Plainfield Garden Club

Member: Bird, Mrs. James (Ruth Carolyn or "Ruthie" Clark) '63 President 1968 - 1970

1970 - 1995 Address: 242 East Avenue, Bay Head

1984 - 1994: Affiliate
1995 - 1996: Resigned

Mrs. Ruthie Bird is a cousin of Mrs. Anne Shepherd. Mrs Bird's mother was sister to Anne Shepherd's mother, Plainfield Garden Club member Mrs. Lounsbery Morrell.

News of Mrs. Bird's passing

October 2004 Newsletter

January 3, 20011 memory of Mrs. Bird from her cousin, Anne Shepherd

Anne recalled that Mrs. Bird's mother and her mother were sisters, (the Loungsberry girls) although Mrs. Bird's mother was not in the Plainfield Garden Club. She also remembers that she was born in 1924 and everyone remarked on how young Mrs. Bird was for assuming the Presidency in 1968.

Anne quickly did the arthimetic and realized that Mrs. Bird, her cousin, was 44 at the time. "Not that young!" exclaimed Anne. Of course, maybe Mrs. Bird seemed young to Anne's mother, Mrs. Morrell. When it was suggested that she perhaps had many young children at the time that would make her seem young, Anne said that no, she only had one child.

Anne remembered that she retired to the shore where she was very active in a garden club there.

From the Corresponding Secretary file

postmark Mar 26 1995

Dear Jane –

I have been giving a great deal of thought to my membership in the Plainfield Garden Club and have come to the conclusion that it is time for me to submit my resignation.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my years as an active and affiliate member but find it is growing more difficult for me to attend the meetings.

Thank you very much for taking care of this request.



Monday, the twenty-fifth

from the Corresponding Secretary file

Corresponding Secretary Annual Report June 13, 1996

Plainfield by John A. Grady and Dorothe M. Pollard

In January 1915, Andrew Carnegie gave $50,000 to the city of Plainfield for construction of a new addition to the cramped quarters in the old Job Male building. The new structure of Italian Renaissance style was designed by New York architects Wilder and White and contained a reading room, 30 feet wide with 22-foot ceilings. The exterior, constructed of limestone and tapestry brick, "will be handsome and striking, and still restrained and dignified."

The mayor and members of the Common Council seal the document box before the cornerstone-laying ceremony. In reality, the men were simply posing. Photographer Paul Collier took the picture at 1:50 PM, dashed home, and developed the film. He then returned at 2:37 PM so the print could be put in the box. The copper bos was then sealed and ready for the 3:00 PM cornerstone ceremony. Shown are the following: (seated) Elias H. Bird, Juan A. Babcock, Francis J. Blatz, Thomas F. Hyland, and Charles C. Graves; (standing) G. Herbert Condict, Theodore A. Martin, John J. Carroll, John Close, Charles A. Sminck, Arthur Crone, Davide Dunavan, Lewis B. Booth and Leighton Calkins.

New York Times Obituary James R. Bird

Paid Notice: Deaths BIRD, JAMES R.
Published: March 21, 2002

BIRD-James R. On March 19, 2002 at the age of 81 years. Beloved husband of Ruth (nee Clark), devoted father of James R. Bird, Jr. and father-in-law of Anita M. Bird of Lake Forest, IL. Graduated from the Feagin School of Drama, former Broadway actor; owner of Bird Letter Service; Vestryman and Senior Warden of All Saints' Episcopal Church, Bay Head; member and former Trustee of the Bay Head Yacht Club; member of the Log Cabin Gun Club. Served in the U.S. Army in World War II. Funeral service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, March 22, 2002 at All Saints' Episcopal Church, Lake Avenue, Bay Head, NJ. In lieu of flowers, contributions to All Saints' Episcopal Church would be very much appreciated. For information: Van Hise and Callagan Funeral Home, 812 Arnold Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.

New York Times Obituary Ruth Caroline Clark Bird

Published: August 19, 2004

BIRD–Ruth Caroline (nee Clark). Loving wife to the late James R. Bird and devoted mother to Ray Bird and his wife, Anita. She passed away after a long illness in Point Pleasant, NJ, on Monday, August 16, 2004. A longtime resident of Plainfield and Bay Head, NJ, she was a devout parishioner of All Saints Church in Bay Head, serving both as president of the Altar Guild and an officer of the Women's Guild. She was a past president of the Junior League and the Garden Club, both of Plainfield. She was also an active member of Bay Head Yacht Club, the Seaweeders Club, and the Clams Investment Club and the Nassau Club of Princeton. Born in Plainfield and raised in Bound Brook, she was an alumna of the Hartridge School, St. Mary's Hall, and Douglass College. A funeral service commemorating Ruth Bird's life will be held at All Saints Church in Bay Head on Friday, August 20. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations kindly be given to the Altar Guild, All Saints Church, 500 Lake Avenue, Bay Head, NJ 08742. For information, call Van Hise and Callagan Funeral Home in Point Pleasant Beach.

821 Colonial Circle

Plainfield Public Library Detwiller Plans;collection=blueprints/search_results;architect=detwiller;collection=blueprints;_page=3/blueprint;id=597;num=69/

Collection Detwiller
Title Alterations to Residence Mr. & Mrs. James Bird 821 Colonial Circle Plainfield N.J.
Description Plans and elevations for addition and alterations to a house, including a tow-car garage.
Building Type Residence
Building Use Single Family
Work Type Alteration and/or Addition
Elevation Yes
Condition Acceptable

Blueprint ID D-597
Permit 36246
Year of Permit 1956
Microfilm Roll 0030
Microfilm Frame 0472
Condition 1003
Address 821 Colonial Circle
Historic District Broadway
City Plainfield
Architect Charles H. Detwiller, Jr.
Architect Firm
Owner James Bird
Business Owner
City of Plainfield
Planning Department
Historic District Addresses
Address 821-823 Colonial Circle
Block 630
Lot 16
Year Built 1935
Architectural Style Colonial Revival
Historic District Broadway

April 1, 1924 CLARK - LOUNSBERRY

April 1, 1924
CLARK- LOUNSBERRY - New York Times 1 April 1924
The marriage of Miss Helena Trowbridge Lounsberry, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. Durell Lounsberry of Plainfield, N.J., and Herman Unger Clark, son of Edward Clark, took place yesterday afternoon at Grace Church in Plainfield, the Rev. E. Vickers Stevenson officiating.

Miss Margaret E. Lounsberry, sister of the bride, was maid of honor, and the attendants were the Misses Keyo Tetsuka, Marion Schuyler, Louise Earle, Margaret Fraker, Elizabeth Burke and Mrs. Charles M.

James L. Rianhard of Staten Island was the best man and the ushers were Wilshire Murray of East Orange, N.J.; Duncan Mellor of Providence, R.I.; Charles W. Newcomb of Orange and Nathaniel Stevens of Plainfield.

Editor's Note: I have this family with the surname spelled Lounsbury. Does anyone know which is correct?

December 20, 2011

From Anne Shepherd: Helen Trowbridge Lounsberry was my aunt. She was the mother of [PGC] member Ruth Clark Bird. My grandmother's maiden name was Trowbridge and her married named Lounsberry.

Courier News articles for "Bird"

Bird Elias H. 2/16/1943 Obituary
Bird Elias H. 2/11/1943 News
Bird Elias H. 3/28/1950 News
Bird Elias H. 2/7/1958 News
Bird Ellen (Cose) husband John T. 12/29/1936 News
Bird Ellen (Cose) husband John T. 4/5/1954 Obituary
Bird Harry Augusta 5/23/1959 News
Bird Harry Augusta 2/17/1961 Obituary
Bird John T. wife Ellen (Cose) 12/29/1936 News
Bird Lewis R., Sr. 11/28/1950 News
Bird Lewis R., Sr. 11/29/1950 Obituary
Bird William O. 4/3/1981 News death
Bird William O. 7/2/1981 News

New York Times October 13, 1895

New York Times October 13, 1895


Entertainment by the Dorcas Society – Monday Afternoon Club

PLAINFIELD, N.J., Oct. 12 – A social event of the last week was the entertainment given by the Dorcas Society, King's Daughters, at the home of Miss Maude Lowrie, in Park Avenue, Monday evening. It was titled "The Circulating Library," and was given for the purpose of raising funds for the benefit of the poor of the city. The guests on arriving were given a blank catalogue, with only numbers on it, and they were to guess the titles of books represented. The Reception Committee was composed of Miss Bowers, Miss Brown, Miss Lowrie and Miss Langdon. Those presiding at the talbes were Mrs. Crane and Miss Wyckoff, assisted by Mrs. Clark, Mrs. C. T. Pond, Miss Minnie French, Miss Green, Miss Ella Blish, and Miss Maltly. In the library were Miss Crane, Miss Cornwell, Miss Lou French, Miss Millie Landgon, Miss Etta BLish, Miss Alice Hayners, Miss Bessie Titsworth, and Miss Kline.

S.E. Hull of Duer Street has returned from Broadway, where he spent the Summer.

The Monday Afternoon Club, Plainfield's leading woman's club, held it sifrst meeting of the Fall. On account of repairs being made at the Casino or the Union County Country Club, where the meeings are usually held, the ladies gathered in the parlors of the Congregational Church. The subject upon which papers are to be read for the coming year is "Some Great Florentines and Their Times." Two papers were read Monday – one by Mrs. Josiah Brown and the other by Mrs. Robert Lowry. Next month the paper will be read by Miss Kenyon, Principal of the Young Ladies' Seminary.

H. M. Stevens of Fanwood gave a reception at the Fanwood Clubhouse Friday evening.

Miss Nellie Saums of Ricefiled is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. R. V. Saums of Clinton Avenue.

George Barton has returned to Keyport after a visit with Mrs. Barton of Madison Avenue.

Edward Hooley of Rockview Avenue has gone to Atlanta.

The Rev. E. L. Hyde of Hyde Park, Mass., is visiting friends in Plainfield.

The Misses Anthony of Crescent Avenue have returned from Europe.

Miss Bessie Booker of Richmond, Va., has been visitng Miss Dryden of West Seventh Street.

James Smith of Elmwood Place has returned from Amesbury, Mass.

Miss May Haberle, who has been visitng her cousin, Miss Lillie Haberle, has returned to her home in Orange.

Miss Mary Ryder of Brooklyn, who has been visiting at the home of Robert Lucky of Fifth Street, has returned home.

Charles L. Case and family of Central Avenue returned this week from their European trip.

Miss Lydia Duffert of Morris County is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Van Dyke of East Front Street.

Mr. and Mrs. John Burnett of Brookyln have been visiting Mr. and Mrs. Charles Doane of Fifth Street.

Charles Potter of West Seventh Street has returned from Philadelphia.

Mrs. Florence Howe Hall of Madison Avenue is in Massachusetts delivering a course of lectures.

Miss Mary and Miss Grace Shreve of New York are guests of B. J. Shreve of Grove Street.

Miss Agnes Baldwin of Brooklyn is the guest of Miss Haviland of Washington Park.

Benjamin Terry of Bridgeport is the guest of the Misses Livergey of Park Avenue.

Thomas H. Keller of East Front Street left this week for a trip South.

C. C. Burke and family have left for their Winter home in New York, after spending the Summer at the cottage on Ravine Road Netherwood.

William Tyler of West Eigth Street has gone to Europe.

David Krymer of West Second Street has gone to Baltimore.

Dr. Frank Searles and Mrs. Searles have returned to Bayonne, after a visit with Dr. and Mrs. H. H. Lourie of Park Avenue.

Dr. John H. Carman and fmaily of Somerset Street returned this week from the Adirondacks.

Dr. B. Van D. Hedges of Watchung Avenue is home from his outing in Maine.

Miss Caroline Fitz Randolph, daughter of ex-Mayor L. V. F. Randolph of East Front Street, sailed Saturday for Europe.

2004 September thru December Board and Meeting Minutes

September 20, 2004 Board Meeting Minutes

Corresponding Secretary: Susan Fraser received a "thank you" note from Barbara Sandford and a letter of tribute to Mrs. James R. Bird, President of the Plainfield Garden Club from 1968 to 1970, on the occasion of her passing sent by Evie Madsen.

September 24, 2004 General Meeting Minutes

President: Kathy Andrews

Mrs. Andrews informed members of the death of Mrs. James Bird who was the President of the Plainfield Garden Club from 1968 to 1970. A moment of silence was observed in honor of her passing.

2004 September thru December Newsletters

October 2004 Newsletter:

In Memoriam

Mrs. James Bird who was President of the Plainfield Garden Club from 1968 to 1970 recently passed away. A moment of silence was observed at the September 24th meeting.

from Anne Shepherd's memorabilia


from Anne Shepherd's memorabilia


1957 Check Book

No. 1257
May 9, 1957
Bird Letter Service
Flower Show Programs

1957 Check Book

No. 1270
Sept. 17, 1957
Bird Letter Services
Tickes ??? for
slide showing John Ott

1958 Check Book

No. 1288
January 20, 1958
Bird Letter Services

1958 Check Book

No. 1303
April 17, 1958
Bird Letter Service
Iris Garden Calendars

1958 Check Book

No. 1320
Oct 9. 1958
Bird Letter
flower show pages

Residence of W. D. Bird, 1173 Kensington Avenue

In this illustrated book, the Courier-News has sought to present some of the representative homes of The Plainfields and adjoining territory, together with such other buildings of interest and importance as would serve to convey an idea of the physical attractioins of one of the most beautiful and healthful cities in the Metropolitan District. The homes reflect the desirability of this community as a place of residence.

The churches, schools, clubs and public buildings pictured serve to give the stranger some conceptions of the beauty of the city and its right to be termed the "Queen City" of New Jersey.

With picturesque Watchung Hills as a background, this section with all its natural advantages, plus a progressive spirit, coupled with high class local governing bodies and a live Chamber of Commerce, is pecularily adapted for home sites and, as a result, it has enjoyed a steady and healthy growth for many years.

publication circa 1917

Crescent Avenue Historic District

Crescent Avenue Historic District form for the National Register of Historic Places

815 Park Avenue
c. 1880

In 1894, the home of John Clark, "Broker." In 1920 the residence of Rev. John J. Moment, pastor for thirty years of the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Dentil molding and Palladian window in the gable gives a classic feeling. Stone lintels and sills. Strong projecting cornice in the gable. Segmental curved hood over the front door hood, supported by consoles. Eastlake patterns in the verge board and on the lintels.

A nice building unfortunately damaged by the sandblasting of the brick which has changed the character of the structure. Otherwise, it is one of the finer representative houses in the District.

Crescent Avenue Historic District

Crescent Avenue Historic District form for the National Register of Historic Places

131 Crescent Avenue
c. 1880
Three car garage and gardener's cottage
In 1895, the home of E. B. Clark, "Insurance, N. Y."

One of the few surviving porte cocheres in the District. Abounds with Eastlake ornamentation in the gables and on the incised window heads and in the porch treatment with champered columns.

Seven apartments.

A most interesting house and of of the few and completely Eastlake influenced designs in the District, only slightly altered and posessing much style and interesting decorations.

Nov. 12, 1980

1954 - 1970 296 Images from Plainfield Library Scrapbook

Thursday, December 17, 1964 The Courier News

Plainfield Garden Club Meets in Lee House, Scotch Plains

The Plainfield Garden Club was entertained yesterday in historic Lee House, home of Mr. and Mrs. William P. Elliott at 11 Black Birch Rd., Scotch Plains.

Two new members were welcomed by Mrs. Wayne J. Holman, president. Co-hostesses were Mrs. Victor King and Mrs. James R. Bird.

Mrs. Bird introduced the program of readings on "The Symbols and Legends of Christmas" given by Mrs. A. D. Seybold and Mrs. King. As the symbols were describe, they were displayed b Mrs. Benson Wigton Jr.

A letter of congratulations from Mayor Robert C. Maddox to the club member Mrs. Alden DeHart has received a state award in the "Green Thumb Competition" of the New Jersey Tercentenary Commission for her work as chairman of the grounds committee of Drake House.

A member of the Plainfield Historical Society, she supervised outdoor plantain at the museum with funds for the planting donated by the Plainfield Garden Club. She also was awarded a special rose bush which will be planted at Drake House in her name in the spring.

Presiding at the tea table were Mrs. Holman, Mrs. William S. Tyler, Mrs. Webster Sandford, Mrs. Noah C. Barnhart, Mrs. J. Harold Loizeaux and Mrs. Charles H. Detwiller.

Thursday, December 17, 1964 The Courier News

The Courier-News
Plainfield, N. J., Thursday, December 17, 1964

Garden Club Entertained at Historic Lee House

(Club Member)

The Plainfield Garden Club was entertained yesterday by Mr. and Mrs. William P. Elliott in the historic Lee House, located at 11 Black Birch Rd., Scotch Plains.

The ghosts of the historic homestead must be rattling their skeletons with joy this Christmas season because at last, through the efforts of the owners, the house has achieved the charm and beauty it deserves.

The guests stepped over the threshold to a scene of great charm. In the center hall stood a Christmas tree on which members hung gifts of candy, wrapped as ornaments. Later the gifts were taken to Lyons Veterans Hospital where for many years the club has contributed greens and gifts at Christmas.

The president, Mrs. Wayne J. Holman, conducted the meeting and welcomed two new members. The hostess, a member of the club, was assisted by Mrs. Victor King and Mrs. James R. Bird.

Stormy History
A varied and sometimes stormy history has characterized Lee House since 1725, when the original small structure was built at the corner of Cooper and Terrill Rds., by the Lee family. During the Revolutionary War, the house was on the line of march of both British and Colonial armies, and many a tired soldier warmed his feet at its open fires.

The little house was moved to Raritan Rd. in 1828, to be joined to another farmhouse built in 1750 by Moses Frazee. One hundred thirty-five years later, Mr. and Mrs. Elliott had the house moved to its present location. Barns and other small buildings were moved also, and now are grouped around Lee House in companionable symmetry.

The Elliotts have added a wing to the house and restored the old brick and stone, the ceiling beams and original floor boards to keep it authentic Early American home.

The program was announced by Mrs. Bird. Readings on "The Symbols and Legends of Christmas" were given by Mrs. A. D. Seybold and Mrs. King, with incidental music played on the harp b 12-year old Joyce Heiman. As the symbols were described, they were displayed by Mrs. Benson Wigton Jr.

The first of the symbols, an "Advent Wreath," was made of evergreens with four white candles, which are traditionally lighted one at a time on each of the four Sundays during the Advent Season.

Gold Angel
A gold angel brought from Oberammergau, Germany by Mrs. Seybold, was displayed as the second symbol. The reading explained that angels are used throughout the world in forms varying from rough clay figures to the finest of wood carvings and porcelains.

Among symbolic Christmas greens are holly, ivy and mistletoe. Long ago it was thought that holly was the man's plant, ivy the woman's and the one brought into the house first indicated which sex would rule the house that year.

Bells, used to proclaim the joyful tidings, were shown and that beloved yuletide symbol, the Christmas Tree. According to one story, Martin Luther in 1528 cut down a small evergreen tree and carried it into his house, where he fastened candles to the branches and lighted them to share with his family the wonders of the Christmas sky.

A beautiful creche was shown as the most holy and revered symbol. The program ended with angelic tones of the harm and the beloved Christmas blessing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Afterwards guests adjourned to the dining room to exchange greetings before the centuries old fireplace. The tea table was decorated with brilliant red poinsettia massed in an old brass milk pan. Brass candlesticks and an antique samovar, from which coffee was served, completed the picture of early American hospitality.

Presiding at the tea table at intervals were Mrs. Wayne J. Holman, Mrs. William S. Tyler, Mrs. Webster Sandford, Mrs. Noah C. Barnhart, Mrs. J. Harold Loizeaux and Mrs. Charles H. Detwiller Jr.

1973-1974 PGC Directory

1973-1974 Visiting Gardens Chairman

1974-1975 Directory

1975-1976 The Junior League of Plainfield

Nominating, Sustainers: Charlon Clark

1955-1957: Mrs. James Raymond Bird

May 14, 1983 Centennial The Wardlaw Hartridge School

1985-1986 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1993-1994 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1995-1996 Annual Report

Plainfield Library Bio Card

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

February 24, 2015 Email from Anne Morrell Shepherd

In answer to your email. Mrs Irons was a friend of my grand mothers, Mrs Helen Flanders a friend of my aunt, Helen Clark, Ruth Clark Bird's (ex President of PGC and my cousin). mother. I knew of Helen Flanders. She was a single mother ( divorced or widower I don't know.) She had daughters, maybe five. I remember this because one year two or maybe three were married within months of each other. The bridesmaids wore the same green velvet dresses to each of the weddings adorned with different head pieces and different colored flowers. One was at Christmas with red flowers, one in February with red and white flowers and valentine shaped head pieces. I am sure there was a third but don't remember the color theme.
One of the daughters lived in Montpelier, Vt. in 1949 or 50 and had me over for supper. I was at Vermont College in Montpelier. Mrs. Helen Flanders lived on the north side of Watchung Ave. between Hillside and Woodland. I can picture the house but don't know number My grandmother (Ruth Lounsbery) loved to attend weddings. In those days church weddings were open to any church member and she would take me along.

Detwiller blueprits 821 Colonial Circle

August 8, 2015

Library offers trove of vintage Plainfield home blueprints for sale

Plainfield homeowners and history buffs are getting a one-of-a-kind opportunity as the Plainfield Public Library prepares to offer upwards of 3,000 blueprint originals from its Detwiller Collection for sale to the public.

The blueprints offered for sale are part of a trove of many thousands recovered from a dumpster at City Hall by the late Plainfield architect and artist Charles Detwiller.

While many of Plainfield's grand homes and mansion are among the blueprints (though fewer than originally, owing to some 'fingering' before strict controls were put in place), the appeal of the collection will be stronger for those who live in or admire the more modest vintage homes from the turn of the 20th century to the World War II era.

These homes include many classic Tudors and other 'cottage' and 'revival' styles, as well as 'foursquares', ranches and Cape Cods and more contemporary stules.

These represent the bulk of Plainfield's building stock from its most expansive period and they were often enough improved or expanded – giving rise to the need for plans showing the original building and the proposed alterations to be filed with the City's inspections department.

It is those blueprints, which have now been cataloged and digitized, that are being offered for sale. In library parlance, they have been de-accessioned, meaning that they no longer need be kept permanently by the Library and are available for dispostion to private parties.

The Library has a portal to the Charles Detwiller Blueprint Collection on its website (see here) and has made a complete list of the blueprints for sale also available online (see here).

The list is alphabetized by street name, and then number. However, I would advise reading the Library's instructions closely so you make the proper notations for your request (see here) – easing the staff's task in finding the item(s) in which you are interested. Paying attention to the suggested time frames needed and numbers of items per request will help you avoid headaches. So, please read and follow the instructions carefully – as carpenters like to say, 'measure twice, cut once'.

The sale will run from September 1 to November 13, 2015 in a two-step process –

You check the offerings to find items that interest you, making careful notations; and

You and the Library work out a pick-up appointment, at which you will be able to view the actual items and make a final decision on your purchase.

Single-page blueprints are priced at $50 each and multiple-page sets at $100. Cash or credit cards are fine, but the Library will not accept personal checks.

Proceeds of the sale will be used to finance the further digitization of the blueprint collection – meaning that we can look forward to another offering of materials at some future point.

The Detwiller Collection is absolutely unique in its size and scope, covering decades of Plainfield history and thousands of buildings throughout the city. Plainfield residents owe Charlie Detwiller a debt of gratitude for his perspicacity that cannot be repaid.

And we owe a debt of gratitude to Library Director Joe Da Rold for the vision that saw in these rescued documents an invaluable resource for the community, and devised means and methods of ensuring these fragile records would be available to Plainfield residents permanently through having them digitized.

Mr. Detwiller is the late husband of PGC Honorary member Cath Detwiller. Mr. Detwiller's Aunt Laura was a long-time member of the PGC and a very talented botanical artist. Read about the Detwiller family here:

Detwiller, Mrs. Charles H. (Catherine or "Cath" Campbell), Jr. '57

Detwiller, Miss Laura Cecelia '29

And Mr. Detwiller's in-laws:

Campbell, Mrs. William Hall (Mabel C. Raper) '28

Davis, Mrs. F. Edgar (Dorothy or "Dottie" Campbell) '60