This barn and the house across the road were at the center of Frederick Wortendyke's farm. Frederick built them about 1770 on the eve of the American Revolution. He was a "Dutchman" who raised a large family here. He passed the farm on to his children, who in turn passed it on to their children.
None of the Wortendykes were famous, but rather they were like thousands of other farmers in New Jersey, they came and went, raised families, earned a living by feeding their neighbors and others, and in a small way contributed to the strength and prosperity of our nation.
This is a Dutch style barn. It is like barns found in the Netherlands. It is a type that found favor with Dutch farmers beginning in the Middle Ages and came to the New World with Dutch settlers in the 17th century.
The way the barn looks and the way it was built make it very different from barns built by colonists from other European countries like England and Germany. Architectural historians call this style the "New World Dutch Barn". They were only built in areas where Dutch-American farmers settled. This one is a rare survivor from colonial America.
Preserving This BarnSometime between the time it was built to the time it was surrounded by suburbs after World War II, this barn became a landmark along the Pascack Road. Local people came to recognize it as a part of their local history and a way to remember the Dutch-American farmer and life in a by-gone time.
Thus in 1973 when the barn was threatened with demolition to make way for another building many people said, "No!"
The County of Bergen stepped forward and purchased the barn. Craftsmen restored it in 1976. As a result of the stewardship of the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders, with the assistance from the Bergen County Historic Sites Advisory Board and the Pascack Historical Society, this landmark is open for all people to enjoy and admire.
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As you explore this barn, imagine the activities that might have taken place here through the generations from the people who built and first used the barn in 1770 to those who continued to use it into the 19th and 20th centuries, when it eventually stopped functioning as a barn and became a convenient storage space for cars and boats.
Look around, learn, and reflect on the history that surrounds you here.