Plainfield Garden Club

Member: Kroll, Mrs. Alexander (Nancy Dwinnell or Mrs. Prince H. Gordon) '60

1970 - 1986 Address: Clarke's Lane, Plainfield

1990 Address: 67 Leland Avenue, Plainfield

1991 Address: Stillman Gardens, 67 Leland Ave, Plainfield

1996 address: 203A Indian Springs, Hilton Head, SC

1999 address: Sweetwood, 1611 Cold Spring Road, Williamstown, MA 01267

1984 - 1995: Active
1996 - 2004: Affiliate

Mother to Priscilla Kroll Farnum '80
Mother to Mrs. William R. (Penny Kroll) Barrett '67
Mother-in-law to Mrs. Steven (Sally Lindsay) Kroll '80

Kroll, Mrs. Prince H. Gordon (Nancy) '60

Anne Shepherd '77 presented this photo at the November 17, 2010 meeting held at Plainfield Country Club of the 1936 Junior League Delegation. Many of the women in the photograph were also Plainfield Garden Club members.

Anne's own mother, Mrs. Morrell, was a member of the Plainfield Garden Club.

Going from Left to Right:
Barbara Craig
Ruth Vermelier McKerry
Jean Anderson
Althea Steven
Dorothy DeHart
Jean Stuart
Nanette Hoy Nickerson
Peggy Berger
Nancy Kroll
Barbara Curbesier Stevenson

When shown to Barbara Sandford '54, who was in attendance, she recognized all the faces.

Anne added that the reason her mother had this photo was because she was "in charge of all the Junior League Provisionals" Anne is certain this photo was taken at 900 Charlotte, Plainfield, NJ

1936 Junior League Provisional Group

back of photo

New York Times Obituary February 1, 2009

Published: February 1, 2009

GORDON–Nancy Kroll, of Plainfield, NJ and Williamstown, MA. Beloved wife of the late Alexander Kroll. Survived by her husband Prince Gordon and her five children and two stepchildren: Peter Kroll, Penny Barrett, Priscilla Farnum, Steven Kroll, Cindy Dwyer, Nan Conner, Lavinia Gordon, ten grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She was gracious, resilient, enthusiastic and kind, an exceptional mother and grandmother and special friend to all who knew her. Donations may be made to the Andrew K. Dwyer Foundation, 756 Guard Hill Road, Bedford, NY 10506.

Kroll, Sally (Mrs. Steven A.) ’80

Mrs. Kroll-Gordon is mother-in-law to current (2010) Affiliate Plainfield Garden Club Member Sally Kroll '80.

Sally Kroll, Plainfield Garden Club President 1988 - 1990, 1993 - 1995

January 21, 2010 Jeanne Turner's Tribute to Evie Madsen, Betty Hackman and Nancy Kroll Gordon

January 21, 2010 Jeanne Turner's Tribute to Evie, Betty & Nancy
There in Spiritˇ
In Bon Appetit (August 2009), Editor-in-Chief, Barbara Fairchild, reviews the film Julie & Julia. She says of Julia Child, somehow, though, I like to think that she was there in spirit and that her curiosity, passion and determination forged a life that influenced [others].

The Plainfield Garden Club lost three precious long-time members in 2009. They were similarly ˇnfluential icons for our Club. We miss their friendship, hard work, and dedication to our unique Shakespeare Garden and to the Plainfield Garden Club.

In the spring, while working in the garden, our President, Phyllis Alexander, said Evelyn Madsen was there in Spirit! We had just worked in that part of the garden where Evie was often seen faithfully working. If you needed to find her, she was usually there. She had been Chairman of the Garden for many years. Her wonderful tours included many quotes from Shakespeare as she identified both the bloom and the Bard's writings about it.

Betty Hackman, our perfectionist, would trim the topiary birds, make perfect wreaths and often receive first in flower shows. She was a mentor who shared her expertise and vast knowledge freely. Betty was always willing to lend her containers and perfectly appropriate garden and floral ideas. She is sorely missed.

Though Nancy Kroll Gordon, moved away a few years ago, she is fondly remembered for her friendly persona, talent in flower arranging and gardening. She and Betty Hackman were members of the GCA House Committee for many years. They enjoyed making flower arrangements to decorate the GCA headquarters in New York.

These three exceptional Plainfield Garden Club members indeed continue to be There in Spirit.

Respectfully submitted,
Jeanne Turner

PGC Membership Years:
Mrs. John Madsen '70
Mrs. Robert K. Hackman '70
Mrs. Prince H. Gordon (Nancy Kroll) '60.

1989 Annual Program Report

We met in September at the home of Mrs. Steven Kroll to discuss the plans for the Zone IV meeting. Coffee and pastry was served by Mrs. Kroll.

1990 Exhibitions Annual Report

The Harvest Show at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum was held in September. Barbara Sandford won a third prize in her class, and Betty Hackman and Nancy Kroll received an honorable mention for their joint arrangement.

From Connie Foster's on-line album

Dave and Connie Foster
Alex and Nancy Kroll

From PGC Member Connie Foster's on-line album

Connie Foster

1950? Thin Connie posing "CTF at Kroll's"

1987 Archives

1987 Archives

1988 Archives

Contributions for the Polly Heely Memorial Fund

Mrs. Murray Rushmore
Mrs. E. J. Fitxpatrick
Mrs. F. Gregg Burger
Mrs. Philip Nash
Mrs. Frederic Pomeroy
Mrs. Alexander Kroll
Mrs. C. Northrop Pond
Mrs. Theodore Budenbach
Mrs. Homer Cochran
Mrs. Dabney Moon
Mrs. Webster Sandford
Mrs. Alden Loosli
Mrs. Robert Loughlin
Mrs. Robert de Graff
Horse Shoe Rad, [not legible] NY 11765
Total $430.00

From the Corresponding Secretary File, Jane Craig

Jane Burner, Diana Madsen, Barbara Grinnell, Anne Shepherd, MA Gonder, Barabara Peek, Nancy Kroll, Elisabeth Loizeaux

From the Corresponding Secretary file

postmark Aug 13 1996

from the Corresponding Secretary file

from the Corresponding Secretary file

Dear Jane

I would like to become an affiliate member of the Plainfield Garden Club. I am moving to Hilton Head permanently by Oct. 1st.

I hate to give up the pleasure of the garden club. I have had 36 years of pleasure from being a member and enjoy so many nice friends. I will miss it terribly!

Mrs. Prince H. Gordon
203A Indian Springs
Hilton Head
South Carolina

Hope we'll be up so I can stop in sometime at a meeting. Will miss you all –


Nancy Kroll

from the Corresponding Secretary file

from the Corresponding Secretary file

from the Corresponding Secretary file

not dated, presumed to be 1991

Elizabeth –

These are the people who contributed to the PGC in memory of Betty Fitzpatrick.

One list is for your reference – I guess letters need to be written.

One list is for the Fitzpatrick family – Send it to the Sleepy Hollow address and I'm sure they will get it. Anne

from the Corresponding Secretary file

Corresponding Secretary Annual Report May 14, 1997

The Garden Club of America

Mrs. C. W. Clarke
27 Shrewsbury Dr.
Rumson, NJ 07760

postmark 1 APR 94

The Garden Club of America

598 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Dear Anne –

Thank you for the film of Atterbury Garden. I am researching just how or if it is possible to make slides from it. You or Nancy Kroll will be hearing from me if I have some success! (over)

I do appreciate your entrusting the film to me.



The Garden Club of America

'Giggleswick' by Marjorie Blackman Elliott 1989

PGC Member Marjorie Blackman Elliott traces the history of the Mellick family and in particular PGC founding member Mrs. George P. (Ella Hartley) Mellick '15 and her well known estate, 'Giggleswick'

pages 13 - 14

Mrs. Elliott writes of Alex Kroll's plan to live at Giggleswick and to develop the property.

March 18, 1938

Daily Princetonian, Volume 63, Number 32, 18 March 1938 – JUNIOR PROM FESTIVITIES WILL LURE 606 GUESTS TO BRIGHTEN OLD NASSAU'S UNDERGRADUATE LIFE YEAR'S MOST LAVISH EVENT Every Road Leads to Tiger's Lair Today for Time-Honored Revelry – Secluded Hamlets and Thriving Cities Represented. MUSIC TO PLAY FROM 11 TO 4 Sidford Heads List of Six Prom Committeemen Escorting as Many Fair Visitors to Affair. [ARTICLE+ILLUSTRATION]

Miss Nancy Dwinnell listed as a guest of the committee.––-en-logical-20–1––all–

New York Times Wedding Announcement 1939

NANCY DWINNELL TO BE WED DEC.16; Will Become Alexander Kroll's Bride ...

970 Hillside Avenue

Plainfield Public Library
Detwiller Archives;collection=blueprints/search_results;architect=detwiller;collection=blueprints;_page=9/blueprint;id=9624;num=205/

Collection Detwiller
Title Kroll Kitchen Alteration
Description sketch of kitchen from two angles; floor plan; cabinet and appliance placement
Building Type Residence
Work Type Alteration and/or Addition
Condition Acceptable
Blueprint ID D-9624
Permit NOP219
Year of Permit 1964
Microfilm Roll 0213
Microfilm Frame 0270
Condition 1003
Address 970 Hillside Avenue
Historic District
City Plainfield
Architect Charles H. Detwiller Jr.
Architect Firm
Owner Mr. & Mrs. A. Kroll
Business Owner
City of Plainfield
Planning Department
Historic District Addresses
Address 959-971 Hillside Avenue
Block 815
Lot 19
Year Built 1898
Architectural Style Shingle
Historic District Hillside Avenue

970 Hillside Avenue

September 20, 1999 Board Meeting Minutes page 1

September 1999 Newsletter page 3

1984 Questover Designers Showhouse Program

Questover Program pages 1 through 55

Questover Program pages 56 through 106

Questover Program pages 107 through 131

1974 Junior League Designer Showcase: The Martine House

1974 Designer Showcase Martine House Cover to Page 25

1974 Designer Showcase Martine House Page 26 to End

In addition to saving the 1988 Program for the Designers Showhouse of Cedar Brook Farm (aka The Martine House) which was organized by the Muhlenberg Auxiliary, PGC Member Anne Shepherd also kept the 1974 Designers Showcase of the very same home, organized by the Junior League.

Within the program pages, you will find mentioned many PGC members. They include: Clawson, MacLeod, Kroll, Davis, Wyckoff, Stevens, Loizeaux, Swain, Hunziker, Connell, Foster, Dunbar, Elliott, Fitzpatrick, Gaston, Hackman, Holman, Lockwood, Morrison, Royes, Rushmore, Sanders, Williams, Barnhart, Bellows, Burger, Burner, Carter, Clendenin, DeHart, Detwiller, Eaton, Eckert, Fort, Frost, Gonder, Keating, Laidlaw, Loosli, Madsen, Mann, Marshall, Miller, Moody, Moon, Morse, Murray, Mygatt, Barrett, Peek, Perkins, Pfefferkorn, Pomeroy, Pond, Royes, Samek, Sandford, Sheble, Stevens, Shepherd, Stewart, Stout, Trewin, Vivian, Zeller, Cochran, Mooney and Hall.

1982 May Designer Showhouse: 1127 Watchung Avenue

Cover to Page 25

Page 26 to Page 51

Page 52 to Page 75

Page 76 to Back Cover

p. 85 Carriage Collection Boutique

Mrs. Alex Kroll, Plainfield, New Jersey . . . handhooked children's rugs

October 1995

Photo by Jeanne Turner

Diane Madsen, Evie Madsen and Nancy Kroll

October 1995

Photo by Jeanne Turner

Sally Booth and Nancy Kroll

October 1995

Photo by Jeanne Turner

Sally Booth and Nancy Kroll

Plainfield Public Library Archive

Getting ready for the White House – left to right, Mrs. John Madsen, Mrs. William Elliott, Mrs. Alexander Kroll, Mrs. A. D. Seybold and Mrs. Robert Hackman decorate wreaths, while Mrs. Edwin Fitzpatric "supervises."

June 13, 2012 Email From Rick Detwiller

'Glad people are enjoying these as much as we are. Attached is the jpeg of Laura C. Detwiller. For some reason it was still in PhotoShop so that explains the download problem. It should be fine this time.

I thought you'd also like to see our Swiss cousin Alfred Seiler's cartoon of the 1928 Plainfield Horse Show It shows Freddie, Dad's sister Marguerite Detwiller (Harwood) , and I think one of the Wigton girls who fell off the horse and landed in the mud puddle. Also attached is a photo ca.May-June 1954 of Krolls, Detwillers, Campbells, Wigtons and Stuarts et al watching a neighborhood horseshow. Not necessarily Garden Club, but classics!
(l. To r. Gordon Stuart, Nancy Dwinnell Kroll, Laurie Detwiller, Bill
Wigton, Steve Kroll, Rick Detwiller, Cindy Kroll, and Bill Campbell. Cath
Detwiller and Jean Stuart standing behind fence)


Rick D.

1949 Check Book

No. 775
May 10, 1949
The Union County Park Commission

No. 776
June 10, 1949
Mr. Kroll
State Teachers College
for Conservation Workshop
for Mrs. Helen Brown &
Miss Miriam Doyle

No. 777
June 10, 1949
Margaret Ladd
$7 compost pile pamphlets
5.48 express on Conserv. Devon ? station boxes

Visiting Gardens Chairman

September 25, 2012 NOTE: Found in the Presidents Boxes near some 1992 papers. No Date.

Signed Nancy Kroll

Prince H. Gordon, 98

November 27, 2011

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Prince Hodgson "Red" Gordon, 98, of Sweetwood Retirement Community, 1611 Cold Spring Road, died Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011, at his home.

Born in Athens, Ga., on Aug. 11, 1913, son of Hugh H. and Nannette Hodgson Gordon, he graduated from high school in Miami and also attended Deerfield Academy. He graduated from Williams College in 1935.

A Navy veteran of World War II, he served as a fighter pilot, flying off the aircraft carriers Ranger and Essex. He later served in the Naval Reserves.

Mr. Gordon was a pilot with the former Pan American Airways. He flew international flights from 1946 until his retirement in 1974.

He was an avid golfer during much of his life and was a member of the Williams Sideline Quarterback Club. He was a loving, intellectually curious, a self-taught piano player and fan of Fats Waller who was passionate and loyal to his family and friends.

His beloved first wife of 46 years, the former Lavinia Sargeant, predeceased him. It was his great good fortune to meet and marry the late Nancy Dwinnell Kroll in 1996.

He leaves two daughters, Nannette Conner of Kingsley, Pa., and Lavinia C. Gordon of Portland, Oregon; his daughter-in-law, Anne Cory; five stepchildren, Peter Kroll, Penny Barrett, Priscilla Farnum, Steven Kroll and Cynthia Dwyer, 10 grandchildren and 14 stepgrandchildren.

His son, Sheldon Gordon, died at age 38.

FUNERAL NOTICE – Services for Mr. Gordon will be private and burial will be at the convenience of the family. Flynn & Dagnoli-Montangna Home for Funerals, Central Chapels, 74 Marshall St., North Adams, is in charge of arrangements.

June 17, 1996 Job Description Nominating Committee

Nancy Kroll's 1992 letter to Nina Weil on Exhibitions

September 30, 2012
Hi Susan
Sorry for late reply. In Turkey. Nancy Kroll wrote the letter and it was 1992. I think I became a member in 1991 and somehow was made exhibition chair the next year. Hope to see u at meeting. Nina

Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 24, 2012, at 4:44 PM, Susan Fraser <> wrote:

Hi Nina, Elisabeth and Sally:

I am on the last of the "President boxes" that have been passed around for decades. I found the attached in a folder of job descriptions. Some of the documents were dated – either from 1992 or 1996. Like this one, many of the documents had no date. Do you recognize this? And if so, can you tell me anything about it? Year? Author? What is the Polly Heely Memorial fund flower arrangements?

The document was a copy and the last lines on each page were chopped off.

Thanks! Susan

Mrs. Heely passed away in 1987. Here is everything I have on line in her file:

Nancy Kroll's 1992 letter to Nina Weil on Exhibitions

1997 Janury thru March Board Meeting Minutes

January thru June 1996 Board and General Meeting Minutes

1995 September thru December Board Meeting Minutes

1995 May and June Board and General Meeting Minutes

Mrs. Kroll

1997 Mansions of May

2007 Gregory Palermo's Tree Blog

Crescent Avenue Historic District

Crescent Area Historic District

Post Office: Plainfiled
Zip: 07060

Hillside Avenue Historic District
Van Wyck Brooks Historic District

The Crescent Area Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Portions of the text below were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2013, The Gombach Group.

Prior to the arrival of the white man, the Lenni-Lenape Indians, part of the Algonquin Tribe, lived in this area of New Jersey. The Ice Age had endowed this area with a protective terrain, productive farmlands and forests and "wonderful pure air and springs." Indian trails became the highways and streets still in use in Plainfield today.Watchung Avenue located in the heart of the Crescent Area Historic District was once one of those trails. Remains of an Indian village and burial grounds have been found in the locality of First, Second and Third Place which are within the boundaries of the Crescent Avenue Historic District.

The first white settlers from Scotland and Holland arrived in the area in the 1680's. The first permanent settler was Thomas Gordon whose home was on Cedarbrook Road adjacent to Crescent Avenue, and whose land holdings covered most of what is present-day Plainfield. The enthusiastic letters back home detailing the healthful climate, plentiful game, fish and fowl, good soil and water brought other settlers to New Jersey, in spite of the "Flee by the salt marshes, most troublesome in the summer." These elements continued through the years to attract new residents.

During the Revolutionary War, patriots from area families served in militia regiments as foot soldiers and officers. An important battle, the Battle of the Short Hills, was fought in the area in June of 1777 and was instrumental in repelling the British in New Jersey. Some of the homes of those who supported the cause of the Revolution still exist today: The Drake House Museum, where Washington rested and briefed his officers, and the Vermule Homestead, where the officers were quartered.
Following the war, industry and transportation began to grow and take on added importance, contributing to the economic prosperity. Plainfield became officially recognized on April 1, 1800 with a population of 215. The Gordon Gazetteer in 1834 gave a glowing account of all the rich resources in Plainfield and noted that "the society is moral and religious."

It was in Plainfield in 1847 that the model for the public school system for the state was devised. Through the efforts of Dr. Charles H. Stillman, Plainfield physician, the New Jersey Legislature empowered the city to raise money by taxation in order to establish a public school system. An account of the day declares, "No one can measure the effect of this enlightened policy in extending the fame of the city and building up its prosperity." Many of the people who were active in education and cultural activities lived within the bounds of the Crescent Area Historic District.

The most influential force to the development of Plainfield was the railroad, which brought about a change in the social and economic character of the town. When a direct connection was made between Plainfield and New York City, c.1850, Plainfield became a commuter town.

During the Civil War, many local residents were involved in the fighting. General Sterling, a general on McCleland's staff, built his home and settled on First Place after the War.

Job Male, a philanthropist, who became known as "Plainfield's Grand Old Man", settled in Plainfield in 1867, following the Civil War. An inventor, he had simplified the loading of ferry slips with a patented leveling device. He purchased with Evan Jones, twenty four acres of land "in the suburbs and laid it out in village lots and streets and erected twenty substantial residences of fine architectural design, drawing the plans for them all himself." He was his own contractor and owned a greater part of the land that includes Crescent Avenue and Watchung Avenue. He designed a particularly distinctive style of architecture "stucco-walled, Mansard roofed, still standing today." He continued to build homes in different parts of the city until his possessions included more than one hundred Plainfield houses. His obituary notice in 1891 noted that "his purse always ready to respond to the calls of deserving charity." He was a public benefactor, making possible the Public Library and the Job Male Art Gallery, and donating the land for the hospital, the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, and the Unitarian Church.

A Central New Jersey Times account in 1870 of "Our Town Improvements" wrote, "The improvements in building is the expression of a spirit that leads to progressive movements in other directions. The old houses are not recognizable with tints of brown and cream and olive, their plain roofs metamorphosed by pediments, fancy gables and cornices, their primitive simplicity converted into modern beauty by wings, bay windows, recessed projections and every variety of architectural development." The writer further comments on the "new houses, with their aspiring towers, French roofs and cupolas." It was the kind of community that led the Elizabeth Herald in May of 1888 to write, "The bustling activity of the city of remarkable." And to conclude, "The next move in Plainfield, no doubt, will be the horse cars."
Plainfield had become a fashionable summer resort and eventually attracted many wealthy New York businessmen to settle here year 'round. The Gas Light Age evokes memories of Plainfield with theatricals, minstrel shows, roller rinks and other forms of entertainment. The site of many hotels, the Netherwood was reputed to be one of the "most healthful, comfortable and accessible inland summer resorts in the country."

By 1890, with substantial wealth and improvements, Plainfield continued to advance and prosper, attracting people of substance to live here. As successful businessmen and their families settled in the Crescent Avenue area, they became active in the cultural, religious, and educational affairs of the city. James W. Jackson, William D. Murray both served as presidents of the newly-formed YMCA. Henry C. Squires established the Hope Chapel on January 1, 1888 as a branch of the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church. Augustus Baldwin worked closely with Job Male in establishing the first free public library and the art gallery. In 1883 some of the first subscribers to "the last word in modern efficiency," the telephone, lived in the District: George Goddard, F.O. Herring, Leander Lovell, and the Dumond family. Many served as members of the Common Council.

After Job Male's death, Plainfield continued to be a highly desirable neighborhood and remained that way until the 1930's, when many of the large homes were converted to apartments. This process continues with single family residences almost non-existent today. The alterations for the most part are tastefully done and are not detrimental to the basic style and charm of the original building. This makes for a particularly fine collection of buildings appropriate to an Historic District.
Notes on Recollections of Long-time Residents of the Area
Longtime residents of Plainfield have been interviewed regarding their recollections of famous residents of this area. Those persons interviewed were Mrs. Lawrence Heely, Mrs. Henry Noss, Mrs. Dorothy Wills, Mrs. Helen Mygatt, Mr. John Harmon, Miss Gwen Cochran, Mrs. Dorothy DeHart, Miss Dorothy Leal, Mr. Alfred Genung, Mr. Alex Kroll, Mr. A.L.C. Marsh, Mrs. Hendrick Van Oss and others.

Many people have lived there who were outstanding in cultural fields, education and politics, as well as very successful professional and business men, active both locally and in New York City. Also educators and statesmen lived here.

John Carlson, a renown artist and member of the National Academy lived on 3rd Place as did Alex Seidel who achieved international fame for his designs for Steuben Glass. Another prominent artist who lived here was Thomas Hart Benton whose brother lived for many years on Crescent Avenue. Also William Gilbert, a well known illustrator, lived on Crescent Avenue.

The author of the White Cliffs of Dover, Alice Duer Miller, A. Van Dorn Honeyman, the famous historian, lived on 9th Street, and also Van Wyk Brooks another well-known author. Ernest Ackerman, a representative in U.S. Congress in the 1870's and his brother Marion Ackerman, who lived on Crescent Avenue, founded the Lone Star Cement Company and were deeply involved in many large national important financial and industrial enterprises.

The famous opera singer, Mario Caruso, married a Goddard and was frequently a visitor to Plainfield to the Goddard House at 213 East 9th Street. This family had a profound influence on the musical advancement of the entire area.

The area abounded in lawyers, judges and politicians, including four Mayors of Plainfield, and people in the foreign service for 25 years, such as Hendrick Van Oss, most recently served as ambassador to Madagascar and other countries.

The Crescent Avenue area was truly the heart of the town and boasted the most important and influential people of the period 1860 through 1920. The homes of these people reflect their taste, affluence and are a tangible piece of architectural history reflecting a glorious past.

The Crescent Area Historic District is a great deal more than a lot of old houses. It is probably one of the finest collections of Victorian architecture in the country. The term Victorian is all inclusive and embraces numerous styles that echo tastes and decorative devices of other periods of architecture from other countries and other times than the one in which the present buildings were constructed. The majority of these have what in architectural terms is referred to as Italianate which stems from the architectural styles popular in Italy going back as far as Byzantine derivative styles, and 15th century Venetian palaces. These variety of design styles result in the sudden surge of interest in European cultures and an attempt by the suddenly successful and new class of wealthy businessmen who were anxious to reflect their success in the work of finance in their homes. These interests were stimulated by their travels abroad and what they had seen, which was considered elegant. Thus we have Tuscan towers, Italian villas, Palazzo's with loggia and arcaded window and arches, Renaissance, Egyptian motifs, classical elements, and finally the exuberant eclectic styles throwing the more American traits of Carpenter Gothic and Stick style in for good measure. English architecture is also reflected with half timber, projecting gables, Eastlake influence, Queen Anne and Edwardian styles. The detail photos of these buildings reflect the painstaking craftsmanship of the builders and imaginative design abilities of the architects. It is truly a tangible record of the past which should be preserved as close to its original state as practical, in their new role of many being converted for multi-family use.

The Crescent Area Historic District is one of the finest collections of suburban Victorian architecture in New Jersey. Developed as a speculative real estate venture in the 1870's by Job Male, the buildings are an impressive presentation of Italianate and Second Empire style architecture of the mid to late 19th century. The houses were primarily designed for wealthy businessmen and, consequently, visages within the district still retain a fine elegance in their total ambiance of buildings and their association with landscaping, rustic streets, sidewalks, and trees.

Blumenson, John J.G. Identifying American Architecture
Central New Jersey Times, 1870-1885.
Clayton, W. Woodford. History of Union & Middlesex Counties, 1882.
Cochran, Jean Carter. The History of Crescent Avenue Church
The Courier News, History of Plainfield, 1964.
The Courier News, November 1-4-8, 1954.
Devlin, Harry. To Grandfather's House We Go.
Downey, Andrew Jackson. The Architecture of Country Houses.
The Drake House Museum & The Plainfield Public Library, Scrapbooks and Files.
Dunham, F.A. Atlas City of Plainfield and Boro of North Plainfield, 1894.
Fitzgerald & Co. (Pub.). Springfield, Massachusetts, Plainfield City Directory, 1876-7.
Gowans, Alan. Images of American Living.
Honeyman, A. Van Dorn. History of Union County, Volumes I, II, & III.
Lapsley, Howard G. History of Plainfield, 1942.
League of Women Voters. This is Plainfield, 1954.
McCabe, Wayne. Historic Tour – Plainfield, N.J.
Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Plainfield Area, N.J.
Pub. by Plainfield Courier News. Plainfield & Vicinity in Pictures, 1926.
Plainfield Daily Press, Friday & Saturday, January 30, 31, 1891.
Plainfield Evening News, Saturday, May 23, 1888.
Plainfield & North Plainfield City Directory, 1879-80.
Plainfield & North Plainfield City Directory, 1894-5.
Pratt, Dorothy & Richard, A Guide to Early American Homes.
Smiley, F.T. History of Plainfield, 1891.
† Charles H. Detwiller, Jr., A.I.A., Architect and Marilyn Rupp, Architectural Historian, Crescent Area Historic District, Union County, New Jersey, nomination document, 1979, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

August 25, 2013

We received a very interesting email from a gentleman who grew up in South Plainfield and has vivid memories of Mrs. Mellick's estate, Giggleswick. As we all know, the "personal" memories of these homes & gardens, (and club members), make the most fascinating stories. And this one is no exception.

For those not familiar, Giggleswick was the large estate adjacent to Plainfield CC. To this day, if you peer over the parking lot fence, you can still see the allee of Oaks and an old gazebo – we really must go there and photograph it!

As the gentleman who wrote in can attest, the house sadly burned and then Mr. Detwiller and other PGC husbands, developed the land into the current condo complex. We can thank PGC member Marge Elliott for writing down the history and Phyllis, for finding it last winter and uploading it on the website.

In 1918, the garden was photographed for Home and Garden magazine (along with founding member Mrs. Dumont's estate) In the sole photograph from the magazine, you can see the incredible cascading pools and rock formations. The magazine enlightens us to the use of these boulders as it states the property is part of the large glacial moraine of the area (basically, when the ice receded it left large boulders behind.) Who knew we have been traipsing all over a glacial moraine?!

This past winter, we converted some old film and discovered a brief snippit of Mrs. Mellick and her Giggleswick. To learn more about Giggleswick and Mrs. Mellick (a transplanted Brit), click her link:

Founding Member: Ella Hartley Mellick (Mrs. George P.) '15

And check out this personal memory and get a glimpse into Plainfield circa 1970's: Email Exchange Regarding Giggleswick

If anyone has memories of Giggleswick, please write in!

RESPONSE from Martie:

I believe the Kroll family lived at Giggleswick before it burned. That would be our (deceased) member Nancy Kroll who was the mother of former member Priscilla Kroll Farnum and the mother-in-law of Sally Kroll, our former member and PGC president. You may want to check this out to be certain.

Woman "Mrs. Francis P." listed with Mrs. John P. Stevens refers to Fanny Day. She lived in an apartment in the Stevens house after the death of Mr. John P. Stevens (Jack).

PGC member Helen Babcock Nash and her husband Phillip rented 1707 Woodland Avenue from the Stevens for over 40 years.

As you know, I live at 1717 Woodland Avenue (actually a private lane off Woodland although the house has a Woodland Avenue address) on land purchased from Jack and Edith Stevens.

Penny (Kroll) and Bill Barrett lived next door on the lane to us for many years. Penny is the sister of Priscilla and daughter of Nancy.



1954 - 1970 296 Images from Plainfield Library Scrapbook


April 23, 1965 Garden Club History Reviews Past 50 Years

A history of the Plainfield Garden Club was presented to members Wednesday by Mrs. Edward H. Ladd 3rd at the club's annual meeting in the home of Mrs. Edgar F. Davis, 1080 Rahway Rd. Mrs. Alexander Kroll was co-hostess.

The history has been published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Garden Club, which was formed in 1915.

The first part of the history was written by a charter member, now deceased, Mrs. Thomas Van Boskerck. The second part, covering the years from 1940-1965, was written by Mrs. Gerald Furman, and highlights the accomplishment of all the departments of the club.

Special emphasis is given to the three continuing projects: the Shakespeare Garden started in 1927; the Dogwood Collection, sponsored since 1946; and the Iris Garden begun in 1932; all in Cedar Brook Park. These three gardens have received national recognition and many awards for excellence.

The Union County Park Commission has just named the dogwood planting, "The Harriette R. Halloway Cornus Collection," in appreciation of the club's many years of service to park activities. Miss Halloway, 90, is the Garden Club's oldest living member and an authority on cornus and iris.

Mrs. Edwin J. Fitzpatrick, nominating chairman, present the slate of officers which was elected as follows: President, Mrs. Wayne J. Holman Jr.; first vice president, Mrs. David Sanders; second vice president, Mrs. F. Gregg Burger; treasurer, Mrs. William K. Dunbar Jr.; recording secretary, Mrs. C. Northrup Pond; and corresponding secretary, Mrs. C. Benson Wigton Jr.

Mrs. Holman and Mrs. Sandford will attend the annual meeting of the Garden Club of America in Cleveland, Ohio from May 10-14. Mrs. Holman will present a resume of recent program given by members of the Plainfield Club on the botanical background of the mallow plant family.

Mrs. John Wells of Valley Road, Watchung, said the club will again give scholarships to the Audubon summer camps or the N. J. State School of Conservation at Stokes Forest, as has been done since 1941. School teachers and scout leaders are eligible to apply for the scholarships.

A colored movie, entitled "Wings Over Blitzen," was shown, picturing wildlife in its natural state in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore.

Tea followed the meeting. Mrs. C. Benson Wigton and Mrs. Blanche P. Nash presided at the tea table, which was decorated with an arrangement of white spring flowers.

1973-1974 PGC Directory

1974-1975 Directory

1996-1997 PGC Annual Report

May 14, 1983 Centennial The Wardlaw Hartridge School

Giggleswick by Marjorie Blackman Elliott, 1989

1985-1986 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1985-1986 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1985-1986 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1995-1996 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1995-1996 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1993-1994 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1993-1994 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1989-1990 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1984-1985 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1991-1992 Year Book of the Garden Club of America

1991-1992 Year Book of the Garden Club of America

1988-1989 Year Book for the Plainfield Garden Club

1990-1991 Year Book for the Plainfield Garden Club

1992-1993 Year Book for the Plainfield Garden Club

1992-1993 Year Book for the Plainfield Garden Club

Club History by Anne Marie v. G. Seybold

1984-1985 History of the Plainfield Garden Club by Anne Marie v. G. Seybold


Then in March, 1966 came a very special event. Designed by Mrs. William Elliott with the assistance of Mmes. Wayne Holman, Victor King, Alex Kroll, Edgar Davis, Richard Sheble, Bruce Reid and Benson Wigton, the "Back Yard Garden" captured the first prize for the Club at the International Flower Show at the Coliseum in New York City.

Much in demand throughout the Zone are our three accredited judges, Mmes. Frost, Sheble and Kroll.

1987-1988 Annual Report


The In-Club Flower Show was entered by almost all the membership, and evidenced by judging that took almost 2 1/2 hours, was highly praised. The theme of the show reflected by various Shakespeare quotes as defining the classes, was to commemorate our own Shakespeare Garden.

The Blue Ribbons were won by the following:

Novice: Joan Hunziker
Arrangement incorporating bricks: Betty Hackman
Line arrangement: Marge Elliott
Arrangement using daffodils: Evie Madsen
Arrangement using spring flowers: Mary Moon

We had two entries in the Zone IV Flower Show. Nancy and Sally Korll entered the miniature class and won a 3rd. Betty Hackman entered the Native Star Class and won an Honorable Mention.

I want to thank all members who made arrangements for the meetings. And special thanks to Nancy Kroll, Betty Hackman and Mary Moon for all their help throughout the year.

Respectfully submitted,
Sally Kroll

1987-1988 Annual Report

1989-1990 Annual Report

From the 1989-1990 Annual Report:

"The harvest Show at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum was held in September. Barbara Sandford won a third prize in her class, and Betty Hackman and Nancy Kroll received an honorable mention for their joint arrangement."

1995-1996 Annual Report

1995-1996 Annual Report

1995-1996 Annual Report

1995-1996 Annual Report

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Hillside Historic District

August 29, 2015

Hillside Historic District has announced a new website:

They have neatly listed the homes in the district in a similar fashion to our Homes & Gardens page.

It is no exaggeration to say that the PGC helped build Hillside. In fact our first club meeting took place at Mrs. Connor's home at 999 Hillside. Take a look at our PGC Hillside Historic District resident members:

807 Hillside Avenue
Browne, Miss Elizabeth B. '37

810 Hillside Avenue
Barnhart, Mrs. Noah Chisholm (Susan Stevens) '15

816 Hillside Avenue
Zerega, Miss Bertha Virginia '23

817 Hillside Avenue
Lawton, Mrs. Richard M. (Edith Clarke) '21

832 Hillside Avenue
Yates, Mrs. Frederick Washburn (Bertha Kedzie Cornwell) '15

921 Hillside Avenue
Detwiller, Miss Laura Cecelia '29
Detwiller, Mrs. Charles H. (Catherine or "Cath" Campbell), Jr. '57

922 Hillside Avenue
Atterbury, Mrs. Albert Hoffman (Emma H. Baker) '15

930 Hillside Avenue
Corey, Mrs. Ella J. '15

937 Hillside Avenue
Hunn, Mrs. John T. Sharpless (Hope Ivins) '37
Ivins, Mrs. DeWitt Clinton (Louise Morton Fox) '15
Ivins, Mrs. Clinton Fox (Marguerite Carpenter) '33

945 Hillside Avenue
Stevens, Mrs. Horace N. (Helen Coburn) '15

950 Hillside Avenue
Harlow, Mrs. Edward Dexter (Elise Cochran Martin) '15
Martin, Mrs. Francis A. (Mary Keech Turner) '22

955 Hillside Avenue
Wallace, Mrs. Frederick W. (Grace Seccomb) '15
deForest, Mrs. Henry Lockwood (Amy Brighthurst Brown) '33

966 Hillside Avenue
Warren, Mrs. Frank D. '15

970 Hillside Avenue
Barnhart, Mrs. Noah Chisholm (Susan Stevens) '15
Kroll, Mrs. Alexander (Nancy Dwinnell or Mrs. Prince H. Gordon) '60

975 Hillside Avenue
Runkle, Mrs. Harry Godley (Jennie Fitz Randolph) '15
Albin, Mrs. Leland D. (Jennie Hoag) '36
King, Mrs. Victor E. D. (Yasmina S.) '78
Whitehead, Mrs. James Harold (Jean Fitz-Randolph Heiberg) '43

980 Hillside Avenue
Hall, Mrs. Frederic L. (Anne Garrigues Wigton) '68
Stuart, Mrs. Linden (Jeanette W.), Jr. '52
Wigton, Mrs. Charles Benson (Garrigues) '45

982 Hillside Avenue
Baker, Mrs. Clifford Myron (Margaret Drayton) '32
Valiant, Mrs. John (Katharine Drayton) '40

985 Hillside Avenue
Stevens, Mrs. John Peters ("J.P.") '15
Stevens, Mrs. Horace Nathaniel (Helen Coburn) '15
Stevens, Mrs. John Peters ("J.P."), Jr. (Edith S.) '37
Stevens, Mrs. Robert Ten Broeck (Dorothy Goodwin Whitney) '37

996 Hillside Avenue
Wallace, Mrs. Frederick W. (Grace Seccomb) '15
Murray Townsend
Mooney, Mrs. Wandell McMaster (Alice Joy McGee) '47

999 Hillside Avenue
Conner, Mrs. William A. (Florence Tupper) '15
Wigton, Mrs. William Garrigues (Ann Hayes) '55

1000 Hillside Avenue
Lawrence, Mrs. Chester B. (Florence B.), Jr. '22

1005 Hillside Avenue
McWilliams, Mrs. Howard (Anna Louise Waldbridge/Mrs. Paul Taylor Brown) '22

1007 Hillside Avenue
Lockwood, Mrs. Frederick M. (Hazel Marshall) '52
Marshall, Mrs. Henry P. (Dorothy Burke) '30

1009 Hillside Avenue
Tracy, Mrs. Evarts '22
Tracy, Mrs. Howard Crosby (Minerva Bingham Lamson) '15
Tracy, Mrs. J. Evarts (Caroline Frederica Streuli) '22

1019 Hillside Avenue
Baker, Mrs. Clifford Myron (Margaret Drayton) '28

1030 Hillside Avenue
Stillman, Mrs. William Maxson (Ethel Lucile Titsworth) '42

1035 Hillside Avenue
Streuli, Mrs. Alfred F. H. (Frederica Michelle Dwyer Hooper) '15

1045 Hillside Avenue
Timpson, Mrs. Lewis Gouverneur (Helen Frances Waring) '15
Waring, Mrs. Orville G. (Dorothy Fleming) '35

1046 Hillside Avenue
Genung, Mrs. Alfred Gawthrop (Dorothy or "Dot" Madsen) '69
Madsen, Mrs. John (Evelyn or "Evie" Wilson) '70

1300 Prospect Avenue
Streuli, Mrs. Alfred F. H. (Frederica Michelle Dwyer Hooper) '15
Tracy, Mrs. J. Evarts (Caroline Frederica Streuli) '22

1234 Watchung Avenue
Stevenson, Mrs. E. Vickers '41

1239 Watchung Avenue
Brown, Miss Edna M. '34

December 12, 2015 Email

In our Inbox today was this lovely email:

While doing genealogy research I have come across your PGC website. My grandfather, John Kilgannon, was caretaker for the Mellick/Kroll estate. He and my grandmother and their children lived in the cottage down the driveway from the big house. I can remember bringing the newspapers down to the big house accompanied by the Kroll's large Irish Setter, "Big Red" each Sunday morning. There is a picture of me, my Dad and Grandfather in front of a huge lilac bush in the apple orchard on my first Holy Communion Day in 1956. My grandfather passed in 1959 and my grandmother moved in with us in Edison. I have many, many wonderful memories as a child of playing in the rock pools, the apple orchard and on the bridal path. My grandfather used to drive an old "woody" which was parked in the very large barn of a garage. There was a clock that was in the garage which froze that my brother has with a pencil written history on the back. I can remember the huge hydrangea bushes that were right outside my grandparents front door although that was never the door we entered. We always went around the back of the cottage up one step and into the house. That whole property was a kid's dream of a place to spend time. I have some pictures of the estate - one of my grandfather with a cow in a field with the big house behind him. Great memories!

Learn more about "Giggleswick" here:
Mellick, Mrs. George P. (Ella Hartley) '15
Mellick, Mrs. Roger Drew (Catherine Whiting Ginna) '28
Kroll, Mrs. Alexander (Nancy Dwinnell or Mrs. Prince H. Gordon) '60
Barrett, Mrs. William R. (Penny Kroll) '67
Farnum, Mrs. Henry W. (Priscilla Kroll) '80
Kroll, Mrs. Steven (Sally Lindsay) '80