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221 Edgewater Avenue Edgewater Park, NJ 08010 Phone: 609-387-9847

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The Shipman Mansion is open for tours on the first weekend of the month during April - November from 1-4 on Saturday and Sundays.  For appointments at other times, please call 856-986-7969. 

The Shipman Mansion is located at 221 Edgewater Avenue in Edgewater Park, NJ.  

 NOTICE - DUE TO ONGOING RESTORATION, THERE WILL NOT BE AN OPEN HOUSE IN APRIL.  THE FIRST OPEN HOUSE IN 2019 WILL BE ON MAY 4.

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2019 EVENTS

April 24, 2019 - 7 pm  Lecture by Dan Cashin  (tours start at 6 pm) - 

Most of them have disappeared, but at one time the shipyards along the Delaware River clanged, boomed, hissed and whistled with the labor of thousands of `workers whose efforts produced commercial and naval vessels that circled the world and were victorious in far-flung engagements.

Dan Cashin, a shipyard rigger (explanation to follow) with a passion for those long-lost yards, resurrects them at 7 p.m. on April 24 at the Shipman Mansion, 221 Edgewater Park in his program Shipyards of the Delaware River. The program, which is free to the public, is presented by the charitable non-profit Shipman Mansion Foundation.

Dan trained and worked for 53 years at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and its successor, Aker Philly Shipyard, as a rigger. His job involved moving heavy objects during ship construction, “sort of like the guys who built the pyramids or erected Stonehenge,” he explains.

His talk will be illustrated by pictures of the famous ships built in yards along the Delaware River, including the U.S. Navy’s heavy cruiser Indianapolis, sunk by Japanese torpedoes  in 1945 with the loss of 880 crewmembers in the shark-infested Pacific, and the battleship New Jersey, now moored on the Camden waterfront, as well as numerous historic freighters.

Dan has stories as well of the workers who punched their time cards at those long lost yards, including Wendy the Welder, the Navy’s version of Rosie the Riveter, women who went to work during World War II. Most of the female shipyard workers were welders, Dan says.

Doors open at the Shipman Mansion at 6 p.m. for free tours.

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The Shipman Mansion Foundation is dedicated to the research and preservation of the architectural, maritime, and cultural history of the Shipman Mansion for the purpose of sharing with, and enhancing the community’s understanding of the diverse history of the area.

The Shipman Mansion, a Second Empire style home, was built around 1869 on the banks of the Delaware River.   It is listed on the New Jersey and federal registers of Historic Places. The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) corporation, is dedicated to educating the public on the architectural, cultural and waterfront history of the Mansion property and surrounding region.

The Shipman Mansion is described in its National Register form as an “exquisite” and “majestic” example of Second Empire freestanding dwelling. The structure exhibits an `L' floor plan, three bays wide on all four sides of the main block, with a kitchen ell of the southeast corner that adds three bays to the east and west elevations.  The main block supports an excellent example of a slightly sloping mansard roof with a short convex curve to the roof edge. Square, fishtail and hexagonal-shaped slates were used for patterned decorative effect to the roof.  Red slate rosettes adorn the roof between the dormers. The kitchen ell features a low mansard to gambrel roof. A pentagonal stair tower is featured on the east façade, and extends the full height of the building. The stair tower roof has as many facets as the tower below, five slopes and one connecting to the house.  The original two-over-two windows on each retain their original shutters with curved tops, to match the arch in the window heads. The front porch, which spans the two western bays of the north façade, provides an ample vantage point from which to view the Delaware River.

Before moving to the Delaware Valley, Paul Shipman had been associate editor of Kentucky's Louisville Journal and was credited, in about 1860, with writing editorials that kept Kentucky neutral during the Civil War. Alice Shipman was the daughter of Col. W.H. Davidson, a wealthy banker who had business in Kentucky and Illinois; she was also an intimate acquaintance of Mary Todd Lincoln. The Shipmans moved into their new home overlooking the Delaware River in about 1871 upon their return from a two-year tour of Europe. Paul Shipman spent his time at the mansion writing articles for various national magazines. 

Paul and Alice lived in their home until their deaths, two weeks apart, in 1917. The house remained unsold until 1923/1924, when the Red Dragon Canoe Club bought the property as a new clubhouse. One of the oldest surviving active canoe clubs on the Delaware River, the Red Dragon Canoe Club was formed in 1887 in Camden, N.J., and absorbed the Keystone Canoe Club, wich was formed in 1883. After two Camden clubhouses were destroyed by fire, the club moved across the Delaware River, first to Bridesburg and then to Wissinoming, where members rented a mansion and had cottages along the riverbank.  A search committee was formed around the time the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge was being proposed to go through the club property, and in 1922, the committee found the vacant Shipman Mansion in Edgewater Park, N.J. Even as the sale was being negotiated, the club moved into the mansion, and a year later bought the mansion and 4 acres for $8,000. 

During its early years, the club had been known for its members who raced canoes and made hunting and fishing expeditions in the North Woods. Upon its arrival in Edgewater Park, the club evolved into a sailing organization. Its members held regattas, spectacles that filled the river with the white, triangular canvas of scores of small racing sailboats. Several Red Dragon members became national and world champion small boat sailors.

 Contact us at shipmanmansionfoundation@gmail.com