 

There is some question as to when the original Eckerson House was built. It is known that in 1787 Jacob Eckerson purchased 199 acres of a 397-acre parcel that he and his two brothers were occupying as tenant farmers for about twenty years, and it is assumed that the main section and the east wing were built about 1790.

The Eckerson House is thought to have originally been a one or a one-and-a-half story, side-gambreled Dutch Colonial home of rural tradition, which is typical for this area. However, a fire in 1897 destroyed the roof, and the house was transformed into one of two stories, side-gabeled, having a low-pitched roof that is distinctly not traditional.

As is usually the case with this architectural style, the front and the side facing the street are of "dressed" or smooth finished sandstone, with irregularly-laid rough cut stone on the west and north sides. A full-width five-bay front porch or veranda was added to the main section sometime during the nineteenth century. A second story was built over the wing in 1890, and a frame wing built to the rear.

There were many Dutch Colonial homesteads built in Bergen County and surrounding environs, but the Eckerson House possesses a rather unique variation of that style which is found in the "Upper Pascack" locality of northern Bergen and southern Rockland counties. It is the revival of a style found in smaller sandstone homesteads of a century earlier, and there are seven known extant examples within a radius of less than two miles.

The main feature of this variation was the elimination of a central hallway and prominent staircase, substituting instead two main front rooms, each with an exterior door. These rooms were separated by a wall, or sometimes by a simple enclosed staircase to an unfinished attic. Although this eliminated a central hall, other embellishments in some houses included carved fireplace mantels and woodwork, as well as lights or carved panels over doors. These were prominent in the post-war Adam/Federal period.

The Eckerson House has been listed in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places since October 3, 1980 and in the National Register of Historic Places since January 10, 1983. In 1998 the Montvale Mayor and Council declared it a local Historic Landmark, forever protecting it from demolition

Special Note: A Bergen County Historical Society blue and silver historic marker was prominently displayed at the site until several years ago, when a car or truck ran into it, breaking the cast aluminum marker and demolishing its post. It languished in the owner's shed until recently, when the Montvale Historic Preservation Commission bought a new post, had the marker welded, repainted it and had the Borough's DPW reinstall it. Below is a photograph of the marker.

Eckerson House Sign Photo