River Edge played a crucial part in the Revolution when George Washington, in November 1776, led his army over the Hackensack New Bridge after the surprise attack by the British at Fort Lee. At that spot is the Steuben House, a state historic site that houses the museum of the Bergen County Historical Society. The oldest portion of the sandstone house was probably built in 1713, making this the oldest extant house in the county, but there had been a gristmill on the site several years before that. During the Revolution the house was owned by Jan Zabriskie, a leading merchant and a Tory. It was confiscated and offered to Major General Baron von Steuben in gratitude for his work in training the American troops. The house had suffered considerable abuse during the war: because of its strategic location at the bridge it was used for various military purposes, including serving as a fort, throughout the Revolution. According to legend, Steuben declined the offer because he didn't want to displace the Zabriskies; according to another, its condition made it undesirable.
The Steuben House has an idyllic setting, known as New Bridge Landing Historic Park. There are other buildings in he park, including the Campbell Christie House, colonials and stone house moved from New Milford, and restored as a tavern by the Bergen County Historical Society. The Demarest House, an early stone house, was also moved here from New Milford. Once thought to have been built in the late 1670s by the Huguenot settler David des Marest, it is more likely a late-18th-century successor on that site.
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