Plainfield Garden Club








Member: Harman, Mrs. John Frelinghuysen Randolph (Amelia Gray) '20

1922 Address: 505 West 8th Street, Plainfield

1932 Directory*: not listed

* = This directory is not dated but presumed to be from the year 1932.

Mrs. John F. Harman is the mother of PGC member Miss Elsie Harman '25

She is also the mother of Helen Harman who lived in Camden, SC at Duffields and was renown for growing camelias.

Gray Genealogy

Gray Genealogy

Amelia Gray, mar. in 1874 to John F. Harman; issue: Bry-
ant Gray Harman, b. Nov. i, 1878; Elsie Harman, b.
May 19, 1882; Helen Harman, b. Oct. 5, 1884. Mr.
Harman is of the firm of Handy & Harman, dealers in
bullion and specie. New York, and resides in Plainfield,
New Jersey.

Bryant Gray Harman ordained an Epsicopal minister 1905

resource

Handy and Harman

How the Price of Silver is Set

Handy & Harman has operated as dealers in silver and gold bullion (bars) and coins since its founding in 1876. On the basis of their experience in precious metals, Handy & Harman began, in 1892, to issue a daily silver price as a service for American silver producers. This price, based initially on conversion of the London price to American terms, rapidly became the basis for virtually all silver transactions throughout North America.

Handy & Harman's daily silver price quotation has long since become independent of London. Today it represents simply the lowest price at which, on any given day, Handy & Harman can buy silver for its own needs and this price is accepted as a guide for silver transactions worldwide.

John Harman

I didn't know it at the time but Handy and Harman was an old firm with a stellar reputation. Parker Handy founded the firm in 1867, after a career in banking, to deal in bullion and coinage in Manhattan. Later John Harman joined the firm as a director and the name changed. At the turn of the century the firm expanded into metal fabricators, and later into precious metal refining and industrial applications. In 1905 they began to offer line-brazing alloys and high temperature fluxes for joining rare metals. Today they operate seven metal refineries around the world, offer a product line of 45,000 precious metal products, and are a Fortune 500 company.

Email received through the website March 15, 2011

A new guestbook entry has been submitted from IP address 165.166.157.116.

To manage guestbook entries, log in at http://andyswebtools.com.

The contents of the new entry:

Name: Margaret Anderson Lane [Mrs. George S]
Email: lmargaret1@yahoo.com
Address: 2301 Moultrie Rd.
Camden S.C. 29020

Message:

Both my husband and I were born and brought up in Plainfield and it is always a delight to find a way to come home..Thank you for having this website. Yesterday [Mar. 14 2011] our Garden club had a tour of "Duffields" the
former home O Miss. Helen Harman who was also born in Plainfield and was once a member of your club.

After all these years the Beautiful camellia Japonica and Camellia Sasanqua gardens lon hidden have been uncovered and once again are a treasure to behold.

Miss. Harman bought the house in 1937 and was President of the Camden Garden Club from 1947 to 1950. What a small world and how often we come full circle.

If you would like to see a copy of a very nice magizine write-up with some pictures I would be happy to send it.
Very nice website Thank you again.

Sincerely.
Margaret Lane.

A Secret Garden Revealed

A Secret Garden Revealed
Careful digging brings a lost camellia garden to light so that it blooms once more.
By Jennifer Jewell

Photo by Brennen Westfall

For many gardeners, camellias are synonymous with history, beauty, and refinement. Flowering evergreen shrubs or small trees were idealized in Chinese and Japanese art and literature for centuries, but the first camellias only arrived in the United States in the late 1800s. In the early 20th century, interest in these flowers had reached a fevered pitch. While affluent landholders or botanical organizations were among the first to collect and cultivate camellias, some home gardeners also embraced the plant. In Camden, South Carolina, a restored small private garden known as Duffields boasts a remarkable collection of camellias, and an equally remarkable story.

Polly and Nick Lampshire purchased Duffields, a circa 1923 brick house, in 1992. At the time, the house was shrouded from view by overgrown shrubbery, large trees felled by Hurricane Hugo's 1989 devastation, and invasive vines such as smilax, ivy, and wisteria. The real estate agent told the Lampshires that the house had once had an extensive camellia garden created by one woman, Helen Harman, who had owned the property from the 1930s to the late '50s–but there was little hope that any of the plants had survived. The lost garden piqued the Lampshires' interest. They purchased the property after falling in love with its well-proportioned eclectic revival house and original pierced brick garden walls, which peeked out from beneath the overgrowth.

The Lampshires began exposing those walls in early 1993. Polly was removing ivy from a wall near the back door when she spotted a bright carnelian bloom. "I was amazed to see it, and so excited that it might be one of Miss Harman's flowers," she says. It was indeed a camellia on what looked to be an old plant. In an effort to identify the flower, the couple contacted a well-known local garden designer and historian, Sallie B. D. Iselin.

Ironically, Iselin and her husband had considered buying Duffields for their own young family, but the project seemed too much to take on. When the Lampshires hired her to help uncover the hidden garden, Iselin says she knew she was "meant to work in this garden in one way or another." The Lampshires and Iselin spent the entire first year clearing and cutting back the overgrowth.

Clearing went quickly at first, but then complications arose. The more overgrowth they removed, the more camellias they discovered. Iselin soon realized that the overgrowth served a protective purpose: It prevented trees felled by Hugo from crushing the remaining camellias and provided much needed shade for the plants. She had to proceed thoughtfully. She also began to see a pattern emerge. "Most of the surviving plants were on the large, north-facing woody slope behind the house," Iselin says.

Unraveling a Mystery
From the beginning, the team had been baffled by little bits of chicken wire sticking out of the ground on the property's north-facing slope, but they soon had a breakthrough. Wherever they found wire they also found the telltale cinnamon bark of Camellia sasanqua. Because this plant is hardier and more disease-resistant than other camellia varieties, Iselin surmised that Harman used C. sasanqua stock for grafting her C. japonica plants, and that the chicken wire protected the plant roots from voracious moles. From this start, the team developed a system for unveiling the shrouded garden: They followed clues, discovered new surviving plants, and then exposed only the north and east sides of the plants. After the plant hardened off, or toughened to the elements, the south and west sides were also uncovered.

During the first two winters, Iselin spent a great deal of time platting, photographing, and labeling each newly discovered plant, but by the end of the second winter, with still far too many survivors to categorize, she resorted to marking the plants that were not to be disturbed with pink construction tape.

The Lampshires also began to renovate the house in 1993, and soon they came upon a small library of garden books, including many American Camellia Society Yearbooks. The front and end plates of the books were a treasure trove of information, where Harman had scribbled notes detailing everything from when she had purchased plants and propagated new flowers to her timetable for fertilizing, pruning, and watering her garden. The notes illuminated the extent of Harman's expertise in the region, as well as her connections throughout the camellia world from Florida to California. They also helped identify some of the camellia species unearthed more than 50 years after they were first planted.

An Expert's Life Revealed
To learn more about the garden, the Lampshires and Iselin researched historical archives and city records, and tracked down some of Harman's contemporaries to speak to them. Those efforts, along with information uncovered in the garden itself, have revealed much about Harman and her secret garden. When she bought the house in 1937, she was a single woman from New Jersey and a long-time member of the Camden Garden Club, even serving as its president from 1947 to 1950.

"She was recognized as a camellia expert around South Carolina," says John Lindsay, a local nurseryman who was just 20 when Harman began mentoring him and taught him the art of grafting. "She was meticulous, and had a beautiful eye for design," Lindsay says, noting that Harman laid out all of the extensive plantings and paths throughout the property and maintained them herself with the help of just one other person. Lindsay recalls Harman gardening at all hours and maintaining a precise four-bin system of composting to keep potting materials separate from the lawn, camellia, and azalea cuttings. She drove all over the state to address gardening and horticultural groups, find new plants, and talk to other growers. "The sheer number of plants on Miss Harman's property was astonishing," Lindsay recalls.

At a time when there were few women in horticulture, Harman was a self-taught authority on the subject. She was as generous at dispensing her knowledge as she was with distributing her plants, but then tragedy struck in 1959, when a fire destroyed much of her house. Harman managed to save her library of garden notes, but by late 1960 she had returned to the Northeast, where she later died.

Thanks to the Lampshires' hard work, more than 100 Camellia japonica, Camellia sasanqua, and Camellia reticulata plants are growing again at Duffields once more. The pierced brick walls, previously held together only by the vines that obscured them, have been rebuilt. The terraced garden pathways have been restored, and the protective canopy of pines replanted. The garden is once again tended to meticulously.

From November through the beginning of April, when the flowers bloom, the Lampshire house is full of cut camellias arranged in vases or, more traditionally, only the blossoms floated in a bowl. The garden is featured on local garden tours; for information about dates, contact Sallie Iselin at charlestongarden@aol.com.

Jennifer Jewell lives in central Colorado, and has written about gardens for Colorado Homes & Lifestyles and House & Garden.

For more photos, A Secret Garden Revealed

The South Carolina Garden Club

The State Newspaper December Article

We were recently featured in The State Newspaper. Below is the text from the article!

A statewide GARDEN PARTY
Volunteers are determined to document South Carolina's historic gardens.
By Megan Sexton (msexton@thestate.com)

It was early in the morning when the group met in Camden, traveling to the history-laden town from various corners of the state.

They carried measurin tapes and plant identification books, digital cameras and clipboards.

They had come to see the gardens, but not as ordinary visitors. They were on a mission from the Garden Club of South Carolina: To document the state's historic gardens.

And they were ready to get to work.

"We're relaxed about how we're doing this, but we'll move like the wind," Judith Dill said to group of volunteers assembled in the driveway at Duffield, a home with a more than 3.5 acre garden. The owners have completely restored and added to the garden, which is home to a series of garden rooms planted in the 1920s and includes some camellias former owner Helen Harmon originally ordered from China.

Dill chairs the S.C. Historic Landscape Initiative with the state garden club. On this day, she was handing out assignments, sending one group to the terraced interior courtyard, another to the south lawn, a third to the garden that hugs the driveway. And the list went on.

"Do no worry about your drawing. That's half the fun of it - creativity 101," she said to those charged with mapping the garden.

Instead, she told them to document what was there, take pictures of landmarks, write the names of plant material, and include detailed descriptions on their hand-drawn maps.

It's a daunting task, taking stock of the historic gardens in a state known for both history and horticulture. So far, the garden club has documented about 50 historic gardens around the state, from Beaufort to Camden to Aiken. It hopes to do at least 100 more. The club considers a garden historic if it is at least 50 years old, and many in the survey are much older.

"This is not one of these quick things. It takes a lot of thought, a lot of planning , a lot of work force around the state," said Betsy Steele, president of the S.C. Garden Club.

And why does it matter?

"Why? To save our garden heritage. That's the primary reason," Dill said. "We see the devastation that occurred after Hugo. We've seen these parking lots. We've seen urban sprawl. We've seen owner neglect. ... I believe very strongly that our gardens in South Carolina tell the history of our state."

INSPIRED BY PROJECT IN GEORGIA

The seeds for documenting the historic gardens were sown by Jim Cothran, a South Carolina native and an Atlanta-based landscape architect who was worked with Historic Columbia and other groups in the state. In the 1960s, Cothran was the original recipient of the Garden Club of South Carolina's horticulture scholarship (he studied at Clemson University and the University of Georgia), and he has always been quick to help the club with its work, Steele said.

"All through his career he has given back to the Garden Club of South Carolina," she said.

A few years ago he told the group about the Garden Club of Georgia's work documenting that state's historic gardens.

"It seemed like something worthwhile," Steele said. "The garden club is a good grassroots group to do this."

So with the help of the club's first inern and volunteers from around the state, the documenting of the gardens began.

Dill starts the process by contacting the current garden owners and finding out everything she can about a particular garden. The list of historic gardens started with one compiled in World War II by the club's second president, Lucy Pomeroy of Camden. At that time, she started the Visiting Gardens list, which included gardens around the state that could be visited by club members on certain days.

That list has been the startin point for the current landscape documentation, but Dill said others are being added.

"Every time we go somewhere people say, 'I know another garden that's 100 years old'," Dill said. "Our list is not static."

Along with being at least 50 years old, gardens must have some historic significance. A garden could have special plant material or a well-known landscape designer, or it could have been the home of a person of historic significance.

Once the ground work is done, Dill plans a party.

"We call them parties. Garden parties are the best thing in the world. Everybody wants to go," Dill said. "If you say 'Come to a work day," forget it."

The volunteers show up for a day of work- for the love of history and of gardening.

They walk around the gardens, enjoying the landscape and learnin from each other.

"Is this an autumn fern?" asks one volunteer, while another consults a plant identification book.

"Here's an abelia, trimmed tight. Mondo grass, azalea, nandina, Mexican sage," another volunteered called out to a partner, who was recording it on paper.

When the group documented Bloomsbury in Camden in March, 52 volunteers turned out in nasty weather to help.

"They were troopers," Dill said. "We got out an dgot trained on and sleeted on. You just march on. The common thread is our love of gardens."

Dill loves to talk about a garden's history, and think about those who tilled the land in years past.

"You look at these plants and you think about who brought them, who nurtured them, who bulit homes and farms around them," she said. "You look at the different sorts of properties in South Carolina. It's amazing. Even looking at those ruined (gardens), you think of the pride and foresight that many of the early planters felt."

The landscape is trying to catpure what the gardens look like now and perhaps help future gardeners understand South Carolina's landscape in the early 21st century.

"We're trying to provide a snapshot in the life of a garden," Steele said.

Sometimes that means a garden is a showplace; other times it has fallen on hard times.

"But even if something is now in disrepair... in five years somebody might love it and will be back to its glory," Steele said "This is a window of what's there now."

The club's intention is to archive all of its material in the S.C. Historical Society in Charleston, where it will be accessible to graduate students, landscape architects or anyone else with a reason to need the information.

"Ultimately, if we can find the funding, we would like to create a book to list all of these," Steele said. "It's gardening history, that's why it's important, especially in the South."

A Statewide Garden Party - The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC

December 19, 2009

Kim Kim Foster-Tobin/The State

A historic home and garden off Green Street in Camden was recorded as part of the South Carolina Historic Landscape Initiative.

Helen Harman's garden in South Carolina

It was early in the morning when the group met in Camden, traveling to the history-laden town from various corners of the state.

They carried measuring tapes and plant identification books, digital cameras and clipboards.

They had come to see the gardens, but not as ordinary visitors. They were on a mission from the Garden Club of South Carolina: To document the state's historic gardens.

The group meets at Duffield at 9 a.m. to discuss the layout of the property and to break up into groups to work on certain tasks.

The South Carolina Historic Landscape Initiative, in conjunction with the State Garden Club, is working on identifying and documenting all the historic gardens of South Carolina.

Each property is outlined, measured, it's foliage documented and any structures built on the propertyrecorded. On this day, the group converge on two historic Camden properties.

And they were ready to get to work.

"We're relaxed about how we're doing this, but we'll move like the wind," Judith Dill said to a group of volunteers assembled in the driveway at Duffield, a home with a more than 3.5-acre garden. The owners have completely restored and added to the garden, which is home to a series of garden rooms planted in the 1920s and includes some camellias former owner Helen Harmon originally ordered from China.

Dill chairs the S.C. Historic Landscape Initiative with the state garden club. On this day, she was handing out assignments, sending one group to the terraced interior courtyard, another to the south lawn, a third to the garden that hugs the driveway. And the list went on.

"Do not worry about your drawing. That's half the fun of it – creativity 101," she said to those charged with mapping the garden.

Instead, she told them to document what was there, take pictures of landmarks, write the names of plant material, and include detailed descriptions on their hand-drawn maps.

It's a daunting task, taking stock of the historic gardens in a state known for both history and horticulture. So far, the garden club has documented about 50 historic gardens around the state, from Beaufort to Aiken. It hopes to do at least 100 more. The club considers a garden historic if it is at least 50 years old, and many in the survey are much older.

"This is not one of these quick things. It takes a lot of thought, a lot of planning, a lot of work force around the state," said Betsy Steele, president of the S.C. Garden Club.

And why does it matter?

"Why? To save our garden heritage. That's the primary reason," Dill said. "We see the devastation that occurred after (Hurricane) Hugo. We've seen these parking lots. We've seen urban sprawl. We've seen owner neglect. ... I believe very strongly that our gardens in South Carolina tell the history of our state."

Georgia project

The seeds for documenting the historic gardens were sown by Jim Cothran, a South Carolina native and an Atlanta-based landscape architect who has worked with Historic Columbia and other groups in the state.

In the 1960s, Cothran was the original recipient of the Garden Club of South Carolina's horticulture scholarship (he studied at Clemson University and the University of Georgia), and he has always been quick to help the club with its work, Steele said.

"All through his career he has given back to the Garden Club of South Carolina," she said.

A few years ago, he told the group about the Garden Club of Georgia's work documenting that state's historic gardens.

"It seemed like something worthwhile," Steele said. "The garden club is a good grassroots group to do this."

So with the help of the club's first intern and volunteers from around the state, the documenting of the gardens began.

Dill starts the process by contacting the current garden owners and finding out everything she can about a particular garden. The list of historic gardens started with one compiled in World War II by the club's second president, Lucy Pomeroy of Camden.

At that time, she started the Visiting Gardens list, which included gardens around the state that could be visited by club members on certain days.

That list has been the starting point for the current landscape documentation, but Dill said others are still being added.

"Every time we go somewhere people say, 'I know another garden that's 100 years old,' " Dill said. "Our list is not static."

Along with being at least 50 years old, gardens must have some historic significance. A garden could have special plant material, a well-known landscape designer, or it could have been the home of a person of historic significance.

Once the groundwork is done, Dill plans a party.

"We call them parties. Garden parties are the best thing in the world. Everybody wants to go," Dill said. "If you say, 'Come to a work day,' forget it."

The volunteers show up for a day of work: for the love of history and the love of gardening.

They walk around the gardens, enjoying the landscape and learning from each other.

"Is this an autumn fern?" asks one volunteer, while another consults a plant identification book.

"Here's an abelia, trimmed tight. mondo grass, azalea, nandina, Mexican sage," another volunteer called out to a partner, who was recording it on paper.

When the group documented Bloomsbury in Camden in March, 52 volunteers turned out in nasty weather to help.

"They were troopers," Dill said. "We got out and got rained on and sleeted on. You just march on. The common thread is our love of gardens."

Dill loves to talk about a garden's history, and think about those who tilled the land in years past.

"You look at these plants and you think about who brought them, who nurtured them, who built homes and farms around them," she said. "You look at the different sorts of properties in South Carolina. It's amazing. Even looking at those ruined (gardens), you think of the pride and foresight that many of the early planters felt."

The landscape initiative is trying to capture what the gardens look like now, and perhaps help future gardeners understand South Carolina's landscape in the early 21st century.

"We're trying to provide a snapshot in the life of a garden," Steele said.

Sometimes that means a garden is a showplace; other times it has fallen on hard times.

"But even if something is now in disrepair ... in five years, somebody might love it and it will be back to its glory," Steele said. "This is a window of what's there now."

The club's intention is to archive all of its material in the S.C. Historical Society in Charleston, where it will be accessible to graduate students, landscape architects or anyone else with a reason to need the information.

"Ultimately, if we can find the funding, we would like to create a book to list all of these," Steele said. "It's gardening history, that's why it's important, especially in the South."

resource

Duffields is another of Camden's important twentieth century gardens. In 1937 Miss Helen Harman relocated from Plainfield, New Jersey, and spent the years up to 1960, cultivating an important collection of camellias which now enjoy the stewardship of owners who acquired the property in 1992 and have steadily reclaimed it from overgrowth.

Letter into the website

Subject: Re: The Harman Family
From: "Margaret Lane" <lmargaret1@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri, March 25, 2011 10:13 am
To: "Info" <info@plainfieldgardenclub.org>
Priority: Normal
Options: View Full Header | View Printable Version | Download this as a file | View as HTML | View Message details




Dear Susan,

How nice of you to answer my e-mail, thank you.
Our garden club "King Haiglar" founded in 1949 is one of 3 left in Camden, a city of about 7000, there were once 5or 6. mostly from "DuPont" neighborhoods.

Some of our ladies took pictures that day and I will send them to you.
The cottage sits behind a tall hedge which is why there wasn't a better photo. The camellias were in full bloom then and about finished now. as Spring has come at last. The azalea's and dogwoods are blooming now. As to the question do I remember Barbara Sandford YES I lived around the corner on Lorraine Ave. and along with Susie Fickett Amy Neal and others played with her daughter Tracy,who. married another member of our class Ned Harold. Please say "hello" to her and tell Mrs. Sandford I have asked her niece Barbara Wells
Edwards about her when home for reunions.

By the way we all loved what we called a "Secret Garden" in the back of the Sandford home even had a "Mock Wedding" there as children.

Cedar Brook park is locked in our memories are the Iris gardens still there? While home last August Elizabeth Marder and I went to the Library and spent a morning in the archives looking up all the old homes we could remember. [we had driven and walked through our old neighborhoods etc. Liz still lives on Inwood Place] We grew up
in a special place. I look forward to following your web site as you continue to document the Plainfield area we remember, also I did go to the web sites you gave me. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Margaret Lane

PS. please let me know where I can send the photos.

December 11, 1903

Daily Princetonian, Volume 28, Number 140, 11 December 1903 – GLEE CLUB CONCERT In Plainfield To-night. Program and List of Patronesses.

GLEE CLUB CONCERT

In Plainfield To-night. Program and List of Patronesses.

The second concert of the Glee, Banjo and Mandolin Clubs will be given in the Casino of Plainfield, N. J., to-night at 8.15 o'clock. The clubs will leave Princeton to-day at 1.21 p. m., and arrive at Elizabeth at 2.20. Leaving Elizabeth on the C. R. R. of N. J. at 2.35, they will reach Plainfield at 3.03. The men will be entertained at the homes of the Princeton alumni, and immediately after the concert adance will be given in honor of the clubs. On the return trip the men will leave Plainfield on Saturday at 9.40 a. m., reaching Elizabeth at 10.04, leave at 10.06, and arrive in Princeton at 11. The program of the concert follows: PART FIRST. 1. Old Nassau, Carmina Princetonia Glee Club. 2. A Rag Time Ball, J. H.Jennings Banjo Club. 3. 1904 Medley, Arranged by K. S. Clark Glee Club. 4. Selections from Babes in Toyland, Herbert Mandolin Club. 5. Fantasienstuck, Arranged Banjo Club. PART SECOND. 1. Step Song, Carmina Princetonia Glee Club. 2. Gondoliere, Nevin Mandolin Club. 3. The 1904 Rakion, Joseph Chapman Banjo Club. 4. Solo, Selected Mr. Truesdale. 5. Espanola Viva, Arranged Glee and Mandolin Clubs. 6. The White Crow, Paul Eno Banjo Club. PART THIRD. 1. Bedelia, Schwartz Mandolin and Banjo Clubs. 2. Selection, Arranged Glee Club. 3. Danse Caprice, Grieg Mandolin Club. 4. Triangle Song, Carmina Princetonia Glee, Banjo and Mandolin Clubs. The patronesses are as follows : Mrs. Charles F. Abbott, Mrs. Frederick H. Andrews, Mrs. Ernest R. Ackerman, Mrs. John T. Baker, Mrs. Eliot T. Barrows, Mrs. James R. Blake, Mrs. Charles I. Brooks, Mrs Howard W. Beebe, Mrs. E. H. Booth, Mrs. P. W. Bakely, Mrs. P. T. Brown, Mrs. J. Hervey Buchanan, Mrs. J. Edgar Corlies, Mrs. George A. Chapman, Mrs. J. B. Dumont, Mrs. M. E. Egerton, Mrs. Chapman Fisk, Mrs. Howard Fleming, Mrs. Walter Gaston, Mrs. Wm. T. Gaugh, Mrs. John F. Harmon, Mrs. Ellis W. Hedges, Mrs. Eugene H. Hatch, Mrs. W. E. Honeyman, Mrs. James Hayes, Mrs. Samuel Huntington, Mrs. Henry L. Hall, Mrs. Henry C. Irons, Mrs. D. C. Ivins, Mrs. William T. Kaufman, Mrs. William E. Lowe, Mrs. Edward H. Ladd, Jr., Mrs. E. L. Mack, Mrs. George P. Mellick, Mrs. H. Raymond Munger, Mrs. William H. Murray, Mrs. Henry A. McGee, Mrs. Walter Mc- Gee, Mrs. Samuel St. J. McCutchen, Mrs. Frank S. Martin, Mrs. Theodore W. Morris, Jr., Mrs. F. G. Meade, Mrs. Arthur J. Otterson, Mrs. D. W. Pond, Mrs. W. G. Peckham, Mrs. W. A. Pinto, Mrs. Joseph W. Reinhart, Mrs. David Rowland, Mrs. George S. Ring, Mrs. George T. Rogers, Mrs. Joseph M. Shellabarger, Mrs. Walter E. Stewart, Mrs. Lemuel W. Serrell, Mrs. Alfred F. H. Streuli, Mrs. Henry M. Stockton, Mrs. Joseph W. Sandford, Jr., Mrs. C. L. Sykes, Mrs. R. B. Strong, Mrs. George A. Strong, Mrs Duncan W. Taylor, Mrs. Evarts Tracy, Mrs. Lewis G. Timpson, Mrs. Mason Tyler, Mrs. Edward M. Van Buren, Mrs. George W. Van Boskerck, Mrs. A. Vandewater, Mrs. J. Vandewater, Mrs. William B. Wadsworth, Mrs. Orville T. Waring, Mrs. Lewis E. Waring, Mrs. Theodore D. Wilson, Mrs. E. Woltman, Mrs. John S. Zelie.

Residence of John F. Harman, 505 West Eighth Street

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

Genealogy for John Frelinghuysen Randolph Harman

John Frelinghuysen Randolph Harman (b. May 1, 1844, d. November 25, 1936)
John Frelinghuysen Randolph Harman (son of John Mathias Harman and Martha Fundenburg Cronise) was born May 1, 1844 in Log House at Duffields, Jefferson Co., Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, and died November 25, 1936 in His Home "Fernstone" Plainfield, New Jersey. He married Amelia Gray on May 19, 1874 in Madison Square Presby. Church, New York City., daughter of William Gray and Lavinia Johnson.

Notes for John Frelinghuysen Randolph Harman:
John F. Harman erected a huge tombstone to the honor of his ancestors in the old Matthais Harman burial ground on Dorsey Road. Stones and graves have since been removed to Holy Cross Cemetery in brooklyn Park, AA County, Md.


More About John Frelinghuysen Randolph Harman:
Occupation: John F. Harman of New York firm "Handy & Harman," dealer in silver bullion 1867-1931.
Religion: Elder Crescent Ave. Presby. Church, Plainfield, NJ.

More About John Frelinghuysen Randolph Harman and Amelia Gray:
Marriage: May 19, 1874, Madison Square Presby. Church, New York City..

Children of John Frelinghuysen Randolph Harman and Amelia Gray are:
Bryant Gray Harman, b. November 1, 1878, d. March 8, 1945, St. Vincent's Hospital, New York City..
Elsie Harman, b. May 19, 1882, New York City, NY.
Helen Harman, b. October 5, 1884, Plainfield, New Jersey.
+William Gray Harman, b. September 19, 1887, Plainfield, NJ.

Genealogy for Amelia Gray Harman

Amelia Gray (daughter of William Gray and Lavinia Johnson) was born January 8, 1849 in New York City, NY, and died December 14, 1924 in Plainfield, New Jersey. She married John Frelinghuysen Randolph Harman on May 19, 1874 in Madison Square Presby. Church, New York City., son of John Mathias Harman and Martha Fundenburg Cronise.

More About Amelia Gray and John Frelinghuysen Randolph Harman:
Marriage: May 19, 1874, Madison Square Presby. Church, New York City..

Children of Amelia Gray and John Frelinghuysen Randolph Harman are:
Bryant Gray Harman, b. November 1, 1878, d. March 8, 1945, St. Vincent's Hospital, New York City..
Elsie Harman, b. May 19, 1882, New York City, NY.
Helen Harman, b. October 5, 1884, Plainfield, New Jersey.
+William Gray Harman, b. September 19, 1887, Plainfield, NJ.

Amelia's Father:
William Gray was born 1810 in New York City, NY, and died 1895 in New York City, NY. He married Lavinia Johnson.

Children of William Gray and Lavinia Johnson are:
+Amelia Gray, b. January 8, 1849, New York City, NY, d. December 14, 1924, Plainfield, New Jersey.

Amelia's Mother:

Lavinia Johnson was born 1815 in New York City, NY, and died 1854 in New York City, NY. She married William Gray.

Children of Lavinia Johnson and William Gray are:
+Amelia Gray, b. January 8, 1849, New York City, NY, d. December 14, 1924, Plainfield, New Jersey

Amelia's Son:

William Gray Harman (b. September 19, 1887)
William Gray Harman (son of John Frelinghuysen Randolph Harman and Amelia Gray) was born September 19, 1887 in Plainfield, NJ. He married Dorothy Averill on December 26, 1912 in Brooklyn, NY, daughter of Joseph Otis Averill and Julia Cammann Blake.

More About William Gray Harman and Dorothy Averill:
Marriage: December 26, 1912, Brooklyn, NY.

Children of William Gray Harman and Dorothy Averill are:
John Lincoln Harman, b. February 12, 1914, Grand Junction, Colorado.
Robert Averill Harman, b. January 19, 1915, Plainfield, NJ.
Ruth Harman, b. August 6, 1917, Grand Junction, Colorado.

1920 Muhlenberg Hospital Womens Auxiliary

Miss Helen Harman
505 West Eighth Street

Mrs. J. F. Harman
505 West Eighth Street

1925 Meeting Minutes

1915 - 1923 List of Meetings

Crescent Avenue Historic District

Crescent Area Historic District

Post Office: Plainfiled
Zip: 07060

WHAT'S NEAR
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 Plainfield...is 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.

Summary
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.

References
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.

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