In 1762- over 60 years since the first European colonists came to what would become Wayne – Richard Van Riper purchased 145 acres of land in the region, largely between what is today Berdan Ave and the Hamburg Turnpike. Here, he lived with his wife, Elizabeth Mead, and their children; Uriah, Jacob, John, Polly, Peggy, Betsy, and Richard. Richard also developed his property into a farm supported by the labor of at least six enslaved people- Harry, Prince, Mary, Annich, Hannah, and Dine.

When Richard and Elizabeth’s eldest son, Uriah, married neighbor (and literal girl next door) Maria Berdan in 1786, Richard granted them a parcel of his property on which to build a home; Richard’s 1807 will notes “a piece of land which [Uriah] now holds in possession which I estimate at the value of sixty two dollars and fifty cents.” This smaller property became the site of the Van Riper-Hopper House, which was likely built ca. 1786 as a two-room structure providing multipurpose living and working space. It also included access to a cellar underneath the home and a loft above. The newlyweds developed the surrounding property into a farm.

Five generations of the Van Riper family would go on to occupy the house, and as the family grew, so too did the home. Expansion in the mid-19th century likely included the construction of the parlor to connect the 1786 home to an adjacent one-room structure, which dates to the mid-18th century. The Van Riper-Hopper House would come to boast five main rooms on the first floor and a garret above. The property likely had outbuildings surrounded it, such as a barn and a privy, which do not survive today.

In 1872, the home earned its full name with the marriage of Mary Ann Van Riper, great-granddaughter of Uriah, and Andrew Hopper. The Van Riper-Hoppers were the last of the Van Riper descendants to live in the home, selling by property by the end of the 1920s.


533 Berdan Ave, Wayne, NJ 07470