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Campbell-Christie House

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The Campbell-Christie House, an 18th century sandstone structure, is located in Historic New Bridge Landing Park, River Edge. This historic building originally stood at the intersection of Henley Ave. & River Rd. in New Milford. In 1977 in order to save it from demolition Bergen County purchased and financed its move and restoration. It was placed on land owned by the Bergen County Historical Society in River Edge next to the Hackensack River.

Sandstone houses were built continuously from the Dutch colonization of the 17th century through the founding of the Republic and the early years of the 19th century. The Campbell-Christie House, an outstanding example of this early regional architecture, is a 5-bay, 4-room center hall building with two rooms to either side and two interior chimneys. This stone house form seems to have been built mainly after the Revolution and up to the turn of the century. The front wall is built out of well-dressed local sandstone with inset wooden trapezoidal lintels and sides composed of roughly coursed sandstone.

Jacob Campbell, at the time of his marriage in 1774, built this house along the road (now Henley Ave.) that led from Old Bridge to the Schraalenburgh Church. Historical evidence records that Campbell, a mason by trade, also ran a tavern in his household. In 1795 the house was sold to John Christie, a blacksmith, who continued as tavern keeper. Jacob Brinkerhoff Christie, manager of the Comfort Coal & Lumber Co, eventually inherited this large homestead farm property along the Hackensack River. His son John Walter, born in the house in 1865, was a famous inventor who built and raced cars (at one time holding the world’s speed record), invented the automotive front-wheel drive and is known as the “father of the modern tank.”

Historic New Bridge Landing Park is located at the narrows of the Hackensack River. Because of its strategic site along a tidal waterway it has been an active area of settlement, trade, and commercial activities for thousands of years. The construction of the New Bridge in 1744 increased development of the area. On the west bank near the bridge is the Steuben House. Originally constructed by Jan Zabriskie in 1752, and doubled in size around 1765, it has been referred to as among the five “great houses” of Colonial Bergen County. The third stone house is the 18th century Demarest House, moved to this site in 1956 and owned by the Demarest-Blauvelt Foundation. The Historic New Bridge Landing Park Commission, a partnership of the Bergen County Historical Society, Blauvelt –Demarest Foundation, the County of Bergen, New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, New Milford Borough, River Edge Borough and Teaneck Township, operates the New Bridge Landing site.

Because of its proximity to Manhattan, New Bridge Landing was a principal base of operation during the Revolutionary War and considered an important strategic route, guarded by troops from both sides at different times. Gen. George Washington, who made his headquarters in Zabriskie’s house, led his soldiers in retreat across here on Nov. 20, 1776, saving his troops from entrapment by advancing British troops.

This site also contains the County-owned 1888-89 Pratt-type, “pony” truss, iron swing bridge, the oldest highway swing bridge in NJ. The Campbell-Christie House, along with the other two houses and the bridge, is on the State and National Register of Historic Places. It is the headquarters of the Bergen County Historical Society and is furnished with the furniture and collections owned by the Society.