Christian Cole House, c. 1 860

1617 River Road

As America emerged from the cataclysm of the Civil War, Teaneck was a small and peaceful agricultural community still attached to Hackensack. The first railroad to serve the town was the West Shore branch of the New York Central, opened in 1859 but bankrupt by the Centennial. Thirty five ample farms stretched between Liberty and Fort Lee Roads. And a few well-to do gentleman built villas along the Hackensack River or high up on the ridge. The population of the area, then known as West Hackensack, numbered in the hundreds.

The house at the corner of Washburn Avenue and River Road was once the center of the Christian Cole estate, a fifty acre tract running eastward and encompassing the present Tokoloka Park and Feldman Nature Preserve. Maps indicate an earlier farmhouse dating from the beginning of the 19th century, but the present dwelling is definitely from the High Victorian period. The building has an unusually foursquare plan and hipped roof, broken by four small cross gables. The pendants and tracery beneath each peak, and the large cornice brackets are typical carpenter details of the period. Much of the present wrap-around porch is a rebuilding of an older, probably original feature. The front door and interior moldings, along with other details, indicate that the house was built by a person of some means.