C/O John Hefferon 510 Ridge Rd
West Milford, NJ 07480
Contact Name: John Hefferon
The Friends are a newly incorporated non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to preserving and promoting the buildings on the 200 year old Wallisch Homestead.
Recreation, Hiking, Education, Community Events, Civic Groups, Environmental land stewardship and Open Space. We invite everyone to come enjoy a Diamond in the Rough! Nestled in the heart of West Milford in Northern Passaic County lies a 100 acre farm which was left to the Township of West Mlford and the West Milford Board of Educaton by the Wallisch brothers, life long dedicated public servants in the community. Several hiking trails have been developed by Ramapo College who marked them with educational markers along the way. The open vistas of Bearfort Mountain to the west offers a spectacular back drop to the wonderful structures which are over 100 years old. Hiking, bird watching and enjoying the open space are all here.
One of our High School students put it best in the short which follows below.
Revitalizing History: Wallisch Homestead
By John Michael Gomez
Just minutes away from the modern center of West Milford, on Lincoln Avenue, lays one of the last remnants of the town’s early history, the Wallisch Homestead. Dating back to 1824, the Wallisch Homestead was one of the original tracts of land which made up West Milford, which would initially be known as “New Milford”, a site with a storied past and a future brimming with potential.
According to Preservation New Jersey’s website, which lists the site as one of the ten most endangered historic sites in the state, the estate dates back to the early 1800’s and formed one of the last surviving land parcels that made up the original area of West Milford. The first family to own and live on the property was the Tichnors, who were succeeded by a man by the name of J.H Gregory who, in the mid-1800s, built some of the structures which are still on the property to this day. The property has changed hands a few times, at least five, with half of the property being willed to the Township of West Milford and the other half to the School Board by the early 2000s. But over the course of its 190 years, the property has been used for a variety of activities. Outdoor activities such as swimming, ice skating, camping, hiking, and other various events have been commonplace on the property throughout its history. This is a trend that the site’s friends group, The Friends of Wallisch Homestead, hopes to continue well into the future.
The best things about the Wallisch Homestead don’t simply lay in the site’s history, they lay in its future. Looking towards the future, the Friends of Wallisch Homestead has very high hopes for the property and aims to transform the property into a “cultural, recreational, and educational center”, as per their website. To this end, the group hopes to offer a variety of new educational programs on the 100 acre property which includes programs on birds, astronomy, butterflies, and natives plants among other things. These programs will all be aimed at providing the community with new opportunities to learn about the natural world around them. In addition to these programs, the group is hosting an art and photo show this May which is open to all. The group also plans to begin, at the very least, to stabilize and maintain the buildings on the property to ensure that this important facet of local history is preserved.
Optional Information: Grant and fundraising opportunities with business promotion appreciated.