John Ackerman House, 1734-87

1286 River Road

A dramatic open site stretching from River Road westward suggests why for many years this was known as the "Old River House." The lines of the sandstone main block and smaller wing are unbroken by modern alterations, making this the most emphatically Dutch of all the colonial and Federal era houses in Teaneck. The stonework is in fine condition. This relatively high state of integrity is the result of years of protection by Mr. and Mrs. William Davis, who later arranged for its sale to Fairleigh Dickinson University, which recently sold the property to a religious institution.

The smaller wing of the house, measuring approximately 18' x 28', was constructed first, probably around 1734 to contain two rooms and a loft. In 1787 the larger 33' x 36' wing was built with its stair hall in the left bay, connecting the two blocks. Interior features of note include a splendid cooking hearth in the kitchen, the main fireplace in the current living room, the staircase, and the former "best" parlor now used as a dining room. The building was recorded in detail by the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1936, and is listed on the State Register of Historic Places.

John Ackerman was a descendent of David Ackerman, who came to the New World from Holland in 1662. Mildred Taylor records the sad story of the death of one of his granddaughters, who fell into the river and drowned while playing near the house. The family owned and farmed the property for over 200 years, and the expansive riverfront parcel remaining gives a good impression of the historic landscape surrounding the homestead.