PARAMUS, NJ (WCBS 880) – The story of 273 Dunkerhook Road in Paramus spans more than two centuries. It’s nearly as old as the U.S. Constitution.
The old Dutch stone house belonged to early Bergen County settlers, the Zabriskies, and was bequeathed to their freed slaves.
Now, the story of the Zabriskie House is probably nearing an end.
WCBS 880’s Sean Adams In Bergen County
Darryl Harris is a descendent. His fifth great grandfather lived there in 1865.
“It’s American history, it’s African American history, it’s New Jersey history. And it’s a part of this area,” Harris told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams on Tuesday.
“And it’s your personal history?” asked Adams.
“And my personal history, yes. And that’s where it hurts the most,” replied Harris. “When you can actually feel and stand where they stood and where they were. You can’t put a plaque in its place. You can’t have a picture of it. You can’t just erase that part of history.”
Neighbor Ted Manville is fighting to save it.
“This is part of American history, African American history. It’s one of the five remaining structures or places associated with African American history, dating from the revolution up, left in Bergen County,” said Manville.
Even though the house is on the National Register of Historic Places, that doesn’t preclude the elderly owner from selling, she wants out.
Developer Sal Petrozella says the foundation is cracked and the home is not worth saving.
He went through the required waiting period, but no one came forward to preserve it
He wants to knock it down and build two homes.
Preservationists hold out hope that they can relocate it, but that does not seem likely to happen.