I took this image of Campbell-Christie House back in late January, on the grounds of Historic New Bridge Landing in River Edge, not far from where I live in Bergen County, NJ. Yet this four-room sandstone structure, dating back to April 1774, was originally located a bit more than a mile away, in New Milford. It was not moved to its current location, next to the more famous Steuben House, until 1977.
Jacob Campbell, a mason, built this home around the time of his marriage to Altche Westervelt. Three of their sons became privates in the Bergen Militia in the war that was to transform their neck of the woods in the next few years. The home passed through a couple of hands before being owned by the Christie family, who then occupied it for over a century.
The most famous of the Christies was J. Walter Christie, who was born in this house in 1865. He would achieve some degree of renown early in the 20th century as an inventor, working on pioneer submarines as well as battleship turret tracks and gun mounts and the modern tank. More dangerously, he took up auto racing, including machines of his own making that briefly held speed records, in contests against the likes of Louis Chevrolet, Henry Ford and Barney Oldfield. That career lasted only three years, when he nearly died in a 1907 race in Pittsburgh, when he was doing 70 miles per hour. Luckily, he survived that accident and went on to pioneer front-wheel drive.