Suffern, NY

Suffern, New York

Suffern is a village in the Town of Ramapo Rockland County, New York, United States located north of the State of New Jersey; east of Hillburn; south of Montebello and west of Airmont. As of the 2000 census, Suffern's population was 11,006.


The Village of Suffern was founded in 1796. John Suffern, first Rockland County judge, 1798-1806, after whom the town is named, settled near the base of the Ramapo Mountains in 1773. It was originally called New Antrim, after Suffern's hometown in Ireland. New Antrim's location was considered strategically important in the American Revolutionary War due to its location near Ramapo Pass.

During the war, Commander-in-Chief General George Washington and his regiment made camp in the village. Lafayette Avenue, the main street of Suffern, is named in honor of Revolutionary War hero Marie Joseph Paul Yves Rock Gilbert du Motier, better known as the Marquis de Lafayette. On August 25, 1781, French troops encamped in New Antrim. A historical marker on Washington Avenue, near Lafayette Avenue, identifies the area as "Rochambeau's Encampment 1781-1782". Comte de Rochambeau made his headquarters at John Suffern's New Antrim Tavern. Thousands of French and Revolutionary soldiers camped here on their way to Yorktown, Virginia where they and 3,000 Virginia militia led by Lafayette, fought British General Lord Charles Cornwallis and his forces at the Siege of Yorktown, a pivitol battle that ultimately led to victory.

Other guest who took advantage of Suffern's hospitality included lieutenant_colonel Aaron Burr, who later became the 3rd Vice President of the United States, General George Clinton who became the first (and longest-serving) elected Governor of New York, and then 4th Vice President of the United States under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, 1st United States Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington.

Smith's Clove, Sidman's Clove - From Suffern to Monroe was a main route of travel through western Hudson Highlands. The main road was Albany Post Road, one of oldest roads in the state, which served as the stagecoach line between Albany, New York and New York City and was heavily traveled in winter when the Hudson River froze over. The of road through the Pass became the Orange Turnpike (now Route 17). In 1800, tolls were collected until 1886 to maintain and improve road. The New York State Thruway now runs through the Pass. The South entrance to the town was garrisoned during the Revolution.

The first railroad line across Rockland County (the Erie Railroad) was built in 1841 and ran from Piermont to Ramapo. By 1851, the line was extended to Lake Erie, and was considered an engineering marvel. The tracks are now owned by the Norfolk Southern line.

In 1897, Avon Products, known then as California Perfume Company, built a small (3000 square foot) laboratory in Suffern; by 1971 the lab would grow into the Avon Suffern Research and Development facility. In late 2005, construction was finished on a state-of-the art, facility that would become Avon's global hub for research and development. The new building was constructed on the same site as their previous R&D facility, which was demolished for site parking.

In 1916, what would become New York State Route 59, which reached from Nyack to Spring Valley in 1915, was extended to Suffern and Ramapo Hamlet.

In 1924, Lafayette Theatre, also named for the Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette open its doors.

In 1972, the Salvation Army moved their School for Officer Training to a 30 acre site in Suffern.


Suffern is located at (41.111828, -74.145796).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.5 km²), of which, 2.1 square miles (5.4 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (1.42%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 11,006 people, 4,634 households, and 2,836 families residing in the village. The population density was 5,265.8 people per square mile (2,033.2/km²). There were 4,762 housing units at an average density of 2,278.4/sq mi (879.7/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 86.83% White, 3.53% African American, 0.26% Native American, 2.83% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 4.52% from other races, and 1.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.87% of the population.

There were 4,634 households out of which 25.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.6% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the village the population was spread out with 20.1% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $59,754, and the median income for a family was $74,937. Males had a median income of $46,959 versus $36,093 for females. The per capita income for the village was $29,208. About 3.5% of families and 5.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.6% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.

Popular Culture

Suffern family

  • John Suffern - Founder and first judge of Rockland County 1798-1806.
  • Edward Suffern - John Suffern's son and District Attorney 1818-1820. County Judge 1820-1847.
  • Andrew E Suffern - Grandson and District Attorney 1853 - 1859. County Judge 1859-1880.
  • Edward Suffern - Assemblyman in 1826 and 1835.
  • John I Suffern - Assemblyman in 1854.
  • James Suffern - Assemblyman in 1867 and 1869.
  • Edward Suffern - School Commissioner 1859-1862.
  • Thomas W Suffern - School Commissioner 1880-?

Famous natives and residents


Suffern station serves both local and express trains, operated by New Jersey Transit and Metro North, to Hoboken, Secaucus, and there is a connecting service at Secaucus to New York and other New Jersey points. Most New Jersey Transit's Main Line trains use Suffern for its northern terminus of the line; however, some trains, especially Metro North trains, continue into Orange County to Port Jervis. Transport of Rockland is a bus service in Suffern serving Rockland County.

US Route 202, New York Route 59, Interstate 287, and Interstate 87 (also known as New York State Thruway) goes through Suffern.


Historical Markers

  • Soldier's Monument, also know as Washington Ave. Monument, Washington & Lafayette Avenues
  • Rochambeau Encampment, Lafayette & Washington Avenues
  • Suffern’s Depot, 1 Erie Plaza
  • Suffern Grammar School, 41 Wayne Avenue
  • Suffern’s Tavern Site, Washington & Lafayette Avenues - Suffern's tavern sheltered many Continental Army officers. including Can. Washington and Aaron Burr, commander of the troops guarding the Ramapo Pass. Torn down about 1856.
  • Suffern's Sacred Heart Parish, 129 Lafayette Avenue
  • Suffern Succotash Marker. Marks the spot where the original succotash was dispensed. Located at 18 Lafayette Avenue.

Landmarks and places of Interest

  • Brooklands Park - Lake Road - Site of Brooklands, home of Daniel Carter Beard, a founder of Boy Scouts of America.
  • Lafayette Theater - 97 Lafayette Ave Rockland’s only surviving movie palace, built 1924, renovated in 1927 and having a renovated 1931 Wurlitzer pipe organ installed by the Theater Organ Society in 1992.
  • Suffern Railroad Museum - 1 Erie Plaza
  • Suffern Village Museum - 61 Washington Ave., Suffern, NY 10901 • 357-0649 - Exhibits relating to the history of Suffern and the Ramapo area. Includes displays relating to American Indians, original Avon products, nearby iron mines and Dan Beard, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America. Traveling Trunk program is available for classroom use, 4th-7th grade. Trunk holds items representing Rockland history from 1741-1841. Open Sunday, 2-4 pm, September through June.
  • Suffern Free Library - (The Ramapo Room contains books, clippings and photographs of western Ramapo.)210 Lafayette Avenue
  • U.S. Post Office
  • Washington Avenue Soldier's Monument & Triangle - Washington Avenue
  • Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route

External links


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