Historic Home One of Seven
On Club's Itinerary Tuesday
By Mildred Taylor
From: The Sunday Sun, April 17, 1960
The John Ackerman house at 1286 River Road, Teaneck, which has overlooked the Hackensack River since it was built 226 years ago is one of seven fascinating homes which will be opened Tuesday when the Woman's Club of Teaneck conducts its Historic Tour under the chairmanship of Mrs. Charles R. Kahn Jr. and Mrs. Richard Mascolo.
The Dutch Colonial home, which has been the residence of Mr. and Mrs. William S. Davis for 20 years, is one of six Teaneck residences which will be opened to those taking the tour. The others are: the Brinkerhoff-Demarest House, 493 Teaneck Rd., home of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Schuh; the Weart Banta Home on Lone Pine Lane owned by Mr. and Mrs. K. R. Hampton; the Adam Vandelinda home at Teaneck Road and Van Buren Avenue, residence of Dr. and Mrs. Peter Beaugard; the James Vandelina Home at 566 Teaneck Rd. owned by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Anderson. and the Westervelt House at 190 Teaneck Rd., home of Dr. and Mrs. George L. Farrell.
The seventh is the David Demarest House, oldest in the county, which today stand on property adjoining the headquarters of the Bergen County Historical Society.
The tour will begin at 10 a.m. in Tappan where Mrs. William E. Jackson, a student of the Revolution in this area, will explain the historical significance of places to be visited there--the Tappan Reformed Church, Andre Hill, the De Windt House and the '76 House.
Those taking the tour will make their own arrangements for luncheon. Some will stop at the '76 House and others at the New Bridge Inn. Each person will receive a badge on payment of $1.75. This is identification for admission to the home.
After the luncheon break the group will assembly at the clubhouse at Beverly and Windsor roads where Mrs. Mildred Taylor of The Sunday Sun will conduct a briefing session at 1:30 p.m. on houses to be seen during the afternoon.
In Library of Congress
The Ackerman House is one of four Teaneck home included in a Historic American Buildings Survey during which drawings of interesting architectural features were made and are recorded in the Library of Congress. It was built in 1734. That is, the original two-room structure of red sandstone was built then. A spacious addition was built in 1787.
The Davises have retained the charm of their Jersey Dutch home. The original floors, hewn from trees grown on the Ackerman farm which extended from the river to Jones Road in Englewood (about a good day's walk for a farmer) have been scraped and polished.
The two original rooms today constitute the living room, the partition having been removed which divided the kitchen and bedroom of long ago. Overhead are the hand hewn beams of tulip wood.
The fireplace is enormous. Drawings of it are recorded in the Library of Congress. A black stripe frames it. This was to indicate the political affiliation of the owners, says Mrs. David, who doesn't know if it meant they were Federalists, Whigs or Tories.
There is a Dutch oven in the wall where Dutch haus vrows of old baked pies and cakes after heating it first with coals. A sliding panel in the mantel was designed so that when it was opened, cold air from the loft above created a good draft. At the west side of the fireplace is a trap door to the loft. In the floor is another trap door.
Mark of The Past
Broad Dutch doors on the east and west sides of the room are exactly opposite, so that logs could be brought in. The doorstep on the east side has been worn deep through the years. The Davises have kept mark of the post. They had their door cut to fit the hollow. A previous tenant, on observing that, said they used to leave it open to let the dot out and the cat in!
Water from the well outside was carried into the house as late as the 1920s and the sweet Hackensack melons for which this area was famous were grown on the land as recently as the 1920s. Charles and Peter Henderson, noted seedmen who lived on a farm where Fairleigh Dickinson University now stands, were always glad to get those melon seeds.
Old Window Glass
The dining room is a cheerful place with a lovely fireplace. The windows contain many rippled panes of handblown glass. It was the "best" room in early days. The transom over the entrance to the hall with its leaded pattern has also been recorded in the Library of Congress.
Joseph Kinzley, former Bergen County Sheriff from who the Davises bought the home in 1940, made some changes when he purchased it in the 1920s from J. Winfield Ackerman, son of Peter Ackerman, first school clerk in Teaneck. Changes included remodeling the staircase to the second floor where there are now three bedrooms and a bath. The upstairs will not be shown.
Old pewter, a child's tea set of long ago, oil lamps and furniture create a warm atmosphere. The home now stands on two acres. The Davises have sold some property to the north, but still have spacious lawn, a fine garden plot, a ravine with a grove of trees and a view of the river from their pleasing terrace. They have deeded 15 feet across the back of the property for a bridal path when the park along the Hackensack River becomes a reality.