The Hermitage is a superb example of romantic Gothic Revival architecture. Learn about the Hermitage’s significance in history, from the American Revolution to preserving this National Historic Landmark!
The Hermitage’s History
Ann Bartow DeVisme, a New Yorker with five children, bought the home in 1767. In residence downstream from the current building, nearer the mill ponds, lived Theodosia Bartow and James Marcus Prevost.
During the Revolutionary War, the ladies and children of Ho-Ho-Kus were left alone. At the same time, Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Prevost fought for the British. During this period, soldiers from both sides often visited Bergen County.
In July 1778, Theodosia learned that George Washington and his army would be traveling through Ho-Ho-Kus on their route to White Plains, Westchester County. When the General and his soldiers stopped at a nearby cottage, Theodosia invited them to remain at The Hermitage. Her lodgings were the “comfiest in the area.” From July 10th to 14th, Washington and his officers were hosted here for four days.
Aaron Burr and Peggy Shippen Arnold were among the guests of James Monroe and William Paterson during the Revolution. Burr, stationed just north of here in The Clove, was a regular visitor. Following the war and the death of Lieutenant Colonel Prevost, Burr and Theodosia began courting. They married at The Hermitage in July 1782. After Ann DeVisme’s death and Burr’s quick possession, it had three owners before being sold in 1807 to Elijah Rosegrant and Cornelia Suffern. A family would occupy the home for 163 years until the last living member died in 1970 and left the property to the State of New Jersey.
Elijah Rosencrantz, Jr. commissioned the famous architect William Ranlett to include the ancient Colonial mansion known as The Hermitage for his lovely Victorian home. The building has high gable roofs, intricate bargeboards, diamond-paned windows, and pointed Tudor arches. In addition, the 1880s summer kitchen is back.
The structure is now interpreted as the 1890s to give its full Victorian tale. Also on display are historical clothing and accessories from the mid-1700s through the late Victorian era. Archives at the museum reflect the Rosencrantz family’s contributions to local history as mill owners and members of the emerging upper-middle class. The Rosencrantz family acquired a 200-acre property with cotton mills downstream and farmed to the west.
The Hermitage’s history is rich and varied. It records massive socio-economic transformations. It talks about an exciting time in our nation’s beginnings. The renovated home’s displays of clothes, personal objects, and ephemera tell the story of one family’s shifting fortunes over 150 years. The Hermitage Museum gives insight into the site’s history and the individuals who helped preserve it.
For further information, call (201) 445.8311, ext. 102.