Whether you call the mansion before you "Queen Anne Farm" as the Bensels did, or Hardscrabble House as the Cross Family renamed it, the estate served as an escape from everyday life.
John A. and Ella Bensel built the house in 1905, and William R. and Julia Newbold Cross purchased it in 1929. Both families were part of a trend of wealthy industrialists and financiers who established country homes in the Morristown area and Bernardsville's "Mountain Colony."
As you explore the mansion's grounds, you'll discover a few of its Bensel-era remnants, including a five-story, stone water tower and a large silver maple tree the Bensels planted in 1906.
The house was remodelled in 1940 after the death of William R. Cross, but the gardens remain the most significant contribution the Cross family made to the estate. Go through the gate to your left to enter the gardens and enjoy the legacy left by Julia Newbold Cross and her landscape architect Clarence Fowler. Volunteers have cared for this garden since 1977.
In 1975, Morristown National Historic Park purchased this property to protect the adjacent Revolutionary War New Jersey Brigade encampment area and connect to the Jockey Hollow section of the park. The house and grounds of this former private estate have recently been declared eligible for National Historic Landmark status.
Today, the grounds can serve as your retreat to share with friends and family.