The Association’s History

  • History was made on Sept. 20, 2015
    History was made on Sept. 20, 2015
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  • Tours, a gift shop, group speaking engagements, special events, it's all happening at 207 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, NJ

The Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association was incorporated in 1913 as a non-profit organization, particularly “to honor and perpetuate the memory of Grover Cleveland.”

No longer owner of the site, the GCBMA is currently working in full cooperation with the state as a voluntary auxiliary. The GCBMA is an officially recognized Friends Organization. In 1990 the Mayor of Caldwell appointed a liaison with the birthplace, a GCBMA trustee, thus providing direct contact with the Borough.

The Association strives to promote greater interest and use of this national historic site by a wider audience of the general public, including presidential “buffs” and scholars.

The house and grounds are interpreted to represent the Caldwell minister’s home (manse) in a small New Jersey town around 1840. The collection includes objects here at the time of Cleveland’s birth: the majority are from his later family life and distinguished public career. These objects in this setting promote the study of history, citizenship, public service, and how someone born in humble beginnings could become one of our country’s greatest presidents.

History

1832     A two-and-a-half story house built on the north side of Newark Turnpike by the First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell, as a manse for its minister. Rev. Richard Falley Cleveland and Ann Neal Cleveland were in residence when their fifth child was born on March 18, 1837. He was named for the Church’s first minister, Stephen Grover. The House and barn were enlarged and “modernized” during ensuing years.

1902     The Church begins negotiations for sale of the property at $18,000, to be used only as a memorial to Grover Cleveland.

1907     A Committee of friends installs a bronze tablet in the room where Grover Cleveland was born. The 70-year-old ex-president wrote that he was profoundly moved by the event.

1913     The Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association was incorporated with four officers and 39 trustees, prominent citizens from throughout the country. The Association purchased the house and lot, plus a lot along Arlington Avenue

1933     The GCBMA experienced financial difficulties during the Great Depression. The State of New Jersey assumed ownership. Twenty trustees were appointed by Governor Moore.

1936     The House was restored to its 1870 appearance under a WPA program. Placed under Bureau of Historical Monuments: subsequently under Dept. of Environmental Protection and Energy, Division of Parks and Forestry. The house is listed on both the National and New Jersey Register of Historic Places.

1986     The GCBMA was reactivated for the Sesquicentennial of Grover Cleveland’s Birth (1987).

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