I took this photograph back in mid-July, when I was visiting the Alpine Boat Basin at the northern end of the picnic area for the New Jersey Palisades. “Kearney House” dates back to sometime around 1761, when the southern part of the house was built at the river terminus of a route where farmers could transport goods from Closter Dock Road through a pass in the cliffs on their way to New York. At one point, it was mistakenly thought this house served as Lord Cornwallis’ headquarters in the American Revolution.
The house gains its name from James and Rachel Kearney, who moved here in 1817. The five children by the couple—then, more decisively, James’ death, which forced Rachel to open a tavern to make ends meet—necessitated an enlargement of the house’s northern end in the 1840s.
The Palisades Interstate Park Commission purchased the house in 1907. In the Roaring Twenties, the commission used this structure as a police station.