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Revolutionary War-era Fell House is saved!

March 5, 2010

After a three-year struggle, the non-profit Concerned Citizens of Allendale (CCA) has acquired the historic Fell House on the Franklin Turnpike.  Listed in PNJ’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites in NJ last year, this Bergen County landmark is a 22-room mansion sited prominently atop a 2.8-acre lot near the center of Allendale.  The original 18th Century portion of the house was built in the 1750’s. A second wing was added around 1832 and a third in 1912.

The long-term goal of CCA is to restore and maintain the house and 2.8-acre property, return it to its former grandeur and operate the home and grounds as an educational, historical and cultural resource..  The home and property are important historically, environmentally and architecturally.

“From the very start, our mission has been simple,” said CCA president Pat Finn. “We set out to save the historic Fell House, which was threatened by plans to build 11 townhouses on this environmentally sensitive site.”  The group’s tireless efforts – from packing planning board meetings to educating the public about the Fell House’s importance – included engaging residents of Allendale and surrounding towns, buttressed by support from elected officials and historic preservation and nature groups.

The purchase was closed on March 4, funded through the Bergen County Open Space Fund, New Jersey Green Acres  and donations from the public – including Allendale third-graders who voted to donate the profits from a strawberry festival to the cause.

John Fell was a Founding Father and a Revolutionary War hero who was arrested by the British at this site. He was imprisoned in New York City and kept a secret diary that documented England’s horrific treatment of American prisoners of war.  Upon his release in 1778 he was elected as a New Jersey delegate to the Second Continental Congress.  General George Washington’s troops marched by the house in 1781 and it is considered an important “witness site” on the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route.

The property includes exceptional wetlands that have been home to such threatened species as the wood turtle.

Congratulations to the hard working and dedicated members of CCA for their preservation success!

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