In 1815, French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s elder brother & once king of Spain and Naples, Joseph Bonaparte, made his home on land long known as Point Breeze at the confluence of Crosswicks Creek and the Delaware River in Bordentown, NJ. His first mansion burned on Jan. 4, 1820. He then built a second, grander mansion, set farther back from the river. .Joseph Bonaparte returned to Europe in 1839 leaving his land to his grandson. After winning the estate in an auction, the new land owner pulled down Bonaparte’s manor house and in 1850 built a new home. This house burned in the 1980s.
Little remains on the property original to Bonaparte’s time. The former estate is honeycombed with underground tunnels, which were used to bring in supplies and also offered a quick escape route if enemies came to call. A brick archway now teetering in the woods may have once supported a carriageway to Bonaparte’s house.
The property is now owned by a Catholic missionary order.
Photographed May 2016.