Historic Sites of Alpine
Blackledge-Kearney House (aka Cornwallis’ Headquarters) was built in 1750 and is believed to have been used by Cornwallis as a temporary headquarters during the 1776 crossing of the Hudson River (though this is disputed). According to Palisades Parks Conservancy records, it is the oldest building in the New Jersey Section of the Palisades Interstate Park, in our very own Alpine backyard!
Purchased by James and Rachel Kearney in 1817, it was expanded to accommodate a tavern in 1831. As a tavern, it played an important role as a central location for captains and crews of sailing vessels to meet. The tavern also served as a local meeting place for the workforce of quarrymen, dock workers, and tradesmen, who arrived and departed from the Closter Landing. This was a place where all could gossip, share a laugh, and discuss political opinions while accepting the offerings of food and spirits from the tavern keeper, Mrs. Kearney.
In the 1920s, its purpose shifted gears and it was used as a police station for the park. Today, the Kearney House, as it is more familiarly known, serves as a museum, giving life to the story of its role during the 1800s and 1900s. Its preservation can be credited to those efforts made by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission as well as assistance from the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs.
The Blackledge-Kearney House, located at the base of Alpine Approach Road in the Alpine Picnic Area, is open May through October on weekend and holiday afternoons from 12 PM – 5 PM, as well as for special events.