Preservation Magazine, Summer 2016

News Brief: Revolutionary Work

If walls could speak, those of the Dey Mansion in Passaic County, New Jersey, might deliver a dissertation on the American Revolution. This circa 1772 Georgian estate was offered up as military headquarters for future President George Washington in July, October, and November of 1780. According to extensive documentation, Washington planned and directed attacks on Staten Island and Bulls Ferry, as well as a failed attempt to capture traitor Benedict Arnold, from the mansion’s eastern wing.

Before a 2015–2016 renovation and restoration, the mansion suffered from cracked and gouged plasterwork, worn floorboards, and a bowing structural wall in need of reinforcement. Working with the county, John Milner Architects and contractor Dell-Tech restored and rebuilt the floorboards, replaced the cypress shingle roof, repaired and rebuilt the windows, and pointed the exterior stone and brickwork. Work has already begun on a visitors’ center expected to open on the property sometime this year. “When people come, they can actually visit an authentically restored Washington headquarters and come away with a fundamental understanding of American democracy,” explains county historian Edward Smyk.
Exterior of Dey Mansion

photo by: Courtesy Passaic County Architect Andrew Thompson AIA

The Dey Mansion in Passaic County, New Jersey.

Katharine Keane is a former editorial assistant at Preservation Magazine. She enjoys getting lost in new cities, reading the plaques at museums, and discovering the next great restaurant.

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