1. What is the latest news about the house?
On March 4, 2010 The Concerned Citizens of Allendale, a non-profit 501c3 tax-exempt organization, purchased the Fell House through grants and fundrasing.
2. Who will own the Fell House and property?
The Concerned Citizens of Allendale will own the home and property. The Borough of Allendale will not own any part of the property. The Mayor and Town Council have been supportive of our efforts and have been generous with advice, but have made it clear that this effort must be funded by and its future planned by the non-profit organization.
3. How was the acquisition be funded?
The Concerned Citizens of Allendale has secured grants from Bergen County and New Jersey Green Acres Program. Additional funds came from charitable donations.
4. What are the Concerned Citizens of Allendale’s plans for the house and property?
The Concerned Citizens of Allendale will create and operate a historical education and cultural resource by preserving and managing the Fell House, grounds, open space and wetlands. We will work with the community and those interested to ensure a self-sustainable non-profit enterprise and ongoing community service.
5. Why preserve the home and property?
- To save a historically significant home – the residence of John Fell, the man who led the fight against the British and who was held as a prisoner of war for nearly a year in New York City. Fell was later a Continental Congressman who ratified our Constitution.
- To preserve a historical landmark for Allendale, surrounding towns, Bergen County, the state of New Jersey and the nation.
- To preserve wetlands, open space and nature in a park setting.
- To complement and protect the adjacent Celery Farm natural ecosystem – the area already floods in heavy rains, and maintaining the Fell House wetlands is crucial to protect the Celery Farm, a 107-acre natural treasure.
- To operate a facility for meetings for community associations
6. Why else are the home and property important historically?
The state of New Jersey has granted a Certificate of Eligibility for the house to be listed in the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic places due to its local significance in architectural history. It is a “witness site” for the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (W3R). Washington’s troops marched by the Fell property in 1781. The site is included in the W3R study for New Jersey, confirming its importance as a witness site. Carol Greene, Vice-Chair, W3R-NJ, notes that properties such as the Fell House are precious reminders of America’s fight for liberty.
Other important persons who lived in the house over that last 200 + years include:
Joseph Warner Allen was a guest of John G Ackerman. Allen surveyed the course of the Paterson-Railroad between 1846-1848 through the area then known as Franklin Township. The station was named after him and the town became Allendale.
Mary Emma Reading nee Cable was the daughter of Stephen Cable who lived here in the late 1800’s. She conducted a Sunday school in the home of her parents and it later became the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, the oldest church in Allendale.
Joseph B Taylor – The Cable family retained ownership of the house until 1912, when Joseph B Taylor bought the house. He was born in Brooklyn about 1868 and his grandfather, William Taylor was the founder of the Columbian Iron Works in Brooklyn, suppliers of iron for, among other projects, the Brooklyn Bridge.
7. How will the Concerned Citizens of Allendale maintain and preserve the home and property?
The Concerned Citizens of Allendale, a 501c3 enterprise, will offer a full complement of historical and nature-related educational services in the home and on the grounds. The purchase, renovations, plus ongoing operations, repairs, maintenance, will be funded through grants, fee based events/workshops, rental activities, memberships and individual donations.
8. What is the condition of the house and barn?
A recent inspection of the house was conducted and the general consensus of the inspectors was that other than some specific problems, the house is in very good condition considering its age.
They were impressed by the beauty, workmanship and character of its various architectural styles that reflect the history of home building in our country.
The inspectors also checked out the barn and agreed that it is structurally sound. There are many fans of the barn and several historic preservationists, artists and barn lovers are committed to working to find grants and donations that will enable us to restore it. Reuse suggestions include creating a Visitor Center and gallery for local artists and photographers.