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Wortendyke Barn

Barn DoorResting like a jewel is suburban New Jersey is the Wortendyke Barn Museum, a National Register landmark that is all that remains of the original 460-acre Wortendyke Farm. The barn, like many others of this old Dutch barn type, could be found throughout 18th and 19th century Bergen County. Today there are only a few example of this kind of barn left.

The main feature of the museum is the barn building, an outstanding example of the vernacular architecture referred to as a "New World Dutch Barn." They were made completely of local wood, down to the nails called trunnels. Massive anchor beams, supported by posts creating an H-frame, support the entire structure.

Barn ExhibitThese barns tended to be wider than long with very steep, sloping roofs that allowed for the large storage area. They were built to store diversified crops with the side bays used for keeping a variety of animals and the hay stored in very large, roomy haylofts. The large entrances on both gable ends allowed for the efficient unloading of the wagons. Because the floors were raised off the ground on a sill, the wood plank floors could last for decades.

Barn Interior DisplayThe Wortendyke Barn Museum's exhibits include the history of the Wortendyke family farm, handmade 18th and 19th century farm implements and tools, and exhibits showing the agricultural history of Bergen County from the first settlers through the end of the 20th century.

The Wortendyke family settled in this area in 1735. From 1735 to 1851, when the farm was sold, the land was maintained by the family as a working farm for over 115 years from before the French and Indian War until nine years before the start of the Civil War. After 1851 the land was sold several times but the barn remained in use as a barn until well into the 20th century. After restoration was completed, Bergen County opened the barn in 1997 as a museum and county historic site.

250th AnniversaryIn 2006 scientists from the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory's Tree-Ring Laboratory took samples of the original supporting beams. Analysis proved that the trees were cut down during the 1759-growing season. Therefore it is believed that the barn was erected in 1760.

The Barn is open to the public Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. It is fully accessible and free to the public.
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