Harry Ambrose purchased the mansion in 1896 from Oliver De G. Vanderbilt. Mr. Ambrose was president of the New York based American Book Company. Mr. Ambrose sold the property to Edgar B. Ward, who was one of the original founders of the Prudential Insurance Company. The property then became known as the Ambrose/Ward Mansion.
Later in 1925 when the house was sold to W.N. Knapp & Son, who used it as a funeral home. In 1981, it was purchased by Harold and Suzanne Wolsten and once again used as a private family residence.
In 1995, the Black United Fund of New Jersey purchased the home as its state headquarters..
The property is the lone survivor of a row of fashionable mansions that once outlined South Harrison Street. The property that once extended through to Evergreen Place now measures 185.78’ by 284’. The interior of the house is 12,500 sq. ft. of living space.
The Ambrose/Ward Mansion is of Roman Renaissance design and was actually completed in 1898. The design appears to have been adopted from McKim, Mead and White’s Villard houses constructed fifteen years earlier on Madison Avenue in New York City located behind St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Although the actual identity of the architect has been lost to history, there is strong evidence that the architect might have been Alfred Zucker.