Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Jacobus Vanderveer House Receives State, County Grants For Barn Project

Jacobus Vanderveer House Receives State, County Grants For Barn Project

The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House have received two key grants, which will further propel the nonprofit organization’s plan to reassemble a Voorhees Dutch Barn – a rare and important example of early Dutch agricultural architecture – for its adaptive reuse on the site of the 1772 Jacobus Vanderveer House in River Road Park, Bedminster.

The New Jersey Historic Trust, an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, has awarded the Friends a $50,000 Historic Site Management Grant for Planning Documents that will assist with Design Development and Construction documents for the barn project. On Tuesday, October 9, the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders awarded the Friends a $173,790 Somerset County Historic Preservation Grant for the project.

Somerset County Freeholder Director Patrick Scaglione (foreground) presents a $173,790 Somerset County Historic Preservation Grant to Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House Trustees (left to right) Douglas Stevinson, Bedminster Township Committee member and Township liaison to the Friends; Robin Ray, Assistant Treasurer, of Bedminster; and Craig Sutherland, President, of Basking Ridge.  Courtesy Debbie Weisman on behalf of The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House.
“We are thrilled to receive such strong support from both the state and county for this important project,” commented Craig Sutherland, President of the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House. “This is exactly the type of funding we needed to proceed with formal design, development and Phase I construction. We will continue to seek philanthropic support for the remaining phases of the project from the community it will directly benefit.”

In June 2016, The Friends were awarded a $94,190 Historic Preservation Grant from the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders for the acquisition and relocation of an early 19th century Dutch barn from a private property on Old York Road, Branchburg to the grounds of the Jacobus Vanderveer House. The 33’ x 51’ barn (now disassembled and housed in a 44’ trailer on the Vanderveer property) will soon become the centerpiece of a planned farmstead surrounding Bedminster’s historic Jacobus Vanderveer House.

The planned rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the Voorhees Dutch barn will further enhance the meaning and relevance of the historic Jacobus Vanderveer House as a heritage tourism destination. Once completed, the Voorhees Dutch barn will provide much-needed space for the Friends’ well-attended, rapidly growing events and educational programs. It will offer exhibit space as well as a secure repository for the thousands of archaeological artifacts that were excavated during the Pluckemin Archaeology Project. These artifacts and the documentation thereof are currently being housed in a warehouse facility in Central New Jersey. Once these artifacts can be permanently stored in a climate-controlled facility, they will be available for exhibition and interpretation to the thousands of history lovers who reside in Somerset County and the greater New York area.

The Vorhees Barn as it was being disassembled. Photo courtesy Friends of Jacobus Vanderveer House.
Ultimately, the barn will include an addition that will house a small catering kitchen, barrier-free restrooms, and a coat room – all of which will facilitate its suitability as a venue for public, private, and corporate events that will help financially sustain the historic property’s future maintenance and operational costs.

Total estimated construction costs will amount to nearly $1.3 to $1.7 million. Design Development & Construction Documents, Phase I Construction Phase Services, and Phase 1 construction are estimated to cost $521,447, which will principally include the foundation, reassembly and repair of the historic barn frame, and temporary wall and roof sheathing. The Friends are committed to raising additional funds through its Raising The Bar(N) capital campaign. For further information about Raising The Bar(N), visit

Watch the barn be salvaged and dismantled:

About The Jacobus Vanderveer House                                  
For more than two centuries, the Jacobus Vanderveer House, located in River Road Park, has been at the center of Bedminster Township’s rich and colorful history. It is situated on part of the 218 acres that make up River Road Park in Bedminster Township, Somerset County. 

Jacobus Vanderveer, Jr., son of Vanderveer, Sr., a wealthy Dutch miller, built a small Dutch frame-style farmhouse just west of the North Branch of the Raritan River on the northern outskirts of Pluckemin. In 1778, during the War of Independence, Vanderveer lent his home to General Henry Knox, who was to command a new artillery encampment and training academy being established by the Continental Army on a hillside above the village of Pluckemin. General Knox, along with his wife Lucy and family, occupied the house from the winter of 1778 through the summer of 1779.

The Vanderveer house is the only surviving building associated with the Pluckemin encampment, which is considered to be the first installation in America to train officers in engineering and artillery. General Knox established “The Academy” and subsequently created its successor, The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.  

The Jacobus Vanderveer House and property were purchased by Bedminster Township in 1989 with the help of Green Acres funding. The house was listed in 1995 on the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places. The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House is a nonprofit organization formed to restore and develop the historic site as an important educational and cultural resource. During the past decade, the Friends have restored the house, created historically accurate period room exhibitions, established historic collections, supported important research, and embarked on a program of education and interpretation to tell the stories of General Henry Knox, the Pluckemin military encampment and the community’s key role in the American Revolution.

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