Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Princess Viggo's childhood home up for sale

This past weekend I flew home to New Jersey to attend my 40th High School reunion.  I grew up in Ringwood in the Ramapo Mountains near the New York State border.  Ringwood, established in 1740 (and hasn't changed much since then), has a population of about 12,000 people .. lots of space though.  No one can feel cramped in Ringwood.

Ringwood, which begins at the top of Skyline Drive (a real treat to drive down to Oakland in the dead of winter,) is a very historic town.  Think the American Revolution and George Washington.    The iron mines played a major role in helping to defeat the British. 

George Washington even slept at Ringwood Manor.

Washington was at Ringwood Manor on April 19, 1783, when the war between the United States and United Kingdom ended.    Ringwood Manor was owned by Robert Erskine, a Scottish-born inventor, who was appointed as Geographer and Surveyor General of the Continental Army by Washington.

I often visited Ringwood Manor and would bring my lunch and eat, sitting on Erskine's grave.

The estate was acquired by Martin Ryerson, who began construction of the present Manor House.  He made the shot for the War of 1812.

The estate was purchased at a sheriff's sale by Peter Cooper (Cooper Union) and his son-in-law, Abram S. Hewitt, who was elected as mayor of New York City in 1886.  He also served for several terms in the House of Representatives. 

Peter Cooper and Abram S. Hewitt enlarged Ringwood Manor.  Hewitt married Peter's daughter, Sarah Amelia Cooper. They had six children, including a daughter, Amelia, known as Amy.

The Cooper-Hewitt's primary residence was 9 Lexington Avenue in New York City.  Ringwood Manor was their summer residence.   In 1886,  Amy married Dr. James O Norvin.  Their wedding took place at Ringwood Manor.

In 1878,  Abram Hewitt bought the estate across Sloatsburg Road from Ringwood Manor.  He gave the estate to his daughter, Amy, as a wedding president.  Her husband was the president of Western Telegraph, which became Western Union. 

Amy and James had two children, Norvin (1893-1955) and Eleanor Margaret (1895-1966).  Their primary residence was the Lexington Avenue home, but every summer was spent in Ringwood.

Amy died in 1922.  Her husband died two years later.   Norton inherited the family property in Ringwood.  He sold his parents' estate to the Capuchin sisters for $1.00 in 1930.  Ringwood Manor  was bequested to the State of New Jersey by Erskine Hewitt, Amy's brother, who died in 1936.

Amy's unmarried sister, Sarah Cooper died in 1933, leaving an estate worth $5,843,122.  She left her niece, Princess Viggo, $75,000 in "cash, jewelery and certain wearing apparel."  The Princes's brother, Norton, received $100,000, and they both inherited a share in Sarah's property in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Eleanor Margaret Green, known as Peggy, married Prince Viggo of Denmark  on June 10, 1924 in New York City.  The newlyweds spent the first part of their honeymoon in Ringwood ... my home town!

I lived on Skyline Lake.  Loved it.  I'd move back in a heartbeat if I did not have to commute to New York City.  Most housing prices are not bad, and lower than Northern Virginia.  The house two doors down from my old home is for sale at $280,000.  Lakefront property.  My condo costs more than that ... but there is the little issue of New Jersey having the highest property taxes in the country. 





John said...

What are your thoughts on NJ governor Christie? Like him? Picture him as a future POTUS someday?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

He is no Tom Kean. NJ is not well-served by this buffoon.