DEP Officially Reopens
Washington's last military headquarters during the American
(04/75) KINGSTON -- As America prepares
to celebrate its 228th birthday, DEP Commissioner Bradley
M. Campbell today officially reopened Rockingham, a significant
landmark in our nation's struggle for independence. Campbell
also announced that the Governor's recently passed budget
provides an additional $500,000 toward its continued preservation.
"It is a thrill to welcome visitors back to Rockingham
to experience a piece of our colonial past. This outstanding
restoration reflects Governor McGreevey's commitment to
preserving New Jersey's historic sites," Campbell said.
The $500,000 will be used to renovate existing outbuildings
for a visitor's center, as well as the construction of additional
fencing, landscaping, lighting and public restrooms. The
projects will start later this year.
The mansion has been closed to the public since July 2001,
while undergoing a $1.8 million state funded restoration,
which returned the site to the days when George Washington
resided there in 1783.
The nearly 300-year-old house and several outbuildings
were moved closer to its original site in July 2001 to accommodate
its restoration and increased visitation. The extensive
restoration of the house includes the reconstruction of
a new kitchen wing, installation of new utilities and a
geothermal heating and air conditioning system to help preserve
the vast collection of colonial period items. Following
a technologically advanced paint analysis, the mansion was
also painted a new color true to its likeness in the 18th
Development of the site incorporates the addition of a
remote parking lot, a pedestrian bridge and fencing, as
well as walkways to the canal towpath and the house.
The Rockingham Association, a non-profit organization dedicated
solely to the preservation of Rockingham, remains a strong
partner with the state in the development of several projects
for the site, including acquisition materials and construction
of the historic fencing, and sponsoring special events,
programs and research.
The site also features a new garden recreated by the Stony
Brook Garden Club, which spent years researching the appropriate
plantings, tracking seed sources and cultivating the plants.
The garden offers an abundance of fresh herbs, flowers,
and vegetables that Washington would have enjoyed while
Rockingham will begin its new hours for guided tours and
programs for the public beginning July 2. On Wednesday through
Saturday, it will be open from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and
1 p.m. to 4 p.m. On Sunday, the site will be open 1 p.m.
to 4 p.m. The site is closed on official holidays, including
the 4th and 5th of July this year.
Listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic
Places, it was at Rockingham that General George Washington
wrote his Farewell Orders to the Armies of the United States,
making it the last military headquarters during the American
Revolutionary War. Washington and his wife Martha lived
at Rockingham from August 23 to November 10, 1783.
Rockingham is believed to be the second oldest house in
the Millstone River Valley, dating somewhere between 1702
John Berrien, a wealthy farmer and merchant who would later
become a New Jersey Supreme Court Justice, purchased the
house in the 1730's and made several additions to the original
structure. He called his plantation Rockingham, possibly
after the Marquis of Rockingham.