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Barrow Mansion: Barrow Mansion

Barrow Mansion - Images

Barrow Mansion

Barrow Mansion
Photo: A. Selvaggio, 2002

Early 20th century photograph of Wayne Street showing (left to right) the Barrow Mansion, St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, and the Van Vorst (Benjamin Edge) Mansion Courtesy: Jersey City Free Public Library

Barrow Mansion and St. Matthews Lutheran Church

Barrow Mansion

Barrow Mansion
Photo: P. Shalhoub, 2001

Barrow Mansion

Detail of an Ionic Column on the front porch of the Barrow Mansion
Photo: A. Selvaggio, 2002

Map detail from 1873


Detail from Hudson County Atlas 1873
showing the outline of the Van Vorst and Barrow Mansions on the south side of Wayne Street. According to the map, in 1873 the Barrow Mansion property was owned by Susan Paulmier.Van Vorst Park can be seen on the left.

Credits: New York Society of Model Engineer's Library, Ralph Sutton Collection and Historical Maps of New Jersey site of Rutgers University
 

Map detail from 1919

Detail from the 1919 Plat Book of Jersey City showing the buildings then in existence on the south side of Wayne Street between Jersey Avenue and Barrow Street. The Barrow Mansion at No. 83 has been remodeled as the headquarters of the Young Men's Lutheran Association.The old Van Vorst Mansion at No. 89 was later replaced by the new Wayne Court Apartments before 1928.

Credits: New York Society of Model Engineer's Library, Rich Taylor Collection and Historical Maps of New Jersey site of Rutgers University

Location: Barrow Mansion

Barrow Mansion

Barrow Mansion / Ionic House
83 Wayne Street between Barrow Street and Jersey Avenue

Van Vorst Historic District
National Register of Historic Places
New Jersey Register of Historic Places

A stately wood Greek Revival-style building, Barrow Mansion, or Ionic House, is a reminder of mid-nineteenth-century classical architecture. Five Ionic columns grace a two-story portico. The columns divide the building into four equal bays with an offset center hall. The interior retains some Victorian décor, a ballroom, carved Italian marble fireplaces, and twelve-foot ceilings.

Dr. William Barrow, a New York City physician, purchased one of two similar houses constructed by the second Cornelius Van Vorst on Wayne Street. Van Vorst was one of the founders of the Township of Van Vorst and mayor of Jersey City (1860-to-1861),Dr. Barrow purchased the mansion at 83 Wayne Street after he married Van Vorst's sister Eliza. Van Vorst resided at 89 Wayne Street. The twin mansions were separated by a lawn near a Van Vorst farmhouse. In 1874, Van Vorst sold his home to Dr. Benjamin Edge, a descendent of one of Jersey City's early businessmen, Isaac Edge. The Van Vorst mansion was razed in the 1920s and replaced by an apartment house.

After the death of Barrow and his wife, the YMCA purchased the mansion in 1890. It was modified with a gymnasium and rifle range. In 1897, St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church purchased it as a parish house. The pistol range in the basement was converted into a two-lane bowling alley. In 1898, a church for St. Matthew's was built on the lawn between the Barrow and Van Vorst mansions. The church flourished until the 1920s. The parish house became the Barrow Mansion--a social center with dances in the ballroom, card parties, and bazaars for the parishioners' leisure-time activities. 

For years, the Barrow Mansion suffered from neglect. St. Matthew's congregation then successfully applied for its placement on the state and national registers of historic places. The Barrow Mansion Development Corporation, founded in 1984, has received grants from the New Jersey Historic Trust in 1992 and 1995, and other grantors, for building restoration.

The mansion is used as a community center, the resident theater company Attic Ensemble, and meetings of the Van Vorst Park Neighborhood Association.

Barrow Mansion References

Lynwander, Linda. "Restoring a Mansion in Hopes of Higher Rents." New York Times 24 July 1994.
National Register of Historic Places Inventory. "Ionic House." 1977. Joan D. Lovero Collection, New Jersey Room, Jersey City Free Public Library.
Mansion Development Corporation. "Fact Sheet." April 1993. Joan D. Lovero Collection, New Jersey Room, Jersey City Free Public Library.