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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2014

Contact:Larry Ragonese (609) 292-2994
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Bob Considine (609) 984-1795

CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES REOPENING OF RINGWOOD
MANOR HISTORIC SITE IN PASSAIC COUNTY

PUBLIC INVITED TO REOPENING CELEBRATION ON SATURDAY, APRIL 12

(14/P26) TRENTON – The long-awaited reopening of Ringwood Manor, is scheduled for tomorrow at Ringwood State Park, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced during a pre-opening, ribbon-cutting event today. The 19th century mansion is a National Historic Landmark that captures an important era in North Jersey’s rich ironworks history and its early impact on industrial commerce in the United States.

The Christie Administration is inviting the public to celebrate the return of Ringwood Manor on Saturday, April 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event also coincides with the 75th anniversary of the manor’s dedication as a museum and state park.

“As we celebrate New Jersey’s 350th anniversary this year, the reopening of Ringwood Manor serves as another reminder of our state’s important history,” Commissioner Martin said. “Whether it’s the Walt Whitman’s House or the birthplace of Grover Cleveland, or any of our preserved battlefields and historic villages, it’s our duty and our honor to keep these lifelines to New Jersey’s heritage alive and well.”

Saturday’s official reopening ceremony will take place on the Manor grounds within Ringwood State Park in Passaic County. Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy Victorian pastimes such as 19th Century baseball games, open air painting, horse and carriage rides, ordinary bicycles, lace making, side saddle riders. There also will be fly fishing and blacksmithing demonstrations, as well as art exhibits.

Ringwood Manor is a National Historic Landmark and it is one of the largest New Jersey State Historic sites, with the mansion containing 51 rooms and more than 10,000 thousand artifacts.

“As our organization has been associated with the Manor House for a long time, we are very pleased and grateful to the State Park Service and the DEP for getting it back in shape and affording the opportunity for great improvements of this historic site along the way,” said Ralph Colfax, president of the North Jersey Highlands Historical Society. “Ringwood Manor has quite a deep history with the early industrial development in the northern Highlands and it is important that it be preserved and shared for future generations.”

The rich magnetite iron deposits made the area a major iron supplier in the 18th and 19th centuries and became the home to a succession of ironmasters. Robert Erskine, who also was a mapmaker for George Washington, lived in the original home on the manor property in the late 18th century and made shot that was used in the War of 1812.

Peter Cooper, an inventor and industrialist from New York, and his young son-in-law, Abram S. Hewitt, purchased Ringwood Manor in 1854. One of the Manor’s last owners, Hewitt, the ironmaster, educator and lawyer, also served as a U.S. Congressman and mayor of New York City.

In 1938, Erskine Hewitt, the youngest Hewitt child, donated the site to the State of New Jersey as a museum and a state park.

Ringwood Manor was closed to the public in January 2012 following a malfunction of one of the furnaces which spread soot throughout the interior of the museum and covering its historic collections. Due to the acidic and invasive nature of the soot, the historic museum needed to be thoroughly cleaned and repainted and its contents required cleaning by professional conservators.

The state worked with professionals from the American Institute of Conservators to determine the best and most appropriate methods to proceed with the work. The State Park Service contracted with Spectra Paint, Inc. of Jackson, NJ to clean all the affected interior spaces, repair plaster, and paint to encapsulate all soot particles.  B.R. Howard & Associates, a conservation company located in Carlisle, Pa. was brought in to clean and conserve the more than 10,000 historic artifacts affected.

All of the objects have been thoroughly cleaned and many have been stabilized and repaired as part of this work.

As a result of this work, the interior of the museum will again be opened to the public for guided tours and interpretive programs. Additional rooms on the second floor which have never previously been open for public viewing will now be seen, including Mr. Hewitt’s private office and bathroom. These spaces will be arranged with original furnishings and artwork that have been in storage for many years.

The Christie Administration committed $1.1 million to Ringwood Manor conservation efforts at Ringwood Manor. Another $500,000 was funded by FM Global Insurance.

The events on the grounds on Saturday are free to the public. Tours of the Manor House will be offered for a fee of $3 for adults, $1 for children ages 6 to 12. Children under 5 are free.

For more information on Ringwood Manor, visit: www.ringwoodmanor.org

For more information on Ringwood Manor and Ringwood State Park, visit:

http://www.njparksandforests.org/parks/ringwood.html#ring

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