The Van Wagenen House, informally known as The Apple Tree House, is located at 298 Academy Street in Jersey City. Throughout the year, free lectures and special events are held at the house, and weekly tours are open to the public every Wednesday. Be sure to follow The Apple Tree House on Facebook for additional information on all special events and Apple Tree House updates.

Upcoming Lectures & Special Events:

**All of our events are uploaded to the Cultural Affairs event calendar, as well as on the Apple Tree House Facebook event page. Within these pages, you will find an Eventbrite link to sign-up in advance, or you can call (201) 547-6921. 

  •  Thursday October 25, 2018, 7:00 – 9:00 pm: Washington Irving & The Legend of Jersey City (Lecture Series)
  •  Thursday, November 8, 2018, 7:00 – 9:00 pm: The Black Tom Explosion: Sabotage in Jersey City (Lecture Series)

All events at The Apple Tree House are free and open to the public and in collaboration with the City of Jersey City. Because space is limited, advanced registration is required for ALL events. Weekly tours of the house run every Wednesday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Contact Charles Bowles at, or call (201) 547-6921 to schedule an appointment.

Brief History & Timeline:
  • 1660: the Village of Bergen was founded, becoming one of the earliest Dutch settlements in New Jersey. In years to follow, the Dutch continued to share the area with members of the Lenni Lenape Indians
  • 1688: Gerrit Gerritsen purchased the land where the Apple Tree House stands today. Gerritsen’s children changed their last name to Van Wagenen shortly thereafter
  • Between 1710 – 1721: the oldest part of the house was built, and likely included a storage cellar, large hearth and small attic
  • 1842: the single-room house was extended to the east, which created the main hall, parlor, second floor bedrooms and attic space in a Greek revival-style fashion
  • 1860: the second floor of the western end of the house was added and constructed in brick, which makes it easy to spot today
  • 1947: Funeral Director Lawrence G. Quinn purchased the house from the Van Wagenen family, becoming the second-ever owner
  • Early 1980’s: The Quinn family opened the Quinn Funeral Home, which operated through the 80’s, and was the funeral site of many Jersey City officials and community members, including former Mayor Frank Hague and J. Owen Grundy
  • 1999: the City of Jersey City purchased the property, including the house
  • 2002: renovation and restoration plans begin
  • 2006: the house is placed on the State and National Resisters of Historic Places
  • November 2017: the house reopens to the public

Past Lectures:

Missed a lecture? Attended a previous lecture but would like to see it again? No problem! All of the lectures hosted at the house are filmed and uploaded to the website and The Apple Tree House Facebook page. Click through the videos below, courtesy of Jersey City TV:

February 2, 2018: Springsteen & His Layered Lyrics

About: Bruce Springsteen expects attentiveness of his listeners. How do we know this? Over the past 50 years, Springsteen has written songs and created music that have been experienced by countless fans. But many don’t know the extent to which his work has been influenced by the American folk tradition. Through experimental reinterpretation and the creation of new traditions, The Boss has worked within known folk traditions, but at the same time, created new sounds and messages. In this session, participants can learn about some of the works that have influenced one of Jersey’s most celebrated musical artists.


March 22, 2018: Learning New Jersey One Building at a Time

About: the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy and the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs presented the lecture “Learning New Jersey…One Building at a Time” with Gabrielle Esperdy at the historic Apple Tree House. The lecture focused on the aesthetics, cultural and economic perspectives, and values and meaning behind New Jersey’s ever-changing landscape.


March 28, 2018: Peace Be Still: Marching in the Footsteps of the Drum Major

About: commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic 1968 speech at Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church in Jersey City, St. Peter’s University Professor of History Dr. John Wesley Johnson delivers a lecture reflecting on the impact of King’s visit to Jersey City, his role within the Civil Rights Movement in the North, the Poor People’s Campaign, and the lasting effects of King’s legacy within our community.


April 24, 2018: A Geographers View of Jersey City

About: using old maps, presenter Luke Schray will show how specific places in Jersey City and Hudson County reveal clues to the forces that shaped them and the land features that have disappeared or are difficult to discern after centuries of human intervention. The talk will cover the surprising ways in which landmarks, ranging from Dickinson High School to the Embankment structure to McGinley Square, call our attention to episodes of change that shaped not only Jersey City but also the United States and the earth itself.

Stay tuned! We have a few more videos on the following lectures to come: Battle of Paulus Hook: Jersey City in the American Revolution (8/14/18), The Lenape Indians: Jersey City’s Original Inhabitants (9/13/18), Dempsey V. Carpentier: Jersey City’s Million Dollar Fight (9/25/18), World War One Poetry & Prose (10/10/18)