On the banks of the Hackensack River in New Jersey stand beautiful colonial houses with quaint gambrel roofs, wide overhanging eaves, and broad, flat walls made of brown stone. While these houses have been deemed ‘Dutch Colonial’, that term isn’t entirely accurate. These homes, built in the 17th and 18th centuries, are entirely unique, owing to Dutch sensibilities, the building materials available in this New Jersey landscape and the virtually unlimited labor that came about due to a large influx of slaves to the region in the late 1600s.
Practicality dictated many of the architectural elements of early Dutch Houses of New Jersey. The overhanging eaves divert water from the walls of the buildings to prevent washing out the clay joints in the masonry. But there are plenty of stunning details that are purely ornamental, such as the intricately wrought medallions (brackets used under cornices) seen in some of the houses’ gables.
In Volume XI, Issue III of the White Pine Architectural Monographs, these Dutch houses are explored. Written in 1925, this architectural record details the aesthetic qualities of these homes, how they were built, and provides photos of notable examples, such as the Hendrick Brinkerhoff House in Teaneck, pictured above.