Plainfield Garden Club

Member: Otterson, Mrs. Arthur Leader (Adelaide Florence Badger) '15

1919 Address: 1333 Evergreen Avenue, Plainfield

1922 Address: 1333 Evergreen Avenue, Plainfield

1928 Treasurer Book April 15th $5.00
1929 Treasurer Book Active $5.00
1930, 1931, 1932, 1933 Treasurer Book Active

1932 Directory* Address: 1333 Evergreen Avenue
* = This directory is not dated but presumed to be from the year 1932.
NOTE: "Mrs. Arthur L. Otterson, 1333 Evergreen Avenue" was crossed out by hand and the word "associate" was written.
NOTE: "Mrs. Otterson" handwritten under "Associate Members"

1933 Treasurer Book: Active: Otterson, Mrs. A. L. transferred to Ass. List. Resigned
1934 Treasurer Book Associate: Mrs. A. L. Otterson 3/19/34 PAID
Treasurer Book Associate: 1935, 1936

1937 Treasurer Book, under Associate: Mrs. Arthur L. Otterson 2/4/37 Pd.

1938 Treasurer Book, Associate: Mrs. Arthur L. Otterson 1/11/38 Pd 2/2/39 Pd.

1940 - 1941 Treasurer Book, Associate: Mrs. Arthur L. Otterson 1/11/40 Pd. Her name is crossed out.

Mrs. Arthur L. Otterson's sister-in-law is Mrs. Thomas Rowe (Lucy Otterson) Van Boskerck '15

February 5, 1909 New York Times article

WALTER SCOTT BADGER, formerly of Brooklyn, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Arthur L. Otterson, in Plainfield NJ, yesterday, at the age of 63 years. He had been an invalid for ten years. Badger was born in Brooklyn, and until he retired ten years ago was well known in the dry goods business here.

Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Plainfield Garden Club by Lucy Von Boskerck

December 11, 1903

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


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.

Daughters of the American Revolution

Born in Brooklyn, NY
Wife of Arthur L. Otterson
Descendent of James Emery, as follows:

Born in Brooklyn, N. Y.
Wife of Arthur L. Otterson.
Descendant of James Emery, as follows:
1. Walter Scott Badger (1846-1909) m. 1873 Elizabeth Tucker (b. 1848).
2. James M. Badger (1821-90) m. 1845 Ruxby Emery (b. 1823).
3. James Emery (1799-1885) m. 1823 Mary Ann Snow (1803-60).
4. Mark Emery (1769-1814) m. 1789 Anne Maguire (1769-1865).
5. James Emery m. 2nd 1766 Mehitable Emery (b. 1736).
James Emery (1730-1814) enlisted, 1775, as a private in Capt. Samuel
Leighton's company, Col. James Scammon's 30th regiment.
Massachusetts troops. He was born in Kittery, Me.

Arthur Leader Otterson

Arthur Leader OTTERSON (William Carter OTTERSON1) was born 18 Apr 1873 in Brooklyn, Kings, New York, and died 29 Jun 1931 in Plainfield, Union County, New Jersey. He married Adelaide Florence BADGER 14 Jun 1899 in Manhattan, New York. She was born Abt 1865 in New York City, New York.

Children of Arthur Leader OTTERSON and Adelaide Florence BADGER are: 2 i. Lucy Curtis OTTERSON was born 14 Mar 1900 in New York City, New York, and died 28 Dec 1943 in Plainfield, Union County, New Jersey.
3 ii. Elizabeth OTTERSON was born Abt 1903 in New Jersey.
4 iii. Margaret OTTERSON was born Abt 1906 in New Jersey.

Email April 29, 2012 re: Van Boskerck and Tyler families

** Aunt Flo is thought to be Adelaide Florence Badger Otterson – sister to Mrs. Van Boskerck.

Hi Susan,
You are going to love this...I mean really love it.
CPN is Caroline Potter Normann, my friend, the writer. The person who wrote these notes was her mother, Lucy Van Boskerck Potter Mitchel who grew up in Plainfield in the house where the ex governor lives on Prospect Ave. She moved to Seattle when she married. That is the garden she writes about.
If you have any questions, let me know.

––Original Message––
From: Caroline Normann <>
To: Sally Booth <>
Sent: Sun, Apr 29, 2012 9:38 pm
Subject: Tyler information

Dear Sally, I hope I haven't delayed too long. I had to do some digging. Mom wrote pages and pages of memoires, all interesting, occasionally repetitive, as they were written over many years. Happily, I had transcribed them. Some I added comments for the benefit of Jenny and Beth.

There isn't a lot about Aunt Susan. I do remember going to her home for tea when we came to visit. That would have been when I was in grade school. She died quite a while before I went to college. Their home was filled with interesting furniture, paintings and lovely rooms. It was all very formal, but she was always very kind and easy for a child to be with. You are correct about the portrait that she gave to the Met. Its companion piece hung in Aunt Ethel's home and also hangs in the Met next to that given by Aunt Susan. Needless to say I didn't know her well. Aunt Ethel was the youngest of my grandfather's siblings and lived into her late 80s, so I knew her very well and always enjoyed being with her. She was amazingly youthful, open-minded, and contemporary for one of her generation. I visited her often while I was in college.

Let me know if any of the attached are useful to you or if you have an follow-up questions.

Love, Caroline

Caroline Normann
18317 Sunset Way
Edmonds, WA 98026
(425) 771-8925
(425) 530-6687(cell)

Email April 29, 2012 by Caroline Normann
Aunt Susan Tyler started a class to teach us to make pottery. She had her own studio and kiln in a part of their garage. She was a very cultured lady, a Smith college graduate from the time when that was a rarity, and she had great artistic taste and talent and had traveled widely. She opened up the world of art to us. There were five of us, Peggy Lawrence, Jean Moment, Emilie Parsons, Ruth Foster and me. I now know that in her perceptive way she realized that we each needed something. After our work in the studio, we would go into her beautiful library and were served an elegant tea in front of the fire. She had a glamorous La Salle roadster with a rumble seat, and Patrick her chauffeur, would deliver us home afterwards. She took us to new York to the Metropolitan Museum, to lunch in a fine restaurant like Sherrys and to the opera and to plays. It was a whole new world to me. These things have been my greatest interest every since. She talked about travel and wonderful things to see in Europe. For years after I was grown she and I shared ideas, and I always went to see her when I visited in the East until she finally died at a very old age.

Aunt Ethel interested me in antiques and she was full of creative ideas. She painted stencils and was an outstanding flower arranger and won many prized in the New York Flower Show for the Plainfield Garden Club. She was a gourmet cook herself in spite of having a regular cook in her household. We always had a lot of fun together and were close friends. She had a great sense of humor and of adventure.

Aunt Edith gave me lessons in painting, perspective and color values and later guided me to go to the Art Students league. She realized that I had no skills to fall back on and after studying for a few years she had me work in her interior decorating business in New York to get some practical experience.

Aunt Susan Tyler
Tyler, Mrs. Cornelius Boardman (Susan Tilden Whittlesey)'25 President 1944 - 1947

Aunt Ethel
Tyler, Mrs. William Seymour (Ethel Van Boskerck) '15

Aunt Edith
Noss, Mrs. Henry (Edith Edwards Tyler) '66

Email April 29, 2012 written by Lucy Van Boskerck Potter Mitchel


Having grown up in Brooklyn, Mother didn't know anything about plants, but she was eager to learn about gardening. The property they bought had originally been a nursery and had many fine large trees, tall pines, oaks, hard wood maples, a tulip tree and locusts in the front of the house. They acquired a good strong Italian gardener, Paul Scalera, who was an immigrant from the Naples area with his wife and numerous children. They lived in South Plainfield about 5 miles away. He used to walk to work and later had a bicycle. The children became educated and eventually were important people in the community. He worked for us for years and we loved and respected him. He was small and gradually grew very stooped. He had dark piercing eyes and a felt hat always somewhat over them. He always spit on his hands before tackling a piece of work with a hoe or a shovel. He seldom washed. He brought delicious thick sandwiches for his lunch filled with sausage and garlic. One day Mother was horrified to discover me in the process of taking a bite which has had offered. She always washed and sterilized everything and my lunches were usually baked potatoes, spinach and lamb chops. I thought his much more exciting. Paul called Mother "the mist" and was "the little mist."

When he first worked for us Mother was upset because he was pulling plants out of the garden and throwing them away. "Paul, what are you doing?" she cried. "He do be die", he told her. One day he appeared with a gift of several little dogwood trees. She was delighted. "Where did you get them, Paul?" "Me catch up at Loiz." Mr. Loizeaux was our neighbor with scads of white Cornus Florida trees in his garden. Mother was embarrassed but could hardly take them back and explain, so she planted them. She bought many more from a nursery and they lined the semi-circular driveway in front of our house with more in back under the tall pine trees.

It was a beautiful garden with stretches of lawn patterned by light and shade. There was a woodsy wild garden with ferns, hypatica, bloodroot, trillium, and masses of fragrant violets, orchids, mertensia and other choice plants, lots of mountain laurel and vivid areas of azaleas. There was a large perennial garden with delphinium, lilies, double campanulas sweet William and other plants. Roses were planted below the terrace. Daddy had a big vegetable garden with grapes and fruit trees as well.

Mother was one of the founders of the Plainfield Garden Club and started the Cornus Arboretum in one of the parks. She was very active in it for years. Every June Mother and Auntie Flo gave two luncheons back-to-back in the garden when everything was in full bloom. It was lovely.

The Swains who bought the house in 1958 have kept up the garden. She was a Loizeaux, so it is fitting that she fell heir to the dogwood trees that Paul gave Mother. There are many birds in the garden: Kentucky cardinals, wrens, orioles, etc.

Sent in April 29, 2012 written by Lucy Von Boskerck Potter Mitchel

Aunt Ethel Tyler was the youngest Van Boskerck. She was also artistic in a very practical manner. Everything she did was in perfect taste. She added warmth and "fun" to whatever she did. She was a gourmet cook and taught me a lot. She had a cook and maids, but did a lot of fine touches herself (CPN: and always cooked when it was the maid's day off. I visited her often when I was in college, and she was my favorite of all the blood relatives after my grandmother Mom Mom died in early 1960). She won many prizes for her flower arrangements for the Plainfield Garden Club in the big NY flower show. Her husband, William Seymour Tyler, came from an old distinguished New England family. He and his brother, Boardman Tyler, shared a law partnership in NY. Their properties on 7th and 8th Streets in Plainfield ran together at the back with fine gardens. Several of their ancestor paintings are now in the American wing of the Metropolitan Museum. The Tylers had Greek and Latin professors from Amherst College in their background.

Uncle Will ( a century ago) was a man for this "green" era. Aunt Ethel and Aunt Susan both had electric cars which had to be battery charged when not used. They were elegant round with windows, steered with a tiller, and always a crystal vase with a rose. At Lake Sunapee he had an electric boat which glided through the water silently and smoothly. Its batteries were also charged in the boat house when not in use. When they built their summer "camp" he did not want to cut down trees, so they grew right up through the broad railings of the porch. The architecture fitted right into the setting. He bought acres of land and cut a trail through it and gave it in perpetuity to the village, as the Nature Conservancy now.

In Plainfield he started the Boy Scouts and was on the town council. Uncle Boardman was chairman of the library board. They were both active in the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church. After World War I the milk was very bad, so the two brothers bought more property and started Woodbrook Farms. It was all done hygienically, well pasteurized, and the cows taken care of properly. (CPN note: pasteurization was new to the US in early 1900's and not generally required until several decades later, so these men were ahead of their time in trying to provide healthy milk at a time when typhoid, diphtheria and other such diseases were often caused by impure milk.) Our milk from there was delivered by horse & wagon. Uncle Will's cousin was president of Abercrombie and Fitch, which had the best sporting goods equipment, and was an important store then. I had an "old town" canoe from there, and Uncle Will taught me how to paddle "Indian style", kneeling on the floor. (bottom of the canoe).

1920 Muhlenberg Hospital Womens Auxiliary

Mrs. A. L. Otterson
1333 Evergreen Avenue

1915 - 1923 Book: Meetings of The Plainfield Garden Club

1915 - 1923 List of Meetings

1936 - 1937 Meeting Minutes

1918 Meeting Minutes

1919 Meeting Minutes

1332 Prospect Avenue, Plainfield NJ 07060

1332 Prospect Avenue, Plainfield NJ 07060

Three photos of the home & garden of Plainfield Garden Club founding member Mrs. Thomas Rowe (Lucy Otterson) Van Boskerck '15 located at 1332 Prospect Avenue, Plainfield, New Jersey 07060

October 17, 2014

October 17, 2014

Sally does it again!

Over our 100 year history, the PGC has submitted TEN local gardens for inclusion in the Smithsonian's Archives of American Gardens. As you know, it has been the Garden Club of America's great initiative to document gardens across the nation and have their photos and plans preserved there. Our own Mary Kent just concluded her two-year term as the National Chairman of that GCA committee titled "Garden History & Design." GCA clubs from across the US have painstakingly documented gardens for the Smithsonian. But as most of us can recall, technology wasn't what it is today so some things became "lost" in the great vaults of the Smithsonian. One of these things were the submitted photographs of 1332 Prospect Avenue in Plainfield.

1332 Prospect Avenue was home to Plainfield Garden Club Founding Member Mrs. Thomas Rowe (Lucy Otterson) Van Boskerck '15. Later, it was home to Honorary Member Bernice Swain. Before it became the current home of Jim McGreevey, it belonged to Chris and Kathleen Onieal. Your Editor was once showed these photographs as they were told "they stay with the house" but again, they had been misplaced.

In comes Sally. Sally is friends with Mrs. Van Boskerck's granddaughter, Caroline Norman, who resides in Seattle. Sally remembers visiting 1332 Prospect Avenue often as a child and tells great stories of playing in the attics. Sally, who is a third generation member of the PGC, inquired once more of her friend Caroline if she could locate these mythical photographs. And today they were found and returned to us – and the six sepia photographs are every bit as beautiful as Your Editor remembered.

In addition, Caroline sent along never-before-seen photographs of her Aunt Ethel Tyler and her house at 520 8th Street. We also received our first photo of Mrs. Noss. And perhaps best of all, we are the recipients of some beautiful photographs of 17 year-old Sally, a dashing young Carter and Sally's beautiful children. ENJOY!!

1332 Prospect Avenue and other photos for the Van Boskerck, Tyler, Clendenin, Noss, Genung, Madsen & Booth Families

Detwiller blueprints 1333 Evergreen

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