Atwood-Blauvelt mansion

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Atwood-Blauvelt mansion
Atwood-Blauvelt Mansion, Oradell NJ.jpg
The Atwood-Blauvelt mansion, photo c. 1909
Atwood-Blauvelt mansion is located in Bergen County, New Jersey
Atwood-Blauvelt mansion
Location within New Jersey
Former namesNorthland, Bluefield
General information
Architectural styleShingle style
Address699 Kinderkamack Rd.
Town or cityOradell, New Jersey
Coordinates40°57′51″N 74°01′55″W / 40.964175°N 74.031833°W / 40.964175; -74.031833
Construction startedFall 1896[1]
OpenedJune 1, 1897[1]
ClientKimball C. Atwood
LandlordCareOne LLC
Technical details
Floor count
Design and construction
ArchitectFred W. Wentworth

The Atwood-Blauvelt mansion [1] is a historic residential building built in 1897 and home to the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum. It is located on Kinderkamack Road in Oradell, Bergen County, New Jersey,[2] in the United States. The mansion is a prominent example of shingle style architecture, which was popular in the United States in the late 19th century.[3] The Atwood-Blauvelt mansion takes its name from original owner, Kimball Chase Atwood, and from its second owner, Elmer Blauvelt who bought it in 1926.[4][5]

The 25-room[4] mansion is situated on a large plot of land and fronted by a two-acre sloped lawn that comes down to Kinderkamack Road.[5] Its location, prominent lawn, massive foundation, steeply pitched gable roof, and hexagonal towers with conical roofs make the mansion a landmark structure for the residents of the area.[5][2]

In 1941, the Bergen County Panorama described the mansion as “the most imposing home in the (Hackensack) valley, a 16-room replica of a Norman castle on the site of a 1700 Dutch colonial homestead torn down in 1892."[1]

As of 2015, the building has been allowed to deteriorate by its owner, Care One, raising concerns that it intends to demolish the historic building.[6][7]


Original owner Kimball Chase Atwood


In the late 17th century, the property was part of a 261-acre estate belonging to an early settler from the Low Countries, Andries Tebow, whose direct 10th-generation descendant is former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.[8]

In the years preceding the erection of the Atwood-Blauvelt mansion, the property on which it sits was owned by Richard and Euphemia Van Wagoner, and contained a Dutch Colonial house, built of sandstone, that predated the American Revolutionary War. The Van Wagoners sold the property to insurance company founder and grapefruit magnate Kimball Chase Atwood of Clifton, New Jersey on October 1, 1895.[1]

Atwood era[edit]

The Atwood-Blauvelt mansion was built during 1896-97 for Atwood, based on a design by Paterson, New Jersey architect Fred Wesley Wentworth (1864-1943).[1][2]

Atwood (1853-1934), who was raised in modest circumstances, founded the Preferred Mutual Accident Insurance Association in 1885, and in the 1890s established the largest grapefruit grove in the world at the time, on the Manatee River near Bradenton in Florida.[1][9] Atwood's grapefruit grove was the birthplace (1906) of the popular pink grapefruit variety.[10]

Atwood spent $100,000 on the construction of the mansion (not counting outbuildings and land improvements).[1] During the construction, The Hackensack Republican, a local newspaper, reported that Atwood's mansion "will be one of the grandest homes in northern New Jersey."[1] Atwood christened his new home Northland.[1]

Blauvelt era[edit]

Atwood sold the mansion in 1926[4] to Elmer Blauvelt, who renamed it Bluefield (which is the English meaning of "Blauvelt").[11][1]

Elmer Blauvelt (1866-1938)[12] and his son Hiram Bellis Demarest Blauvelt (1897-1957) had a coal and lumber business and were scions of the prominent Dutch Demarest and Blauvelt families, who have been living in Bergen County since the 17th Century.[13] Hiram Blauvelt served in Africa during World War II[13] and was a prolific hunter.[11] His collection of stuffed animals and wildlife-related art served as the foundation of the collection of the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum and Foundation, which was established pursuant to his will in 1957 and is today located in the carriage house adjoining the mansion.[14]

After the deaths of Hiram Blauvelt (1957) and his mother Margaret Bellis Blauvelt (1961), the mansion was inhabited only by caretakers and was poorly maintained.[11] In 1978, the Blauvelt estate sold the mansion to architect Raymond Wells, who protected it from demolition and renovated it.[4][15]

Present state[edit]

Since 2006, the mansion had been listed for sale and at some point was in foreclosure.[2] The Wells family had experienced financial difficulties, and had asked Oradell to help rescue the mansion, which is costly to maintain.[15] On March 22, 2013, the mansion was sold in a sheriff's auction to CareOne LLC, who paid $100 and assumed $3.9 million in mortgages on the property.[16] CareOne had been trying to build an assisted living facility since as early as 2007, with Wells' agreement, but its efforts met with opposition from the community and the Oradell Zoning Board.[16]

The preservation of the mansion remains uncertain.[2][15][16] While the mansion has been determined eligible for the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, it has not been placed on either register as of 2013.[2] Of the several outbuildings, only the carriage house survives. Since 1957 it has housed the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum and Foundation.[2][14]

As of 2015, Care One, which owns the mansion, has let it deteriorate, raising concerns that it is considering demolition and development of the property.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kevin Wright, Kimball C. Atwood’s Shingle-Style Chateau, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey 2011 Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Preservation New Jersey.
  3. ^ Antoinette Rainone, Oradell Then and Now: Resolve to preserve the ‘castle’,, February 2, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d Margaret Foster, New Jersey Mansion Threatened, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Sept. 29, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c Blauvelt Mansion Movie Project, About Blauvelt Archived May 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Oradell residents fear demolition of historic mansion". December 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  7. ^ "". Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  8. ^ John Branch, Jack Begg, Jets’ Tebow Can Trace His Lineage to New Jersey, The New York Times, March 23, 2012.
  9. ^ Kimball C. Atwood Dies at Age 81, The New York Times, June 28, 1934.
  10. ^ Julia Morton, Fruits of warm climates (1987) at pp. 152–58.
  11. ^ a b c Karl Zimmerman, Future of Mansion in Oradell Doubtful, The New York Times, April 21, 1974.
  12. ^ Elmer Blauvelt, Coal Dealer, Dies, The New York Times, April 19, 1938.
  13. ^ a b Hiram Blauvelt, Fuel Dealer, 60, The New York Times, Oct. 17, 1957.
  14. ^ a b "The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum - History / Director's Statement". Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  15. ^ a b c Ashley Kindergan, Blauvelt Mansion: Landmark's future is still up in the air, The Bergen Record, July 21, 2010.
  16. ^ a b c Denisa R. Superville, Historic Blauvelt Mansion in Oradell sold in foreclosure auction for $100, The Bergen Record, March 25, 2013.
  17. ^ "Oradell residents fear demolition of historic mansion". December 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2017.

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