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The Hermitage Museum

A Revolutionary Piece of History

With humble beginnings as a two-story farmhouse built in the mid-1700s, the Hermitage, located at 335 North Franklin Turnpike, has an intriguing story to tell.

After the French and Indian War, the house was purchased by James Marcus Provost, an officer in the British Army. He was called into active duty at the dawn of the Revolution and left his wife, Theodosia, at home, where her loyalties were soon to be tested at the home front of the American Revolution.

In July 1778, following the Battle of Monmouth, Theodosia invited General George Washington and his officers to the Hermitage during the court-martial of General Charles Lee at Paramus First Church. Washington was headquartered there for four days with his staff, including Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens. He was also accompanied by the young French nobleman, the Marques de Lafayette.

Theodosia soon met Aaron Burr, and the two quickly developed an intimate friendship that attracted immense criticism and disapproval since Theodosia’s husband was fighting for the British. Her husband had died by the end of the war, and Theodosia married Burr at the Hermitage in July of 1782.

The Hermitage passed through a series of owners. It became a tavern and was then purchased in 1807 by Dr. Elijah Rosencrantz and his wife, Cornelia Suffern. In the 1820s, he built a cotton mill along the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook, which served as the family-owned business for more than 60 years. In 1848, the home was restored to the Gothic Revival it is today.

In 1917, Bess Rosencrantz opened a tea room in the front parlors of the Hermitage, running the business with her niece, Mary Elizabeth, for more than a decade.

Mary Elizabeth was the last Rosencrantz to live at the Hermitage. When she died in March 1970, she bequeathed the house and its contents to the State of New Jersey. In 1970, the Hermitage was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The structure was saved from ruin by a dedicated group of volunteers back in 1972,” says Julie Zier, Director of Development for the Hermitage Museum. Now, the Friends of The Hermitage strives to keep the museum’s legacy alive because of the great historical significance it represents, “The home has been restored as a museum and educational center as an ongoing project throughout the past 50 years, says Julie. “Covid interrupted our fundraising events, but now we have a full calendar of events planned!”

On June 11, the Friends of the Hermitage celebrates its 50th Anniversary at Sun Valley Farm in Mahwah. This family-friendly event will include curated exhibits, vintage cars, antique agricultural exhibits, bee-keeping demonstrations, boxed lunch, and much more. Get more information on the Hermitage and this year’s events at