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Bergen County Town Divided Over Historic Mansion Tied To Slavery

The Captain William Tyson House in Rochelle Park has the township divided.
The Captain William Tyson House in Rochelle Park has the township divided. Photo Credit: Friends of the Captain William Tyson House

Recent discoveries connecting the 19th-century Captain William Tyson House in Rochelle Park to slave trafficking have taxpayers fuming over the already controversial historic home.

Others, however, are on a mission to save the East Passaic Street house before it hits the auction block.

The mansion was purchased in June 2015 for $600,000 from the Rochelle Park surplus account while Republicans ran the government.

The house to moved closer to auction at Wednesday night's council meeting with the minimum bid at $650,000.

While more than 800 people want to preserve the historic home, others worry that their tax dollars are going down the drain -- especially now given the following recent discovery:

Resident Bob Hanes was "horrified" when he discovered an article from the Friends' Review (1851) citing the arrest of Captain Tyson's for trafficking 650 slaves to Cuba, NJ.com says.

"It has always been about the taxpayer dollar for me," Committeewoman Linda Boniface (D) said in the article.

"This is going to be too much to spend (for upkeep) for the taxpayers of Rochelle Park."

The township has spent nearly $160,000 on repairs and renovations to the house, but Boniface worries that this is only the beginning -- saying in the article it has been neglected for years.

"If there is any chance of saving this house we must have a show of strength at this Wednesday’s Township Committee meeting," residents said on a Facebook group for the home.

"This is likely to be the last chance - they are moving at breakneck speed to sell our only historic architecture."

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