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New Bridge Landing: A Historical Gem of Bergen County

New Bridge Landing, located at the narrows of the Hackensack River, is a historically rich site that played a pivotal role during the American Revolution. This area, which spans parts of New Milford, River Edge, Hackensack, and Teaneck in Bergen County, New Jersey, was originally settled by the Bergen Dutch.

Early Settlement and Development

The area now known as New Bridge Landing was first settled in the late 17th century by Cornelius Mattyse, who acquired 420 acres at the juncture of Tantaqua's Creek (now Cole's Brook) and the Hackensack River. This land, known as Tantaqua's Plain, was later sold to David Ackerman in 1695. His son, Johannes Ackerman, built a dwelling on the land in 1713.

The strategic location of New Bridge made it a bustling mill hamlet, centered around a bridge that was key for trade and transport. A tidal gristmill powered by the Hackensack River's tides was built here, and sloops would dock at the mill to load and unload goods.

Revolutionary War Significance

New Bridge Landing is perhaps best known for its role in the American Revolution. On November 20, 1776, General George Washington led his troops in retreat across the bridge to escape British forces following the fall of Fort Lee. This strategic withdrawal prevented the American forces from being trapped on Bergen Neck and allowed them to regroup and continue the fight.

The area saw numerous engagements throughout the war, making it a constant arena of conflict. Notable events include British attacks on American positions and raids led by American forces, such as Major Henry Lee's attack on British earthworks at Paulus Hook in 1779.

Preservation and Historical Homes

The Steuben House, a key feature of New Bridge Landing, was built in 1752 by Jan Zabriskie. It served as a headquarters for various military leaders, including Washington. In 1783, the State of New Jersey gifted the house to Major General Baron von Steuben in recognition of his service during the war.

Today, the Steuben House is part of the Historic New Bridge Landing park, which also includes other relocated historical structures like the Campbell-Christie House and the Demarest House Museum. These buildings are preserved and operated by the Bergen County Historical Society, which offers visitors a glimpse into 18th-century life and the Revolutionary War era.

Visiting New Bridge Landing

New Bridge Landing is a designated New Jersey historic site that offers a rich educational and recreational experience. Visitors can explore the well-preserved historical homes, participate in events hosted by the Bergen County Historical Society, and learn about the significant Revolutionary War events that took place here.

 

If you're interested in visiting New Bridge Landing, you can find more information on the Bergen County Historical Society's website. The site is open year-round and is located just a short drive from New York City. So, if you're looking for a fun and educational day trip, be sure to add New Bridge Landing to your list!

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