Tise Tavern, one of the oldest properties in Jersey City, dates back to the Town of Bergen. The tavern's ownership of the lot may be traced to Peter Stuyvesant (not the Dutch Director-General), born in Bergen in 1735. He built the Stuyvesant Tavern, later renamed the Eagle Tavern. The cornerstone of the building was engraved with Stuyvesant's initials "P.S. 1762 Anno."
Stuyvesant owned the stage line from Paulus Hook (corner of Grand and Hudson streets) to Brown's Ferry at the foot of Communipaw Avenue on the Hackensack River. From here, passengers took ferries to Newark. At the time, local taverns served as community centers, resorts for travelers, and post offices. The Eagle Tavern on the Post Road offered guests accommodation as they traveled from Philadelphia through Bergen to New York via Paulus Hook. The Freeholders of the Town of Bergen used it as a polling place for annual elections, one of two in North Hudson.
On June 7, 1815, George Tise of Ringwood, NJ, purchased the property for $1,300 from John M. and Mary Riker of New York and renamed the tavern for himself. In 1829, Tise razed the Eagle Tavern. He then constructed a new and larger tavern, used building materials from the Eagle Tavern, and placed the old cornerstone in the tavern's rear wall.
Many stories about the Eagle and Tise taverns as popular gathering places have been repeated. It is said that during the Revolutionary War, Generals George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette went there after meeting at the Van Wagenen (Apple Tree) house nearby. The Old Bergen (former Dutch Reformed) Church, then at the southwest corner of Bergen and Highland avenues, was a short distance from the tavern. Members of the congregation who traveled from a distance stayed overnight at the Eagle Tavern during the winter months.
Local historian J. Owen Grundy reports that Harriet Phillips Eaton, author of Jersey City and Its Historic Sites, is the only writer who claims that George Washington slept at the Stuyvesant Tavern. Grundy concedes, however, that Eaton wrote her history of Jersey City with the assistance of Cornelius C. Van Reypen, whose family homestead at the corner of Academy and Van Reypen streets was near the tavern. Eaton remarks that the Tise Tavern was noted for its food attracting patrons who traveled to dine there: "Fricasseed snapping turtle and roast pig were among the choice dishes. The barns and sheds were on what is now the opposite corner of Glenwood Avenue, and here, the people who came from a distance put up their teams during the Sunday service" (139).
During the War of 1812, soldiers performed their training drills on the grounds of what became the Fourth Regiment Army. Afterward, their officers reportedly ate at the tavern. The orchard behind Tise Tavern, it is said, was also used during the Civil War, and soldiers sought rest and refreshment inside the tavern's walls. Another claim is that liquor was "never" served on the Sabbath.
The tavern was later sold to George Percy, who renovated it as his residence. The building fell into disrepair around the turn of the twentieth century. In 1918, it was condemned for demolition by the wishes of its owner and neighbor, Mary B. Winner. The Historical Society of Hudson County and the local chapters of Daughters of the American Revolution and Daughters of 1812 attempted to save the tavern calling for it to be relocated to West Side (now Lincoln) Park.
Although the house did not survive, the cornerstone of the tavern was preserved and included in the collection of the Jersey City Museum. Jersey City photographer Theodore Gubelmann took the tavern's picture in 1902. He commissioned the artist Charles Grunwald for an oil painting of the tavern as it would have appeared as a stagecoach inn during the Revolutionary War era.
"The Eagle Tavern." The New Jersey Title Guarantee and Trust Company, n.d., n.pag.
Eaton, Harriet Phillips. Jersey City and Its Historic Sites. Jersey City, NJ: Woman's Club of Jersey City, 1899.
Grundy, J. Owen. "Eagle-Tise Inn Was a Hudson Landmark." Jersey Journal 27 July 1972.
"Historic Tavern Goes to House Wreckers." Jersey Journal 15 April 1918.
Smith, Persis. "Looking Backward at Tise's Tavern." Jersey Journal 21 February 1934.
"Tise Tavern Cornerstone." Jersey Journal 10 June 1918.
Winfield, Charles H. History of the Land Titles of County of Hudson, NJ. New York: Wynkoop & Hallenbeck, 1872.