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Owner of NJ Estate Wants to Give Away Historic Home for Free, But It Comes With a Catch



A New Jersey homeowner is making the unusual offer of trying to give away his five-acre estate — for free. While it may sound like a deal that’s too good to pass up, the man said that he hasn’t been able to find any takers.

The three-bedroom, four-bathroom home sits tucked away and far off the road in Upper Saddle Ridge, and is bursting with wildlife. But it’s the inside of the home that is sure to impress even more.

“The property was all woods when I bought it, it was a small house,” said Roger Wohrle, who is hoping to preserve the look and feel of both the house and the property.

The 82-year-old’s hope is to find someone to take care of the home after he dies someday, and is fine with giving it all away at no cost. But there is a catch: Whomever takes over the estate must preserve the blueprint as is.

The expansive property also includes a bamboo forest, and comes with a driveway with gates once owned by a family aboard the Titanic.


But Wohrle’s favorite feature may be the greenhouse — a tropical oasis complete with a koi pond for the man who spent decades working in the tropical plant business.

The house and grounds also come with so many stories, like the time Yankee great Yogi Berra partied there.

“It started with drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the downstairs of the house, and then came down to the greenhouse,” Wohrle said.

From self-playing pianos to eight antique cars, it’s not the “stuff” Whorle cars about keeping, although he has plenty of it. It’s the rich history.

“If I were to put in on the market, I could sell it and they’d put four or five homes here, which I don’t want. They’d be mega mansions,” he said.

To be clear, the home is not for sale, but it is being offered up for free. Thus far, Wohrle has found it tough to find any serious takers. Since going public with his offer in 2020, he’s gotten dozens of inquiries, even one from a man in prison.

“It’s not a big house. People ask me how many rooms and square footage — I don’t know, but it’s about eight rooms,” he said. “I must’ve gotten at least 30-40 inquiries.”


Wohrle said that between taxes and upkeep, the cost of running the house and the greenhouse is “a good $100,000 a year.” The ideal suitor for Wohrle would perhaps be a college or botanical garden, who will keep and maintain his vision long after he’s gone.

“If I made an attempt and it didn’t work, at least I made an attempt, rather than just giving up before anything was done,” he said.

Source: NBC New York

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