By GALINA BELLO
New Bridge Landing is a historic site located ve minutes from campus and has seen most of the Revolutionary War. It was also home to General Baron Von Steuben, as well as a temporary residence for General Washington and Alexander Hamilton in 1780. Now, it is the headquarters of the Bergen County Historical Society.
The Bergen County Historical Society is a non- pro t organization that relies solely on donations to fund it. For anyone interested in American history, or specifically the Revolutionary War, a BCHS membership may be something to consider.
In the summer of 1776, the 2nd Continental Congress in Philadelphia declared independence from Great Britain following violence that had broken out in Boston. The war kicked o and gradually made its way from north to south in the American Colonies.
That September, New York City fell to the British.
The Continental Army was not in good shape. They were given the choice to continue to retreat southwards or remain where they were and become British subjects.
The British army, led by General Cornwallis, sent troops along with a group of Hessian soldiers to invade and capture Fort Washington, New York in November. They then sought to capture Fort Lee across the Hudson River. This left the Americans stationed at Fort Lee no choice but to retreat further into New Jersey.
Thomas Paine, author of “Common Sense,” mentioned this span of miserable retreats specifically in his pamphlet “The American Crisis,” and wrote that “these are the times that try men’s souls.”
The Bergen County Historical Society hosts events year-round such as historical interpretation lectures, tours of the New Bridge grounds, vintage baseball games, wreath laying ceremonies and ground clean-ups. They recently held a ceremony for 22 Bergen County residents who were naturalized as U.S. citizens.
Volunteers on a tour of the grounds provide insight on everyday life during various time periods, and present many curious items such as old coins, cookie molds and a bacon settling seat. They even have tea bricks similar to those discarded in the Boston Tea Party and a frying pan with George Washington on it.
The Bergen County Historical Society is currently raising funds to open a museum to house its artifacts. On Saturday, Sept. 30, Baronfest, a celebration of Major-General Baron von Steuben at his Jersey Estate, will be held. There will be a cannon ring, live demonstrations, German Fare Food, free pumpkin picking and tours of the grounds from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Historic New Bridge Landing, 1201 Main St. in River Edge.
For more events and information visit BergenCountyHistory.org.