Saturday, July 11, 2015

Stevens Castle

Stevens Castle,  a 40-room Victorian mansion built on the highest point in Hoboken overlooking the Hudson River, in 1854

Col. John Stevens III (son of John Stevens Jr.,  delegate to the Continental Congress in 1783) was an inventor and engineer. In 1784 he bought the land where today the city of Hoboken is located. He laid out the streets and sold off parcels to found the city. In 1791 he received one of the country's first patents for developing the steam engine.

In 1806 he built the Phoenix, a steamboat that ultimately sailed from Hoboken to Philadelphia, thereby becoming the first steamship to successfully navigate the open ocean. The first railroad charter in the U.S. was given to Stevens and others in 1815 for the New Jersey Railroad. In 1825 he designed the first American-built steam locomotive.

Replica of John Steven's steam carriage, which ran in 1825 in Hoboken (Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania)

Edwin Augustus Stevens, one of colonel Stevens' 11 children, was active in the design and construction of ironclad vessels (the Stevens Battery) for the U.S. Navy. In 1854 he built the mansion known as Stevens Castle on the hill overlooking New York harbor from the cliffs of Hoboken. All of high society America at the time visited there.
  
Another son of the colonel, Robert Livingston Stevensbuilt and operated profitably the first commercial railroad in the United States, the Camden and Amboy Railroad, and invented the T-shaped railroad track rail, still used today. His brother John Cox Stevens founded America's first yacht club and started the America's Cup race.


After Edwin's passing in 1868, the 55 acre site with the castle was turned into a college for engineering called 'Stevens Institute of Technology'. The mansion was used as the original dormitory and offices for the college. As the college expanded over the years, space was needed and the castle was demolished in 1959 to build a highrise office building for the college. Only the castle gatehouse remains...

next episode: Barbara

6 comments:

  1. Very interesting and truly a great place to visit.

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  2. Birthday greetings from California! Hope you had a great day, Rob!

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    1. Thank you Nate, it is always good to hear from the Golden State, I hope everything is well in SLO!

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  3. I didn't visit Hoboken when I have been on the east coast, and didn't know much about it other than associating the town with Frank Sinatra. The founder and his descendants were accomplished people.

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  4. What a wonderful building for budding engineers to study in.

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  5. Good post. I particularly like that old American architecture

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