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.  

2019 Events

September 25

The Delaware River, as the song says, is deep and wide and Pennsylvania is on the other side, but it wasn’t always that way, as guests will learn Sept. 25 at the next Shipman Mansion Foundation lecture at the Red Dragon Canoe Club in Edgewater Park.

Geologist Pierre Lacombe will unveil the history of our favorite river, going 20 million years back and, for more recent comparisons, 100 years.

Then, in 1919, the river was 15 to 20 feet deep. Its flow “was at the whim of the seasons, and islands of feces floated down the river.”

Today, with dredging, the river is, in its shipping channel, more than 40 feet deep. Lacombe, who is retired from the U.S. Geologic Survey, will explain how the Delaware’s flow is now regulated and will delve into the renewed cleanliness of the currents, which now permit the migration of diadromous fish to their spawning grounds.

Lacombe’s talk will benefit from the assist of Red Dragon member Bill Matulewicz and will begin at 7 p.m. at the Red Dragon, 221 Edgewater Avenue. Lacombe has, for the past 35 years, investigated the geology and hydrology of New Jersey and has authored several technical reports on the topic.

Lacombe’s program is the first in the fall series of lectures, presented free to the public, by the Shipman Mansion Foundation, a charitable non-profit created to fund the restoration of the 1869 mansion and to research, preserve and present to the public the cultural, architectural and maritime heritage of the Edgewater Park area.

October 23

The history of a place can be traced through its artifacts. On Wednesday, October 23, the history of the Delaware River will be revealed through the story of one of its long-lost sailboats, the Corinthian One Design, in a program that begins at 7 p.m. in the Shipman Mansion, 221 Edgewater Avenue, Edgewater Park, N.J.

John Brady, president and chief executive of Philadelphia’s Independence Seaport Museum, is overseeing the reclamation of two Corinthian sloops. His talk, free to the public and presented by the non-profit Shipman Mansion Foundation, is informed by his knowledge both of the sloop and of the history of the river on which she was designed to sail.

Corinthian sloops were commissioned in 1949 by the Corinthian Yacht Club in celebration of the peace following World War II and environmental efforts at the time to clean the nearby Schuylkill River of a century of accumulated coal dust. Eight of the 23-foot wooden boats were built in Holland and brought to the Delaware River to race near Tinicum Island, just south of what is now Philadelphia International Airport.

Brady’s talk will delve into the design of the boats and the environmental deficiencies in the Delaware that would shape the history of Corinthian sloop competition and river restoration.

The program, the second in the autumn 2019 series, is offered by the tax-exempt Shipman Mansion Foundation in the furtherance of its mission: the  restoration of the 1869 mansion – home to the Red Dragon Canoe Club – as well as the examination, preservation and presentation to the public of the architectural, cultural and maritime heritage of Edgewater Park and its environs.

November 13 - TBD





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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.

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