Between 1785 and May 2, 1840 the property changed hands several times
until it was sold to Richard Tunis Cooper and his wife Effie Huyler. The
seller, Fredrick Mabie, had developed the site in the early 18th century
and had constructed a gristmill on Long Swap Brook, a frame house, and
a barn. Richard Tunis Cooper by trade was a chair maker and continued his
trade at the site. On January 2, 1849, Richard’s son, Tunis Richard Cooper
bought the property from his father and developed a very profitable chair
making business. He converted the gristmill into a saw mill. The business
flourished between 1859 and 1863. Besides the site in what is now Bergenfield,
the Coopers’s had a nine story warehouse and showroom at 442 Pearl Street
in New York City. The chairs were shipped through out the east coast.
When Alec Marchbank died in 1997, the Borough of Bergenfield would not allow this important part of American history to go the way of development. In 2004 the Borough of Bergenfield was able to purchase the property and four remaining buildings. It is the intent of the Borough of Bergenfield to restore and preserve this important part of American industrial history.
The property is listed on the National & State Registers of Historic
Places. Currently the site is not open to the General Public due to the
condition of most of the buildings. Plans are to stabilize, to eventually
restore, and maybe create a Welcome / Museum Center so the site can
be opened for limited tours.
Since the entire Historical site is listed on the National and State Historic Places future funding is available from various County, State, Federal, or private sources for the continued preservation and restoration of the site. The preservation must be done in stages due to funding. Once the structures are stabilized from further deterioration, funding will requested to actually start restoration to turn the site into a Living Museum.
Bergenfield has a long and rich history, and you have been a part of that history. But it is in danger of being lost forever. The thousands of artifacts, documents, and pictures which have been donated to the Bergenfield Museum have been in storage for over three years waiting for a new building to be erected. Now that building has been planned and can be built . But we need your help for the new home of the town's history to be built on the Cooper property. Much of the funding for the building has been raised by a dedicated core of volunteers as no municipal tax monies will be used, but we need more with your help. Please make your contribution in goods, services, and especially money to keep the memories of the past as a legacy from you for the generations to come.
To become a member, or for more information please contact:
To make a tax-deductible donation, please mail a check or money order
We will be sending a newsletter with progress reports to all members after the new year. The ground breaking is scheduled for spring, 2006.Please honor your town. Your chance to help is needed now for our beloved Bergenfield.