The Charles Lindbergh house in Hopewell New Jersey

image from: http://mrsmonj.blogspot.com

When I featured a post about a country home in New Jersey a couple weeks ago and mentioned that it was near Charles Lindbergh’s former house, a lot of people showed particular interest in the Lindbergh house so I thought I would devote an entire post to the storied home.

The house is famous for being the site of the 1932 kidnapping of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh’s and Anna Morrow Lindbergh’s 20 month old son, Charles Junior.

image from: http://listverse.com

Baby Charles was taken from his nursery on the second floor – presumably through the window and down a rickety ladder which was left behind at the site.

image from: www.nyt.com

The toddler was missing for 2 months, then tragically, in May of 1932 his battered, decomposing body was found in a ditch only a couple of miles from the Lindbergh home. You can read more on the kidnapping and subsequent events here.

image from: http://www.northjersey.com

I have read a couple of books on the kidnapping because it is such a tragic, intriguing and – many would argue – possibly unsolved case.  A German-born carpenter (Bruno Richard Hauptmann) was tried and convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Charles Jr. and executed in 1936.

However, there are many competing theories that persist to this day; one being that Hauptmann was merely an innocent scapegoat or a peripheral figure in the crime that some other person committed. Some investigators and historians even go so far as to say that Charles Lindbergh himself was responsible for the death of his first-born son. According to many historical accounts, Charles Lindbergh was one weird bird.

image from: http://www.aviation-history.com

In any case, my heart feels heavy for the little boy who was lost, but he is in a better place now… so the house where the kidnapping took place holds the most fascination for me.

http://www.lindberghkidnappinghoax.com

Located in the once rural area of East Amwell, New Jersey, near the town of Hopewell, the sprawling two-story French-country style home was newly built in 1932 when the kidnapping occurred. The house was situated on 700 acres of wooded land and cleared fields. Charles Lindbergh wanted a place that was far from the public eye, very private and had enough cleared property for an airplane landing strip.

image from: http://www.charleslindbergh.com

The property near Hopewell, New Jersey fit all the criteria – and, it was very difficult to find, courtesy of numerous winding and branching country roads. Today, the area is populated with homes, farms and country estates, but back in the 1930’s it was quite isolated.

image from: http://glover320.blogspot.com

While the house was under construction in 1931, the Lindberghs spent most of their time at Anne’s parent’s estate in Englewood, New Jersey, which incidentally, looked a lot like the house Charles Lindbergh had built.

image from: http://violetsharp.wordpress.com

Charles and Anne drove out to their Hopewell house (which they named Highfields) to spend the weekends when it was nearing completion.

image from: http://www.vcstar.com

In fact, Charles Lindbergh and his wife, son and a handful of servants had just barely moved in prior to the kidnapping. That is what makes the kidnapping so baffling – no one other than very close associates and family members knew where Charles Lindbergh’s new house was. Even for those people, it was difficult to find the house, let alone know what room the baby was sleeping in.

photo credit: Ronelle Delmont – from: http://www.lindberghkidnappinghoax.com

The interior of the mansion was newly decorated at the time of the crime but had little furniture.

The large home had 23 rooms as well as an attached 3-car garage.

image from: http://www.lindberghkidnappinghoax.com/floorplan.jpg

During the investigation, the Lindbergh house became command central for the detectives who worked the case. Apparently, they even slept there, along with various other guests whom Charles Lindbergh invited over to help with the investigation.

image from: http://www.lindytruth.org/

There are only a handful of grainy old photos of the interior of the house that were taken by investigators shortly after the kidnapping.

Below is the window where the kidnapper(s) reportedly exited with the baby:

image from: http://jimfisher.edinboro.edu/

And this is the actual crib from which baby Charles was taken during the night of March 1, 1932…

image from: http://www.lindberghkidnappinghoax.com

The nursery was on the second floor and many historians question the validity of the theory that a single man could climb down a thin ladder with a sleeping child under arm on a cold, windy and rainy night.

image from: http://www.corbisimages.com

You can see images of how the nursery looks today at the following Flickr website here. (material is copyrighted so I can’t reproduce the images on this blog).

image from: http://what-when-how.com

It is a house with a haunting history, and it is sad that the Lindbergh’s never really got to enjoy their dream home in rural New Jersey.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Besides the Highfields estate, Charles Lindbergh was fortunate enough to live in several other beautiful homes in his lifetime. Here are just a couple that I was able to dig up…

Charles Lindbergh’s college rental house in Madison Wisconsin:

image from: http://www.avweb.com

Charles Lindbergh lived in the basement apartment of this house during his second year at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In the second semester of that year, Lindbergh’s grades were so bad, his advisor suggested he drop out of school before he flunked out. Lindbergh left UW to attend flying school. The rest is history.

– from: http://www.avweb.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Charles Lindbergh’s childhood home in Little Falls, Minnesota:

image from: http://en.wikipedia.org

The home is now publicly owned as part of a state park in Minnesota – it was donated by the Lindbergh family in 1931 in recognition of Lindbergh’s father Congressman Charles August Lindbergh .

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park is a 569 acre (2.3 km²) Minnesota state park on the outskirts of Little Falls. The park was once the farm of Congressman Charles August Lindbergh and his son Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator. Their restored 1906 house and two other farm buildings are within the park boundaries.

– from: http://www.mnhs.org/places/sites

image from: http://minnesota.publicradio.org

You can tour the home today — still decorated with its original family furnishings and possessions.

image from: http://events.mnhs.org (Minnesota Historical Society)

See here for interior photos of Charles Lindbergh’s boyhood home in Minnesota.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Charles Lindbergh’s “Long Barn” retreat in Kent England:

image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CharlesLindbergh

Frustrated by the unrelenting media attention on his home and family life after the kidnapping, Charles Lindbergh took his family and fled secretly to England in 1935.

The family eventually rented “Long Barn” in the village of Sevenoaks Weald, Kent, England. … At the time of Hauptmann’s execution, local police almost sealed off the area surrounding Long Barn with “orders to regard as suspects anyone except residents who approached within a mile of the home.” Lindbergh later described his three years in the Kent village as “among the happiest days of my life”

– from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Lindbergh

image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CharlesLindbergh

Long Barn is believed to date from the mid-fourteenth century and has hosted many other famous people over the centuries (including the likes of Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today, the most famous Lindbergh residence – Highfields in New Jersey – still stands. The site of the infamous Lindbergh kidnapping is now a residential treatment center for male juvenille offenders.

In 1933, just over a year after his son’s disappearance and murder, Charles Lindbergh gifted his Highfields estate near Hopewell to the state of New Jersey.

image from: http://mrsmonj.blogspot.com

If Charles Lindbergh revisited his former home in East Amwell Township today, he would probably be pleased. When he gave Highfields to the state on June 29, 1933, he stipulated that the estate be used to help boys, and that’s what is happening there.

The Albert Elias Residential Group Center is home to 20 boys, ages 15-17. These boys have gotten into trouble and the state is using the rural setting and a new way of life to rehabilitate them. The place is staffed with teachers and social workers, not corrections officers.

– from: http://blog.nj.com/lindbergh – article by: By John Curran

image from: http://www.lindberghkidnappinghoax.com/miss.html

Although there are few public photos of the inside of the Lindbergh home today, anyone from the public can request a private tour of the facility – see here for more details.

At first I was disappointed that the Highfields estate was being used as a juvenile offender’s home, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

The fact that the fated home now serves to help rehabilitate troubled boys is a tribute to the home’s unique, albeit tragic, past.

image from: http://images.mitrasites.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Intrigued by the Lindbergh kidnapping case? See the following websites for all the details:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindbergh_kidnapping

http://www.charleslindbergh.com/kidnap/index.asp

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/famous-cases/the-lindbergh-kidnapping

http://jimfisher.edinboro.edu/lindbergh/a1988_1.html

http://www.lindberghkidnappinghoax.com/lindy.html

http://www.lindytruth.org/

 

 

29 Responses to The Charles Lindbergh house in Hopewell New Jersey

  • Marcia says:

    This was fascinating, thanks so much for posting! Tragic story and wish they solve the kidnapping once and for all. Links are very interesting

    • housecrazy says:

      Thanks Marcia – it drives me crazy that they have never been able to say with certainty what happened to the baby… and probably never will!

  • Brian says:

    Thanks for posting this – the home is actually in East Amwell, not Hopewell. East Amwell is in Hunterdon County, so this is the reason the trial was in Flemington. If the home were in Hopewell, it would have been Mercer County, so the trial would have been in Trenton.

    I don’t know if I agree with your comment that Lindbergh was a wierd guy – I think living through this kind of incident (he and his wife were in the house when all this happened) would probably make you a bit guarded…

    Thanks for posting though – great photos – and a look into history.

    • housecrazy says:

      Hi Brian, thanks for the clarification. I shouldn’t pass judgement on Lindbergh – I never knew the guy persoanlly. However, I have read several eye witness accounts of him doing really bizarre (borderline child abuse stuff) before his son ever went missing.
      But again, that’s just what I read from the public records. I think everyone will make their own opinion based on what information they read.

  • Henry says:

    My mother knew Charles Lindbergh and his wife, Anne, because she worked as a maid, working for the Morrow household. It was during the early 1940’s. It was very interesting listening to my mother talk about them. They treated my mother well. My family also knew the cook who worked for the Morrows. The cook was like an aunt to me. When I was young, we drove by the Morrow estate and we saw the Lindbergh home from a distance.

  • Greg says:

    Verye nice summary! Thanks fore taking the time. Nice photos! Personally, I think Hauptman did it all by himself, but that can bee debated on the sites you posted. Thanks again!

  • Janet Smith says:

    Everyone who wants to find out the most current information on this crime, read “Cemetery John” by Robert Zorn. It was not done alone – totally impossible.

  • Miz Kizzle says:

    The Lone Eagle was indeed an odd duck. He liked playing sadistic tricks on people, like the time he filled a guy’s canteen with a caustic liquid and laughed when the poor fellow drank from it and burned his esophagus.
    He was a Nazi sympathizer who believed in eugenics and the supremacy of the white race. He almost bought a house in Berlin from a Jewish family shortly before the outbreak of WW II, until he decided against going through with the deal because he feared the homeowners would use the money to escape from Germany.
    He was a great pilot but he was NOT a nice guy.
    He also had several illegitimate children with two Swiss sisters…

  • Glenn Mathus says:

    Best site on the subject so far. Answered many of my questions. We will visit the museum in West Trenton. We do kind of the same thing, maybe we can do something together. My 11 year old son is in all the videos.
    Glenn

  • Fred Clarke says:

    Well at last I have found the house t I was sent to during the war in the early 40s..I will always remember the name long barn nursery sevenoaks Kent.. I have seen on eBay ..a post card of the house ,with children .dressed in there little smocks like I was ..I can’t wait for the post card to arrive.. Maybe I am in the phot..! I spent my childhood until the age of 15 in children’s homes .if you were also at this house please get in touch ..my tel number is ..07790172!822..or if you have any memories relating to this subject please call me ..mr Frederick Clarke ..(nobby)

  • leni says:

    What about the house in hawaii?

  • I honestly do not believe that Charles Lindbergh, despite his politics of the 1940s (he was opposed to this country’s entry into WWII and made at least one speech that many felt to be anti-Semitic at a time when Hitler was destroying Europe’s Jews) could possibly have killed his own son. This is just nuttiness. He and Anne had five other children, and in fact he had several children with mistresses in Germany after WWII.
    I do believe that Charlie Lindbergh’s death changed his personality forever. He clearly must have been a much more warm and open young man before the kidnapping than he was after, when he became fearful of the press (I might, too, as they photographed the body of his dead child!) and gradually became more and more withdrawn from aspects of normal life. However, he was a good writer and won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, The Spirit of St. Louis.
    I believe that he was politically either tone-deaf or actually anti-Semitic. His wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, who wrote many lovely books including “Gift From the Sea,” still a best-seller today, was against his giving the speech. All her family were on the “other side”– in favor of helping Britain beat off the Nazis. When Pearl Harbor settled the question of war, Lindbergh tried to be reinstated in the army air force (he had resigned in a hassle with FD Roosevelt, the president at the time). Roosevelt didn’t trust him,but Lindbergh helped build planes in Michigan with Henry Ford (another anti-Semite, unfortunately) and later did make some bombing flights in the Pacific as the military looked the other way.
    I do not think he killed his own son, but as one wit of the time said of him, “all heroes are horses’ asses.”

  • The baby was kidnapped and killed, probably on the night he was taken. Though Lindbergh was harsh with his children at times, I do not think he was capable of killing a child, especially his own.

    • housecrazy says:

      Isabella, thanks for your comments. I don’t want to believe that Lindbergh could be capable of such a thing but my past experience as a social worker makes me think that it is entirely possible. Unfortunately, infanticide happens all the time in our society. Sometimes the parent just snaps, other times there is a deeper underlying mental illness – and that is what I suspect with Lindbergh. Though you make a good point about it being another time and things were different in terms of acceptable parenting back then.

  • steven elias says:

    The Lindbergh house is now named for my father, Albert Elias. I lived in the house with my parents and two brothers from 1952 through 1963. It was a very isolated area even then, some 20 years after the kidnapping. Our driveway was nearly a mile long and all roads leading to the estate and in the surrounding area were gravel or dirt roads. Gypsies and hillbillies lived in the area and were very protective and suspicious of everyone. An old one-room schoolhouse still stood about a mile and a half away. We were aware of the history of the place. Occasionally, a person claiming to be the Lindbergh baby would drop by. My father would indulge him and then send him on his way. I later learned that this same person visited Lindbergh at his home in Connecticut.
    Re the kidnapping, obviously gave inside information to the kidnapper or kidnappers, since I don’t think that Hauptmann acted alone if at all. How he came into the ransom money is still a mystery and his explanation may be half-true but so many other facts and circumstances did not make much sense either. It was a shame he was executed since Hauptmann may have been more forthcoming had he lived in prison for many years.

    • housecrazy says:

      Steven – thank you so much for leaving a comment! That is fascinating that you lived at the Lindbergh house. Do you have any old photos of the house from that time period? If so, would love to see them!

  • steven elias says:

    My father coauthored a book called “The Highfields Story” that is now out of print about the residential treatment program there that opened in the early 1950s. You might be able to get the book on Amazon where I managed to get a couple of copies. A good photo of the house is on the cover with me standing next to my father in the distant background

  • Laura Mae Harmon says:

    This is a great site with many great photo’s. I just watched “Who Killed Lindburg’s Baby on Nova. It brought up many good insights into the cass with many expert investigators. I didn’t know about Lindburg’s nazi sentiments and his obsession with human perfection. Guess I only related to his flying accomplishments. Thanks too for all the interesting comments about the site.

  • Lisa says:

    Just from reading the evidence that was found, it seemed so obvious that the guilty party was charged. However, looking at these photos, I have to wonder. Not living there long, 23 rooms, 2 stories, one chance to get it right–and he happens to choose just the right window as the nursery? If the convicted man was truly guilty, he had to have had inside info. So many unanswered questions. Well, they are all gone now. But what pain there must have been for the family. RIP. Great site–put together very well.

    • housecrazy says:

      Thanks Lisa – for your comment and compliment!

    • Daniel Fletcher says:

      I read that two of the Lindbergh’s servants gave tours of the house before the Lindbergh’s moved into it, unknown to them. That could explain how BRH knew. Also, the media could of released that information. The Lindberghs were the most famous couple in the world. Bruno Hauptman built a rather unusual ladder that could of been used at the Englewood home or the East Amwell home. He might of actually gone to the Englewood home, first, on that day and then proceeded to the East Amwell home.

  • Dave says:

    There’s some nice bird’s eye imagery of the house available from Bing for anyone who is interested: http://binged.it/18wagr2. Even today it is still pretty isolated.

  • Jaki says:

    If you click on your last link to the NJ juvenile residential schools, it says that the Lindbergh home is now used as a female substance abuse rehab program called D.O.V.E.S. You can see the info here: http://www.nj.gov/oag/jjc/residential_comm_doves_hm.html

  • Sally G says:

    Just read “The Cases that Haunt Us” by John Douglas, former FBI profiler, and Mark Olshaker; it has an interesting chapter on the Lindbergh kidnapping. The baby apparently was mortally injured in being taken from the home and his body left in the woods; he believes that there probably was more than one kidnapper. Richard Hauptmann did have about 1/3 of the ransom money—but there were a lot of kidnappings in the 1930s, money laundering was rife, and Mr. Hauptmann would not say anything, so we will likely not ever know the extent of his involvement. Although it is clear that he built the ladder (a floorboard from his house was used in its construction),his carpentry skills could have been hired for that. Certainly the case is interesting.

  • Pingback: Royalton and Little Falls, Minnesota « A Landing a Day

Leave a Reply


~ House Crazy Sarah ~
Sarah Felix Burns

"So many houses, so little time"




Featured house artist:
Naomi Maddux - custom stained glass and mosaics
Featured house artist:
Julia Callon featured on Wondereur

(Click on the images above to learn more about these artists)

Featured house books:
Creating the Artful Home
Mushroom House of Charlevoix

(Click on the book cover images for purchase information)

My first novel
JACKFISH - The Vanishing Village
My second novel
Song Over Quiet Lake
Rivit Media
Publisher