The Zabriskie Mansion House, Once Washington’s Headquarters, Lost to Development

The house in which Judge Peter Zabriskie (Martina Elmendorf’s grandfather) lived with his family was said to be one of the most beautiful in Hackensack.

Built in 1751, and located on the north side of the Green at 50 Main Street, it was known by all as The Mansion House, and served as headquarters for George Washington from November 15-November 20, 1776. I have often wondered what Peggy Zabriskie Elmendorf might have remembered from that period in which her home was transformed into the general’s command post. It must have been something…

 

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A view of Hackensack c.1831: the house was located in the cluster of buildings to the right of the church tower

 

Upon Peter Zabriskie’s death, the house was probably passed to his daughter and son-in-law, Peggy – Margaret – and John Elmendorf. In 1815, following their deaths, the house was sold to Dr. David Marvin, a physician.

On February 22, 1826 (George Washington’s traditional birthday) Dr. Marvin in turn sold the Mansion House along with two acres to the Washington Banking Company (originally the Weehawk Banking Company) for a sum of $4,500. The bank set up activities in the southwest parlor of the house and commenced doing business… In 1831, Zabriskie’s old barn was torn down and a new structure known as the Bank House put up in its stead. (The Bank House, which still stands today, has itself had a long and interesting history.)

In 1833, the Washington Bank sold the Mansion House, and grounds, for $7,000. Afterwards, the structure successively changed hands, becoming for a number of years an inn and tavern by the name of the Albany Stage Coach. The path from Main Street to its door, known as originally as Mansion Street, eventually became Washington Place, and the house came to be known as The Washington Mansion House.

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Top left, the Mansion House. Fore ground is the First Reformed Church cemetery where Washington stood at Gen. Enoch Poor’s burial in 1780. –Bergen County Historical Society. (For more, see here.)

In 1945, the old place was torn down to make way for a one story office building. The Bergen County Historical Society called this one “of the most horrendous losses of historical sites not only in the City of Hackensack, but in the State of New Jersey.”

A plaque is all that remains:

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FURTHER READING

  • HISTORY OF THE BANK HOUSE, HACKENSACK, NEW JERSEY
    by Reginald McMahon. Available here.
  • Revolutionary War Sites in Hackensack, NJ. Available here.

 

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