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Easton Tower

Easton Tower is a unique site in Bergen County. This picturesque stone and wood frame structure was built along the Saddle River in 1900 as part of a landscaped park in the Arcola area of Paramus. Surrounded by busy roadways, it is now adjacent to the Saddle River Bikeway.

Once used to pump water to irrigate and provide a scenic setting for the estate of Edward Easton, it is a 20 foot rectangular, stone-masonry tower topped with a wood-frame structure and a wood-shingle, gabled roof. On the side is a large wood water wheel.

In the 18th century this area along the Saddle River and near the heavily used Albany post road was the location of many mills. Jacob Zabriskie had leased the 80-acre mill site around 1766 and in 1771 acquired the mill that had been built in the 1740s. In the early 1800s it was painted red by its owner Albert Westervelt, acquiring the "Red Mill" name often mistakenly applied to Easton Tower. It eventually fell into disrepair and was demolished circa 1894. In 1899 Easton bought this 48-acre site.

Edward D. Easton (1856-1915) was a notable figure in American technological history. He started out as a reporter and court stenographer in Washington DC covering many famous trials. After the 1886 patent was granted for the engraving of sound by incising wax cylinders, Easton went on to make his fortune in the recording industry as a founder and eventually president of the Columbia Phonograph Company, one of the three major recording companies at the turn of the twentieth century.

Easton relocated his family to Arcola and commissioned the design of a landscaped park. The tower, to be built near the site of the old Red Mill, was a functioning structure pumping water to the several fountains. It was a favorite of photographers, appearing in many contemporary postcards. People came from miles around to take boat rides and walks, and, in the winter, ice-skate near the tower. Sources list the Easton house and park as having been used in early silent films.

In 1931 construction of the Route 208 connection with Route 4 at "the Old Mill at Arcola" provided access to the recently opened George Washington Bridge. This destroyed sections of the landscaped park and isolated the tower. The County acquired the tower in 1956 and in 1967 the Park Commission dedicated it after restoration.
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