kids encyclopedia robot

Suffern, New York facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Suffern, New York
Location in Rockland County and the state of New York.
Location in Rockland County and the state of New York.
Country United States
State New York
County Rockland
Settled 1773
Incorporated 1896
 • Total 2.1 sq mi (5.5 km2)
 • Land 2.1 sq mi (5.4 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 312 ft (95 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 10,723
 • Density 5,110/sq mi (1,950/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 10901
Area code(s) 845 Exchanges: 357,368,369,918
FIPS code 36-71894
GNIS feature ID 2391161

Suffern (pronounced SUF-fern in formal contexts, and SUF-fren by locals) is a village incorporated in 1896 in the town of Ramapo, Rockland County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, Suffern's population was 10,723.


Downtown Suffern
Downtown Suffern
Suffern NY Downtown
Downtown Suffern
Lafayette Theater Suffern NY
Lafayette Theater exterior
Lafayette Theatre interior

"The Point of the Mountains" or "Sidman's Clove" were names used in designating the present village of Suffern before the American Revolution. The area originally was inhabited by the Ramapough, a tribe of Munsee, who were a division of the great Lenape nation. Upon Sidman's death this land passed into the hands of his son-in-law, John Smith, who sold it to John Suffern.

The village of Suffern was founded in 1796. John Suffern, first Rockland County judge, 1798–1806, settled near the base of the Ramapo Mountains in 1773, and called the place New Antrim, after his home in County Antrim, Ireland, where his Huguenot ancestors had settled. New Antrim's location was considered strategically important in the Revolutionary War due to its location at an important crossroads near Ramapo Pass. General George Washington and other important military leaders used John Suffern's home as headquarters when they were in the area.

Suffern is part of the Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail under the auspices of the National Park Service. This trail commemorates the route followed by General Washington and the French comte de Rochambeau as they traveled to the siege of Yorktown, Virginia, which led to the end of America's War of Independence.

Rochambeau made encampment with his 5,000 soldiers in Suffern on August 25, 1781, on his way to Yorktown and again on September 13, 1782, as he retraced his steps to return home. An historical marker on the Washington Avenue side of the Lafayette Theatre identifies this site of "Rochambeau's Encampment 1781–1782." At the time of the encampment, this site was directly across the road from village founder John Suffern's home and tavern where the comte de Rochambeau actually stayed. The Suffern Furniture Company is now located where this house once stood.

During the war, Commander-in-Chief General Washington and his regiment made camp in the village several times. Lafayette Avenue, the main street of Suffern, is named in honor of Revolutionary War hero Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, better known as the Marquis de Lafayette.

Other guests who took advantage of Suffern's hospitality included Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Burr, who later became the third Vice President of the United States; General George Clinton, who became the first (and longest-serving) elected Governor of New York, as well as the fourth Vice President of the United States (under both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison); and Alexander Hamilton, first United States Secretary of the Treasury under President Washington.

From Suffern to Monroe was a main route of travel through the western Hudson Highlands. The main road was the Albany Post Road, one of the oldest roads in the state, which served as the stagecoach line between Albany and New York City and was heavily traveled in winter once the Hudson River froze. The 20 miles (32 km) of road through Ramapo Pass became the Orange Turnpike (now Route 17). Tolls were collected from 1800 until 1886 to maintain and improve the road. The New York State Thruway now runs through the pass. The south entrance to the town was garrisoned during the Revolution, with General Washington ordering as many as 400 soldiers to be stationed there at all times.

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 consideration for the right-of-way given it by Judge Edward Suffern, son of founder John, to lay track across his 6 miles (10 km) of land, the Erie Railroad named their depot "Suffern's Station", and the village became known as Suffern, not New Antrim as it had been called by John Suffern.

In 1897, Avon Products, known then as California Perfume Company, built a 3,000-square-foot (280 m2) laboratory in Suffern; by 1971 the lab would grow into the 323,000-square-foot (30,000 m2) Avon Suffern Research and Development facility. In late 2005, construction was finished on a state-of-the art, 225,000-square-foot (20,900 m2) 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, the Lafayette Theatre, named for the Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette, opened its doors.

In 1972, the Salvation Army moved their School for Officer Training to a 30-acre (120,000 m2) site in Suffern.


Manhattan from Suffern
Manhattan skyline from Nordkop Mountain in Suffern
Suffern NY
The village of Suffern viewed from the top of Nordkop Mountain

Suffern is located at 41°6′43″N 74°8′45″W / 41.11194°N 74.14583°W / 41.11194; -74.14583 (41.111828, −74.145796).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2), of which 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2), or 1.42%, is water.

Suffern is designated as a gateway to the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 1,619
1910 2,663 64.5%
1920 3,154 18.4%
1930 3,757 19.1%
1940 3,768 0.3%
1950 4,010 6.4%
1960 5,094 27.0%
1970 8,273 62.4%
1980 10,794 30.5%
1990 11,055 2.4%
2000 11,006 −0.4%
2010 10,723 −2.6%
Est. 2015 11,001 2.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

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 per square mile (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.


Suffern Station serves both local and express trains, operated by New Jersey Transit to Hoboken Terminal with connecting service at Secaucus Junction to New York's Pennsylvania Station. Most New Jersey Transit Main Line trains terminate at Suffern; some Bergen County Line trains also terminate at Suffern; and Metro-North Railroad's Port Jervis Line trains continue into Orange County to Port Jervis. Transport of Rockland buses serve Suffern, as do the Bergen County routes of Coach USA ShortLine.

U.S. Route 202, New York State Route 59, Interstate 287, and Interstate 87, also known as the New York State Thruway, go through Suffern.


Historic Marker Suffern NY Rail Station
Suffern RR Marker
Suffern Piermont Branch Station
Suffern Piermont Branch Station
Washington Avenue Soldiers' Monument
Soldier's Monument at Washington and Lafayette avenues
Suffern, NY, post office
U.S. Post Office

Historical markers

  • Rochambeau Encampment, Lafayette and Washington avenues
  • Soldier's Monument, also known as Washington Ave. Monument, Washington and Lafayette avenues (NRHP)
  • Suffern's Depot, 1 Erie Plaza
  • Suffern Grammar School, 41 Wayne Avenue
  • Suffern's Sacred Heart Parish, 129 Lafayette Avenue
  • Suffern's Tavern Site, Washington and Lafayette avenues – Suffern's tavern sheltered many Continental Army officers, including Gen. Washington and Aaron Burr, commander of the troops guarding the Ramapo Pass. Torn down about 1856.

Landmarks and places of interest

  • Brooklands Park – Lake Road – Site of Brooklands, home of Daniel Carter Beard, a founder of Boy Scouts of America.
  • Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area – Suffern is a designated gateway to the HRVNHA.
  • Lafayette Theatre – 97 Lafayette Avenue. Rockland's only surviving movie palace, opened in 1924, and having a renovated 1931 Wurlitzer pipe organ installed by the American Theatre Organ Society in 1992.
  • Suffern Free Library – 210 Lafayette Avenue. The Ramapo Room contains historical books, clippings and photographs of western Ramapo.
  • Suffern Railroad Museum – 1 Erie Plaza
  • Suffern Village Museum – 61 Washington Avenue – 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.
  • U.S. Post Office – Built during the New Deal, is located on Chestnut Street between NY 59 and US 202, on the northern edge of the village's downtown business district. (NRHP)
  • Washington Avenue Soldier's Monument and Triangle – Washington Avenue (NRHP)
  • Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route
kids search engine
Suffern, New York Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.