Bordentown in Burlington County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Estate of Joseph Bonaparte (1768-1844)
— Delaware River Heritage Trail —
The land at the confluence of Crosswicks Creek and the Delaware River was once part of a vast estate created by Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother of Napoleon. During Napoleon's brief reign as Emperor of France, Joseph was appointed King of Naples and then King of Spain. After Napoleon's final defeat by the English, Joseph Bonaparte left Europe. In 1816 he purchased a large tract known as Point Breeze at the edge of the village of Bordentown. The Bordentown location afforded easy river access to Philadelphia and proximity to major roads. Over the next twenty years, the estate grew to more than 1,800 acres with a mile of frontage along Crosswicks Creek.
Bonaparte had a keen interest in garden design and transformed his property into one of America's first "romantic" gardens in the French style. This picturesque style of landscape skillfully blended natural and manmade features to create pleasing vistas. Twelve miles of bridle trails and carriage drives crisscrossed the native forest. Visitors were dazzled by the artfully placed statuary, gazebos, deer preserve, aviary, and large manmade lake with swans, landscaped islands, and fanciful
Bonaparte built a spacious, magnificently decorated home on a promontory with panoramic views of Crosswicks Creek and the Delaware River. The mansion contained the country's finest collection of European art and the largest private library. Bonaparte entertained a steady stream of visitors including many artists, who came to admire his home, art collections and gardens. The estate included auxiliary buildings and housing for servants, farmers and gardeners. Bonaparte built a three-story lake house for his younger daughter, Princess Zénaïde and her husband Prince Charles-Lucien Bonaparte, an accomplished ornithologist and naturalist.
The property was known locally as Bonaparte's Park, when fire engulfed the mansion in 1820, nearly all the contents were saved by townspeople who came to help. Bonaparte built his second manor house nearer the turnpike to New York, or today's Park Street. Bonaparte's dream landscape was short lived; he returned to Europe in 1839 and died in Italy in 1844. He is buried in Napoleon's magnificent tomb at Les Invalides in Paris.
He bequeathed Point Breeze to his grandson, who sold the estate's lands and furnished in 1874. The new owner demolished Bonaparte's manor house and in 1850 built a new home in the fashionable Italianate style. This house lavishly remodeled in the early twentieth century, was destroyed by fire
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Settlements & Settlers • Wars, Non-US.
Location. 40° 8.839′ N, 74° 43.027′ W. Marker is in Bordentown, New Jersey, in Burlington County. Marker is on West Park Street 0.1 miles west of Prince Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bordentown NJ 08505, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Delaware: A National Treasure (within shouting distance of this marker); 19th Century Railroading in Bordentown (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); An Early Transportation Hub (about 600 feet away); Thomas Paine Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); British Raid on Crosswicks Creek (approx. 0.2 miles away); Wright House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Patience Lovell Wright (approx. 0.2 miles away); Home of Patience Lovell Wright (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bordentown.
Additional keywords. the Napoleonic Wars, French Revolution
Credits. This page was last revised on November 16, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 15, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 59 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 15, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 16, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.