Builder Thoughtfully Chiseled
In Entranceway the Date -- 1763
By Mildred Taylor
From: The Sunday Sun, February 7, 1960
The long, low house of red sandstone with its gambrel roof at 190 Teaneck Rd., Teaneck, stood there a dozen years before the Revolutionary War began. It stood through the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Mexican War and World War I and II.
There is no doubt about the age of this dwelling, one of half a dozen or more to be shown on the Historic Homes Tour the Woman's Club of Teaneck has arranged for April 9. the date of its construction is chiseled in stones on either side of the entrance. On one side are the initials W W (Wyntje or Lavinia Westervelt) and the date, 1763. On the other side is chiseled "C W 1763" for Casporus Westervelt, son the Benjamin. Today the home is the charming residence of Dr. and Mrs. George L. Ferrell and their four children who range in age from 2 to 8.
Patentees of 1684
The Westervelt family were not Johnny come latelies to Bergen County back in 1763. The family had come from Holland nearly a hundred years before. The name of Lubbert Lubbertse Westervelt was recorded in a book of church members by the Rev. Peter Tassemaker in 1686. Cornelius Westervelt was one of the 14 patentees who acquired the Acquakanonk (Passaic) tract in 1684. The family settled in Ridgefield with other Hollanders. The Westervelt property extended from the Hackensack River to Overpeck Creek, south of what is now Degraw Avenue where it joined the farms of the Demarests.
The hand hewn ceiling beams extend the length of the long living room and the spacious dining room. In each of the gracious rooms is a large fireplace of such historic interest that blue prints of them are recorded in the Library of Congress as the result of Historic American Buildings survey made in the 1930s as a Works Progress Administration project.
Near the entrance stands a well, a convenience for housewives of olden days, but as long ago as 1845 the resident housewife enjoyed the luxury of water in her kitchen. A pump, sink and washtubs were installed when the kitchen wing was added. The roof of the home was raised and dormers built during another remodeling project in 1872-73.
The beautiful fireplace in the dining room was boarded up for many years. When the enclosure was removed, old iron pots were still hanging on their hooks. Thomas H. Hindle, from whom Dr. and Mrs. Farrell purchased the house four years ago painstakingly removed layers and layers of paint from each of the tiny spindles that form a decorative motif over both fireplaces.
During the Revolution, the Westervelts were forced to leave the home to live in barracks in Hackensack while Hessians occupied the house. Later an English officer took up his residence there. he left behind a wine glass which is in the possession of the Westervelt family today.
Dr. and Mrs. Farrell have made a delightful home of the historic building. The board floorboards are now covered with soft green wall-to-wall carpeting. In the living room fireplace gleam huge brass andirons picked up (coal black) in Connecticut. There is a highboy older than the house itself. they found that 1720 piece in Flemington. Dark red chairs, a marble topped coffee table and a lamp table made from an English Champaign cooler add charm to the room which has just enough of the right antiques.
In the large dining room are a gleaming mahogany table and chairs. A silver punch bowl the Farrells found in a Virginia farm house stands on a server they picked up in Philadelphia. On the buffet are Yale University plates, Dr. Farrell's alma mater.
Cozy Breakfast Room
The kitchen is modern with its stainless steel and fine cabinets. Opposite is a breakfast room which was a kitchen when the home was divided into two apartments. The breakfast room is the center of family life. There is a raised fireplace (new) and cozily near is a heavy oak table surrounded by chairs, including a child size captain's chair on high legs.
Beyond the breakfast room-kitchen area is a den with objects reflecting Dr. Farrell's interest in hunting. Nearby is a bar with a mammy rocker where guests may sit to chat.
A broad entrance hall separating and living and dining rooms is papered in gold and white. A grandfather's clock strikes just the right note. Upstairs are four bedrooms.
Dr. and Mrs. Farrell (she is the daughter of Dr. William F. Fitzhugh of Ridgefield Park) both enjoy collecting antiques for their home.
They has sold some of the land surrounding their house, including a lot at the rear purchased by a young couple who will move onto it a house which was in the path of the Bergen Expressway.