This is the third spring that Rutherfurd Hall is running the Historic Allamuchy Bus Tours. The idea was created by Laurie Rapisardi who is the Executive Director of Rutherfurd Hall along with
Joan Salvas, (Historian of Rutherfurd Hall and Friends of Rutherford Hall member), Charlie Fineran (member Historical Society of Allamuchy, and of the Friends of Rutherfurd Hall and the Rutherfurd Hall Foundation), and Bob Sydrock (President of the Friends of Rutherford Hall, a Docent and a Rutherford Hall Foundation Member).
Together they came up with the idea to have one of the Allamuchy District school buses take a group to a series of historic locations in the Allamuchy area that would highlight the many connections between Rutherford Hall and the other historic locations in Allamuchy. Rutherford Hall is also home to the Mountain Villa School which is an elementary school and part of the Allamuchy School District.
“This is one of my most treasured things we do here at Rutherfurd Hall,” said Executive Director Rapisardi. “There is so much rich history connected with Rutherfurd Hall.”
The bus tour starts at Rutherfurd Hall and makes five stops on the 1 ¼ hour tour. Participants are welcomed upon arrival and are given a color brochure to follow along as the docent guides the tour.
The Tranquility Cemetery is one of the stops along the way. The Rutherfurd family continues to bury their family members who have passed on in the family plot located in the cemetery and many people connected to the Rutherfurd estate are also laid to rest there.
Another stop on the tour is the Allamuchy Freight House which served the community from 1906-1957. It was built by the Lehigh and Hudson River railway company. There used to be a series of facilities on site for passengers as well as those used for moving livestock and freight.
Another interesting stop is the site of the Stuyvesant Estate. In 1758 it was acquired by Walter Rutherfurd through his marriage to Catherine Alexander Parker. It passed through by inheritance from Rutherfurd to Rutherfurd until it was bought out by a relative Rutherfurd Stuyvesant. It then became a grand estate with a 65 room mansion and extensive grounds encompassing over 500 acres. Unfortunately, the mansion burnt down over 50 years ago, but the connection between the Rutherfurd and Stuyvesant families makes the site of great historical interest.
The bus tours were originally scheduled to run just once in the spring and once in the fall. Due to the increased public interest however, the number of tours was expanded to two each season. Now in its third year, the bus tour program is still expanding with tours being offered on three Wednesdays in May. The first two tours sold out within a few days and the last tour in May is scheduled for the 29th from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 each and can be reserved through Rutherfurd Hall. The hall is also open on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. for tours. Many participants in the bus tour then continue their education in Allamuchy history by taking a guided tour of the hall in the afternoon. The tickets for the tour of Rutherford Hall are only $5.
Executive Director Rapisardi is looking forward to continuing this educational and very interesting program in the fall. In the meantime however, there are a variety of historical, cultural, and health focused events taking place every week during the spring and summer at Rutherfurd Hall. Details about the bus tour and other events are available on the website, www.Rutherfurdhall.org.