By: Mariah Diaz – Web Editor
Snuggled behind academic buildings and overlooking the trees of the William Paterson University campus sits the extraordinary little mansion that holds 140 years of history within its walls.
Chandeliers hang and glimmer from ceilings in the mansion, so bright it lights up the whole room. There are many picture frames on the walls, with eyes that stare as visitors walk by.
The eyes belong to the family members of former Vice President of the United States Garret A. Hobart who served under President McKinley from 1897 to 1899. The family of Vice President Hobart used to live in the mansion before the estate became a university.
Hobart Manor is now home to President Waldron’s office and important university gatherings. However, some argue that past residents of the Hobart family still linger.
There are many tales about the ghost of Hobart detailing tragic accidents, like one of Hobart’s nannies who mysteriously fell down the elevator shaft to her death. But Director of Special Events and Department Lead for the Hobart Manor Revitalization Committee Meredith McCarthy who’s worked in Hobart Manor for three years claims to know the truth behind the manor walls.
The ghost of Hobart was a young servant girl named Mary who most likely died of influenza in her bed, McCarthy said. “Everyone that has seen her has said she is beautiful and peaceful, just as she was said to have been in life.”
Although McCarthy has not seen Mary herself, she admitted to getting “weird sensations” while working alone in the building.
“I have been in the Manor late, by myself, and have felt a cold brush against the back of my neck, enough to make me pack up for the evening and go home,” she said. “There are plenty of people on campus who have seen the ghost, though.”
Ghost hunters have even investigated the building and its paranormal activity in search of Mary. But she may not roam the hallways of Hobart alone.
Both Hobart’s wife and his son Hobart Jr. died in the manor after living there for many years. Their deaths were only months apart: his wife having died in January and his son in September 1941.
Vice president Hobart, however, died in 1899 before his family bought the estate and never lived in the manor himself.
To find more information about the history of Hobart Manor and to see a digital tour of the mansion visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDud02B4aC4