Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Bordentown in Burlington County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Point Breeze

Estate of Joseph Bonaparte (1768-1844)

 

— Delaware River Heritage Trail —

 
Point Breeze Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 14, 2020
1. Point Breeze Marker
Inscription.  
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
Point Breeze Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 14, 2020
2. Point Breeze Marker
boats.

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
Louis Mailliard banner on display in Bordentown image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 14, 2020
3. Louis Mailliard banner on display in Bordentown
Faithful secretary, confidante, and "right hand" to Joseph Bonaparte for 36 years, he fled with him to the United States and settled at the Point Breeze estate in Bordentown. Before Bonaparte passed away in Italy in 1844, he made Louis the executor of Point Breeze. He was also instrumental in getting Joseph's remains moved from Italy to France in 1862.
in the 1980s. The property is now owned by a Catholic missionary order. Only one building remains from the Bonaparte era. Point Breeze is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureSettlements & SettlersWars, 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
 
Joseph Bonaparte banner on display in Bordentown image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 14, 2020
4. Joseph Bonaparte banner on display in Bordentown
Elder brother of Napoleon, and exiled King of Spain and Naples, Joseph Bonaparte settled in Bordentown in 1816 where he purchased land overlooking the Delaware River and Crosswick Creek. In 1820 his original mansion was destroyed by a fire and rebuilt in even grander fashion. His estate at Point Breeze was a destination for famed domestic and international dignitaries. It was home to the largest library and art collection in the newly founded United States. While spending more than 20 years in Bordentown, his home was said to be the most impressive house in the United STates after the White House.
Charles-Lucien Bonaparte banner on display in Bordentown image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 14, 2020
5. Charles-Lucien Bonaparte banner on display in Bordentown
As a budding naturalist, he and his wife, Zenaide, came to live at Point Breeze with his uncle Joseph Bonaparte in 1823. During their residency in the Lake House, he compiled lists of almost all flora and fauna he observed on the estate. He was a contemporary of John J. Audubon, and wrote the country's second book on ornithology. Leaving for Europe in 1826, Charles-LUcien earned the title, Father of Descriptive Ornithology.
 
 
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.
Paid Advertisement
Mar. 3, 2021