Home Included in Club Tour
By Mildred Taylor
From: The Sunday Sun, March 20, 1960
The charming Brinkerhoff-Demarest Homestead at 493 Teaneck Rd., oldest house in Teaneck and second oldest in Bergen County, will be a high spot on the Historical Tour of the Woman's Club of Teaneck to be held April 19 under the chairmanship of Mrs. Charles R. Kahn Jr. Oldest house in the county is the 1678 David Demarest House.
The house, built in about 1728, is today the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Schuh and Mrs. Schuh's mother, Mrs. Lotta Demarest Treadwell. It has been occupied by the Brinkerhoff and Demarest families exclusively for 232 years. The Brinkerhoffs lived there for 101 years after Henrik Jorisse Brinkerhoff built it.
The Demarest family has occupied it since Feb. 18, 1829 when jasper Demarest bought it as a wedding present for his son George on his marriage to Miss Sarah Brinkerhoff. Mrs. Treadwell's sister, Miss Saretta Demarest, lived in the home with Mr. and Mrs. Schuh until her death in 1954.
Wooden Locks, Pegs
Miss Saretta was the opinion that the house was older than the age attributed to it in a survey of Historic American Buildings made in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration which placed it between 1728 and 1748. Before 1700 wooden locks and pegs were used. Hand wrought iron nails and L and H hinges, she said, came into use after 1700.
Wooden pegs used and two wooden locks from the basement were turned over the Bergen County Historical Society by Miss Saretta.
The red sandstone and clapboard house is a gem of construction. In true Jersey Dutch tradition, it faces south. A Dutch door opens in to a broad entrance hall. On the right are the front and back parlors, on the left a sunny dining room opens into a cheerful kitchen which faces Teaneck Road. Behind the dining room is an extra sitting room, once a bedroom. Upstairs are five bedrooms, linen and storage room. Dormers were added in about 1800 to provide more light and a room was then added to connect with the Servants quarters over the kitchen.
Bulls Eye Glass
Each room fascinates. In the from parlor is an enormous fireplace that has warmed generations of Demarests and Brinkerhoffs. The windows are set in walls two fee thick; some of the panes are the original glass. In the door to the hall are bits of bull's eye glass blown when the house was built. There were similar pieces of glass in the dining room door until a mishap a few years ago. The Schuhs plan to see if a modern glassworks can reproduce them.
In and back parlor is a Franklin fireplace, connecting to the flue in the front parlor. it is of such historic interest that a blue print of it was made with other interesting features of the home during the Historical Building Survey and placed in the Library of Congress. Copies are in the Teaneck Public Library. Also in the back parlor are an old melodeon, a Swiss music box and a portrait of Mrs. Treadwells great aunt, Henrietta Lord. Near the Fireplace is a century old cradle in which Demarest babies were rocked.
Kitchen Cut in Half
Progress took its toll 20 years ago when Teaneck Road was widened, cutting 10 feet off the kitchen. Miss Saretta complained bitterly when the old fireplace with its Dutch over in the wall had to go. However, the kitchen which is 18 by 20 feet is still spacious. The inside stone wall is painted a cheerful blue. A hand made Dutch cupboard is painted blue and white. Once there were stairs in the kitchen to enable the servants to get to their sleeping quarters.
The house is now set on an acre of land. Originally the Demarest farmlands extended from Teaneck Road to Overpeck Creek and from the brook to the Bogota boundary line. Muskmelons prized in the New York market were grown there.
Electricity and plumbing were installed in 1913. There are still kerosene lamps stored away and a pair of whale oil lamps are treasured possessions.
Mrs. Schuh will show the entire house to visitors on the Woman's Club tour. Of particular interest upstairs are the beautiful quilts and coverlids made by the fine needlewomen of the family.