5 of the Best Historical Sites To Visit in Clifton, NJ

5 of the Best Historical Sites To Visit in Clifton, NJ

September 06, 2020

Clifton, New Jersey, offers a wealth of unique places to see and explore. If you're in town for a visit and want to check out some historical sites, you're in luck. Here are five of the best historical places to visit in and around Clifton.

Hamilton House Museum

Image via Flickr by Boston Public Library

Clifton's Hamilton House Museum encourages you to explore three different time periods — Victorian, Federal, and Colonial — and imagine yourself living in the past as you move through the building. This 19th-century Dutch house is listed on both the State and National Register of Historic Places.

See how things used to be in the past as you explore the six different rooms in the house. Each room showcases different periods of time and the patterns of life that took place during those years. In addition to touring the house, you can also explore its granary, spring house, and gardens, allowing you to gain insight into nearly 200 years of rural life in America.

The museum is typically open Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, it's closed on the following holidays:

  • January 1.
  • Easter.
  • Thanksgiving Day.
  • Christmas Eve.
  • Christmas Day.

The museum offers tours on the hour starting at 10 a.m., but keep in mind that there are no tours available between noon and 1 p.m. The schedule is subject to change, so you should call in advance to confirm the tour schedule on the day you want to visit the museum. Tours last for about an hour.

The City of Clifton owns this site, and Passaic Country's Department of Cultural and Historic Affairs operates the house through a shared services agreement. Hamilton House Museum can also be permitted for public use, and it hosts a lineup of events and programs throughout the year.

Westervelt-Vanderhoef House

You'll find the Westervelt-Vanderhoef House situated right in Weasel Brook Park in Clifton. The house is one of Passaic County's oldest buildings, and it's the oldest county-owned facility.

Westervelt-Vanderhoef House was built in 1720 and was the original home of Gilbert Vanderhoef, who owned and operated a flour and gristmill. The property changed hands many times, but it continued to function as a gristmill under the Westervelt family's ownership up until 1897.

Today, you can visit the house Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The house is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

The house serves as an extension to the Department of Parks and Recreation as well as the Department of Cultural and Historic Affairs. In addition to exhibitions on the history of Weasel Brook Park, Clifton, and Passaic County, the building is used as a meeting space for various organizations. The departments host programs and events here throughout the year, as well.

Clifton Arts Center and Sculpture Park

If you're looking for a day filled with art, history, and culture, you can't go wrong with this site. The 26-acre Clifton Municipal Complex houses the Clifton Arts Center and the sculpture garden.

You'll find the Clifton Arts Center Gallery and Studio in two renovated barns. These brick barns were built early in the 20th century, and they're listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They were part of the former U.S. Animal Quarantine Station, which is now the grounds of the Clifton Municipal Complex. Today, an airy, modern atrium joins the historic brick barns to create a unique venue for visual arts exhibitions, and the sculpture garden at the Clifton Municipal Complex features over 30 contemporary sculptures.

You can visit this site from Wednesday through Sunday from 1-4 p.m. It's closed on legal holidays. Hours may also change depending on upcoming exhibits and shows.

Dey Mansion: Washington's Headquarters

Just a short drive from Clifton in Wayne, New Jersey, Dey Mansion played a vital role during the summer and fall of 1780 as the headquarters for General George Washington. You'll find the mansion in Preakness Valley Park. In 1970, Dey Mansion was listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.

The staff members at Dey Mansion work under the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders. The site seeks to preserve and interpret the history of the Dey family as well as the home's historical role under George Washington.

You can take advantage of lectures, tours, and special events at Dey Mansion. They also provide educational programs that explore life in Colonial America, the people and events of the American Revolution, and the importance of historic preservation.

Dey Mansion is open for visitors Wednesday through Sunday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. It's closed on the following holidays:

  • January 1.
  • Easter.
  • Thanksgiving Day.
  • Christmas Eve.
  • Christmas Day.

You can join a guided tour for about an hour any day the museum is open. Tours start at 10 a.m. and take place on the hour, though there are no tours available between noon and 1 p.m.

Passaic County Arts Center at the John W. Rea House

You'll find the Passaic County Arts Center at the John W. Rea House nearby in Hawthorne. In addition to its historic structure, you'll find accessible and high-quality arts events here as well as educational programs.

The John W. Rea House, which dates back to 1810, houses the Passaic County Arts Center. The structure was added to the State and National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

The Passaic County Arts Center seeks to engage the community and nurture creative expression. You'll gain an appreciation for the visual and performing arts through the following offerings:

  • Arts classes.
  • Gallery exhibitions.
  • Public programs.
  • Workshops.

In addition to the various exhibitions and public and educational programs, you can view the historic house when you visit this site. Admission is free, and it's open to the public throughout the year.

There you have it! Unique Gold & Diamonds just showed you five of the best historical sites to visit in and around Clifton, New Jersey. Did we miss a site you love? Contact us to let us know so that we can add it to our list!