Richard Nixon’s New Jersey Residence

The ascendancy and presidency of Richard Milhous Nixon has been thoroughly considered by historians.  Before his inauguration as the 37th President on January 20, 1969, Nixon served as a member in the House of Representatives and Senate for six years prior to becoming Vice President for two terms under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  His political career which spanned nearly three decades is considerably better known than his post-presidency epoch that was initiated following his historic resignation from the office of President of the United States on August 9, 1974.  In the years subsequent to serving in the United States government’s paramount position, the former President and his wife, Pat, established a connection to the Garden State.  They eventually became residents of New Jersey following a brief two year stay living in Manhattan.[1]

The aging former President and First Lady yearned to be closer to their children and grandchildren.  This desire led them to sell their San Clemente household along the coastline of southern California and move across the country to the east coast.  The Nixon’s craving for seclusion and tranquility eventually led the couple to moving into a new modern Saddle River home in northern Bergen County in 1981.  The small and friendly community proved to be an ideal location for the Nixons to settle in their retirement.  The peaceful suburban composition of the northern New Jersey woodland landscape afforded the disgraced former President with the surroundings he required in order to initiate a resurrection of his ailing reputation with the American people.[2]

Richard and Pat Nixon resided in their contemporary home for a decade.  Descriptions of their ten year stay in the community create the impression of being replete with pleasant memories filled with visits from children and grandchildren.[3] The former President took advantage of his free time to author a multitude of books providing a defensive argument for his foreign policy decisions.[4] His time in Saddle River is noteworthy in presidential history because in 1985 Nixon became the only former President in American history to forfeit his entitlement to lifetime Secret Service protection.[5] While Pat remained laid-back and low-key while living in New Jersey, her husband appears to have been an entertaining and jovial host. “Nixon always greets his guests at the door.  The evening begins with drinks, mixed by the host himself, and a tour of the house.  Dinner is usually Chinese, and the conversation often tends towards the bawdy.”[6]

As the Nixons entered their late seventies and their health began to deteriorate, the couple moved out of the Saddle River residence and into a condominium offering a more exclusive life close by in Park Ridge, New Jersey.  In April 1994, almost a year following the passing of his wife, Richard Nixon suffered a stroke while at his Park Ridge home.  He was transported to a Manhattan hospital where the former President died four days later.[7]

The Saddle River home was sold to a Japanese family who did not reside in the house.  Instead, the structure was fated to fall into disrepair and became filled with mold.  In 2006 the house was purchased by a Bergen County developer who is an admirer of the 37th President.  Several items from the home have been successfully removed and relocated to a local historical society.  These items include the security system used while Nixon lived there in addition to a security station utilized by the Secret Service while they were assigned to protect the former President.[8] Currently, the street with President Nixon’s former home remains in a peaceful part of town.  Just a few blocks away are several bustling higher retail stores, but the overall character of the neighborhood still reflects the tranquility known to Nixon and his family.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

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7 Responses to Richard Nixon’s New Jersey Residence

  1. Pingback: Michael R. Freimuth - Digital History

  2. I hadn’t realized that at one point Nixon had lived just around the corner from me. Thank you for the valuable information!

  3. dfreeman82 says:

    To me Nixon has always been an interesting President to study outside of the big scandal. I had no idea that he resided in NJ for his retirement years. I guess Florida just didn’t suit Nixon’s style. It was interesting to find out from your post that Nixon gave up his secret service protection. I could never imagine that happening today. Great Post!

  4. I think it is sad that the home was abused after his death. People often say he was forced to leave office. This is in correct. As President Clinton showed impeachment does not equal removal from office. President Nixon made a mistake, basically lying to the American public. Again, President Clinton demonstrated that lying to the American public, even shaking your finger while doing it, is acceptable behavior. President Nixon chose to resign to save America from additional decisiveness. Few remember that America during President Nixon’s terms was in a state of unAmericanism as only experienced during the Civil War. Flags were being burned. Individual fled the country illegally to avoid the draft. Riots on college campuses were so intense that students were killed. Soldiers returning from war were spat on. In light of the times, President Nixon’s resignation was an act of patriotism.

  5. Pingback: Richard Nixon New Jersey | cg

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