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Ramapo College Acknowledged for Preservation of Historic Campus Structures

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)June 4, 2021

The historic Arch on the campus of Ramapo College

MAHWAH, N.J. – The Mahwah Historic Preservation Commission recognized four iconic structures on the Ramapo College campus for their historic significance and applauded the College’s initiatives in preservation and restoration of The Birch Mansion, The McBride House, The Havemeyer House and The Havemeyer Arch. The beauty and integrity of the state College’s 300-acre campus has been commended by CondeNast Traveler in its listing of the “50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America” and its accessible physical spaces were noted by Great Value Colleges when it ranked Ramapo among “America’s Top 50 Colleges for Students with Disabilities.”

Ramapo College President Peter P. Mercer accepted the awards at a special ceremony of the Commission at the Mahwah Municipal Building on June 3.

“The stewardship of a 300-acre campus is contingent upon the daily care and thoughtfulness of a team of people who place great value in tending to our history, ensuring our functionality, and maintaining our aesthetic. Ramapo College’s facilities management and capital planning personnel do a tremendous job and, with the Board of Trustees’ continued investment in our physical assets, I trust the campus will continue to shine,” said Peter P. Mercer, College President.

Ramapo College was acknowledged by the Commission in the category of Adaptive Reuse of an Historic Site for the Birch Mansion, McBride House and Havemeyer House, and in the category of Preservation of a Structure for the Havemeyer Arch. The Commission also makes awards in five other categories, including Continuing Preservation or Use, Contributions of an Individual in Preserving Mahwah History, New Construction in a Distinguished Style, Preservation or Restoration Project and Youth Preservation Project.

Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Trustees and long-time Mahwah resident, William F. Dator, who helped originally site the College in Mahwah, said, “There are over 40,000 alumni and countless faculty, staff, students, and friends of Ramapo who, over the years, have been a part of the College’s history. This honor from the Commission recognizes not just the adaptive reuse and preservation efforts of the College, but it also honors the many people who have been a part of the College’s history whether they processed under the Arch, dined at the Havemeyer House, departed for a tour from the McBride House, or even enjoyed a piano recital in the Birch Mansion.”

Anne Powley, Chair of the Mahwah Historic Preservation Commission, shared, “With such magnificent buildings in idyllic country surroundings, it is no wonder that Ramapo College is often cited for having one of the most beautiful campuses in New Jersey,” said Powley.  “If you ever wonder what is the purpose of Historic Preservation, here you have it.  The stories of these buildings connect us with our past and unite us in our shared history.”

Mahwah Mayor Jim Wysocki expressed gratitude for the College’s dedication in preserving its historic structures. “Mahwah is a great town with a rich and diverse history; a history that has been enriched by Ramapo College,” Wysocki said.  “These awards recognize individuals or organizations that have taken an active role in restoring our town’s historic treasures.  We are so grateful to Ramapo College for preserving our history for future generations to enjoy.”

About the Ramapo College structures:

BIRCH MANSION – Designated a historic site by the Mahwah Historic Sites Committee of the Township of Mahwah, the mansion was built between 1887 and 1890 by Theodore A. Havemeyer for his daughter Lillie, and her husband John Mayer, as a wedding gift. The property was sold to Stephen Birch, president of Kennecott Mining, in 1917; it was sold in 1970 to the State of New Jersey for the construction of Ramapo College. The Birch Mansion is currently the location of the College administrative offices.

HAVEMEYER HOUSE – The building was completed in 1849 and sold in 1878 along with the surrounding property to the family of American Sugar Refining Company proprietor, Theodore A. Havemeyer. The College purchased the property in 2001 and it has served as the president’s residence and as a special event space.

MCBRIDE HOUSE – Completed in 1890, the McBride House was used by guests of the Havemeyer family. In 1970, the house, including 340 acres of surrounding land, was purchased by the State of New Jersey for the construction of Ramapo College. In 1993, the home was named for the Nevins McBride family of Franklin Lakes, following a gift to the College to renovate the property. Today, the building houses the College’s Office of Admissions.

HAVEMEYER ARCH – Located in the College’s grove, the classical style red sandstone arch with brick support walls is an important campus landmark. It was moved to this location from the courtyard of the Theodore Havemeyer Madison Avenue (New York City) residence around 1916 by Stephen Birch, who later owned the Mahwah property. The iconic Arch is the site of numerous campus events, including the traditional Arching ceremonies to welcome students to campus and signify their completion of studies before Commencement activities.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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