Plainfield Garden Club








Member: Gates, Mrs. LeRoy H. (Evelyn Patterson) '20

1919 Address: Not Listed

1922 Address: 810 Central Avenue, Plainfield

1922 Directory: Not Listed

1932 Directory*Address: Not Listed
* = This directory is note dated but presumed to be from the year 1932.

**417 Stelle Avenue is the former gatehouse or carriage house to Mrs. Gates' estate

Mother to Mrs. Laurence Sturdivant (Pauline Mary "Polly" Gates) '52

June 4, 1922 New York Times wedding announcement

Mrs. Gates' daughter, Polly, marries Laurence S. Heely.

Heely-Gates

The marriage of Miss Pauline Mary Gates, daughter of Leroy H. Gates of Plainfield, NJ, and Laurence Sturdivant Heely, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Augustus V. Heely, also of Plainfield, took place ysterday at the home of the bride's parents, 810 Central Avenue. The Rev. Dr. John Sheridan Zelie officiated.

December 27, 1911 New York Times article on Mrs. Gates' father

Article 18 – No Title

Special to The New York Times ();
December 27, 1911,
, Section , Page 20, Column , words


LINCOLN, Neb., Dec. 26. – William Patterson, who killed himself at Plainfield, N.J., was a well-known Nebraska merchant, a resident of Lincoln, former Mayor of Central City, this State, and an organizer for the Nebraska Traveling Men's Bryan Club in 1900. He has been an active supporter of Mr. Bryan since 1896, and had great faith in the Nebraska Democratic leader

810 Central Avenue, Plainfield

2007 from Gregory Palermo's Plainfield Tree Blog

There is a large female ginkgo at 810 Central Avenue just to the left of the driveway, about 50 feet back from the sidewalk. It is 38 inches in diameter at breast height (dbh) and is estimated to be more than 100 years old, a young adult.

There is also a smaller female in the curbside strip directly in front of the building. Both trees litter the ground with prodigious quantities of powerfully malodorous fruit each fall. In general, only male ginkgos are planted in the U.S. because of the unpleasant odor produced by the females' fruit. Mistakes happen, however, so female ginkgos are not hard to find. Some Eastern cultures use the ginkgo seeds in cooking. In my neighborhood people can be seen gathering the seeds each fall from the ground below the female ginkgos on Watchung Avenue near Hillside. They use only the kernel, leaving the stinking seed coat where it fell. Some theorize that the stench of the seed coat evolved as a defense against seed-eating dinosaurs, but the tactic doesn't work against humans.

From Plainfield, New Jersey's History & Architecture by John Grady and Dorothe Pollard

A survey of Plainfield's fabled carriage houses is worthy of a book of its own, with a chapter dedicated to each conversion. No two chapters would be alike. None would embrace the concept of a one-size-fits-all. All would catalogue stressful birth pangs. What follows is the story of just one: The Abbott carriage house. Witness he chaos

From Plainfield, New Jersey's History & Architecture by John Grady and Dorothe Pollard

The combination coach and gate house opening to the gardens of the Charles Abbott estate was erected around 1883. Originally attached to the main house that fronted on Central Avenue, this masonry and brick outbuilding with its Norman tower, Palladian windown, and eye-catching ventilator was rescued in 1959 when the house was demolished, retaining a portion of the connecting link to balance the beautiful compound arch and preserve the curved windows.

Before and after photographs of both the front and rear elevations of the Abbott stable are self-explanatory. The unique exterior features ahve been retained with a front entrance replacing a window in the tower. At the rear, new mult-pane doors and windows fill space where carriage doos once opened, the hayloft doors have given way to a windowed dormer, bu the arched porte-chochere still shelters the drive to the home's hidden gardens.

From Plainfield, New Jersey's History & Architecture by John Grady and Dorothe Pollard

Closure has been achieved. The Stelle Avenue entrance flaunts iron stall dividers recycled as doorway railings, and welcomes visitors through the tack room decorated with old, iron hooks from which bridles and harnesses once hung. A magnificient horse chestnut showers petals on all who enter, a silent benediction on Bertha and Robert Raudebaugh who created and shared the home's history for more than forty years. We end our "Tale of a Carriage House" with a fine drawing of the post conversion results.

Plainfield case breaks ground in historic preservation law

The Abbott Manor nursing home on Central Avenue.

The July 26 ruling in Plainfield's Abbott Manor nursing home case was the first time a New Jersey court "has declared the validity and importance of historic districts, and described what their effect should be on land-use applications," according to William Michelson, attorney for the city's Van Wyck Brooks Historic District. The historic district sued the City and its Zoning Board of Adjustment and the nursing home's owner, CPR, over a 2005 decision of the Board granting variances for expansion of the existing nursing home.

Plainfielder Bill Michelson was attorney for the Historic District.

The Van Wyck Brooks Historic District has never objected to the presence of the nursing home, in a converted late Victorian mansion, which in fact predates the creation of the historic district. What was objected to was the massive scale of the proposed addition and its impact on the surrounding area.

In an email Monday evening to VWB district members, Gerry Heydt, president of the historic district's association, wrote –

...[Superior Court Judge Walter R.] Barisonek gave a 1 hour and 40 minute oral decision in which he thoroughly went over the issues brought out in the transcripts of the hearings. It was obvious that he read the transcripts cover to cover. He quoted numerous statements by the expert witnesses of both sides, citing page numbers, as well as quoting from both the 2002 and 2005 Board of Adjustment's resolutions. The Board of Adjustment's 2002 denial of the nursing home expansion will be reinstated.

The historic district's attorney, Bill Michelson, a Plainfield resident with a private practice in Fanwood, has written a summary of the case from which some highlights are excerpted below.

To begin with, in Michelson's opinion, Judge Barisonek was influenced by two things –

...[o]ne is that he examined the model which showed clearly how massive it would be, as compared with surrounding properties. The other is that the other intrusions into the district (notably the 1950s-style apartments across the street), including the old Abbott Manor addition, all pre-dated the creation of the district in 1982.

He continues that Barisonek found the Zoning Board had been –

...so overwhelmed by the federal court settlement, and Rother's [the owner's] threat of further litigation, that it simply lost sight of all the proper criteria for deciding the case. He blamed part of this expressly on Rother's planner, Peter Steck, who … told the Board what its obligations to the handicapped supposedly were, under the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988.

Michelson summarizes briefly the judge's review of both federal and state issues and case law pertinent to the case (those interested can find Michelson's summary here and contact info at the end of this post), concluding that Barisonek "summed up by saying that, aside from the desirability of nursing homes, every piece of evidence and piece of testimony in the whole case was negative to CPR's application."

Two aspects of this case may be determinative of future litigation in historic districts finding themselves in similar circumstances –

First, as pointed out by Michelson previously, a New Jersey court has declared the validity and importance of historic districts, and described what their effect should be on land-use applications; and

Secondly, that the court went further than Michelson did on one point: that an "inherently beneficial" use may cease to be so, at the wrong location.

This is an important victory not only for the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District, but for those districts statewide which find themselves similarly situated and faced with development proposals which would alter the character of the neighborhood.

Though the developer has further recourse in the courts, including appealing to the New Jersey Supreme Court, Barisonek's careful and detailed analysis will surely give them pause.

A victory for the little people.

810 Central Avenue

Plainfield Library Photo File

C-11161 Y Collier Van Buren House, Central Avenue 810 Central Avenue The Van Buren Home at 810 Central Avenue, Plainfield, NJ. The exterior was built with Milwaukee stone and has an unusual terracotta frieze work

810 Central Avenue

Plainfield Library Photo File

G-414 1934 Y Grimstead House at 810 Central Avenue 810 Central Avenue Brick colonial revival house with truncated hip roof, multiple projecting bays, terra cotta frieze, and porch with rounded portico and side extension, Evelyn P. Gates.

810 Central Avenue

Plainfield Library Photo File

Collection Collier
Title Van Buren House, Central Avenue
Image Year Unknown
Time Period Unknown
Description The Van Buren Home at 810 Central Avenue, Plainfield, NJ. The exterior was built with Milwaukee stone and has an unusual terracotta frieze work

Photo ID C-11161
Address 810 Central Avenue
Historic District
Creator Paul Collier

Abbott Nursing Home

The New York Times

Altercation Over an Addition

Rob Bennett for The New York Times

Plainfield neighbors assembled at the former nursing home they fought to preserve, from left: Kenneth Philogene, Arne Aakre, Gerry Heydt, Rowand Clark and Dottie Gutenkauf.

By ANTOINETTE MARTIN, nytimes.com on the Web, August 19, 2007

PLAINFIELD, NJ – ONCE a piece of history is gone, it will never come back," said Dottie Gutenkauf, a resident of one of 10 designated historic districts in this town.

"That is why we had to persist," she added, describing a battle to prevent construction of a large addition to a nursing home in her Victorian-era neighborhood. "The character of the building the nursing home was in, and that of the streets around it, was going to be obliterated," she said.

A house was to be surrounded on two sides by the L-shaped expansion of Abbott Manor Nursing Home, which had operated in the neighborhood for 20 years; also, the three-story addition would loom close to a Tudor that serves as an Episcopal rectory.

So in 2000, when the nursing home's owners first applied for a zoning variance to permit the construction, Ms. Gutenkauf and others in the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District organized to oppose it.

They researched zoning ordinances, gathered documents, testified at hearings and declared success when the application was denied in 2002, as Ms. Gutenkauf duly reported in her blog, called the Plaintalker, at the time.

The nursing home owners, a company called CPR Holdings Inc., moved residents from the nursing home in 2005, settling them in a similar facility it owns in Scotch Plains. But despite that, Ms. Gutenkauf's declaration of victory proved premature.

In 2005 the zoning board abruptly reversed itself, granting the variance after CPR sued the town. Its argument was that without the modern addition, handicapped residents were being denied their right to fair and adequate housing.

It was at this point that Ms. Gutenkauf and her neighbors filed a suit of their own – one that took until late last month to resolve. "And our legal bill is very, very large," said Gerry Heydt, a plaintiff who is also president of the district residents' association.

Superior Court Judge Walter R. Barisonek rejected the nursing home owners' argument that federal fair housing law protected handicapped residents' right to live in that particular spot.

Steven C. Rother, the Roseland lawyer who argued for CPR, said in a recent telephone interview that the company declined to comment because it might appeal.

But William Michelson, the lawyer for the neighborhood residents, said he viewed an appeal as unlikely. "Judge Barisonek's careful and detailed analysis will surely give them pause," he said.

That analysis, according to Mr. Michelson, contained an element that could be significant to preservationists in future cases: The judge rebuffed CPR's contention that the existing legal recognition of nursing homes as of "beneficial use" to a community automatically supersedes preservationist concerns.

"The ruling was the first time a New Jersey court has declared the validity and importance of historic districts, and described what their effect should be on land-use applications," said Mr. Michelson, a resident of Plainfield who once served on its planning board and helped write its master plan.

Along with the four neighborhood residents named in the lawsuit – Ms. Gutenkauf; Ms. Heydt and her husband, Arne Aakre; and Kenneth Philogene – Mr. Michelson has taken the position that the vitality of Plainfield as a whole is at stake in the fight over historic-district standards

Twenty-five years ago, he said in a recent interview, the town was in a state of serious decline and headed toward "even worse." Local officials decided at the time that the one likely path to salvation was to protect the community's chief asset: its ample stock of wondrous old structures.

Mr. Michelson and his partner, Victor Quinn, had been among a first wave of gays drawn to Plainfield by the opportunity to buy Victorian diamonds in the rough and restore them as showplaces; they restored one, and then another, both in historic districts.

Ms. Gutenkauf and her husband, Joe, who also moved to Plainfield in the early 1980s, bought a converted barn dating to 1889. Although she claims it still has the faint smell of hay about it, it is now in pristine condition, listed on the National Historic Register with others in the Van Wyck Brooks district.

The man who gave the district its name, a critic and literary historian and Plainfield native son, was born not far from Ms. Gutenkauf's house, around the time it was built, she said.

Plainfield today is an urban sort of suburb, ethnically and culturally diverse, with its own symphony orchestra, a lively arts scene and delis, bodegas and soul food restaurants. African-Americans once made up a majority of the population, though they have now been surpassed in number by Hispanic residents.

A gay presence is large and well established, and there is an annual tour of historic homes owned by gays and lesbians. Former Gov. James E. McGreevey and his partner, Mark O'Donnell, live in a Plainfield home with gardens retaining their original historic design by the firm of the Central Park architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

"The historic districts make this a rather unique place to live," Mr. Michelson said. "Not just the exceptional architecture, but people are given a way to buy into a community that feels like a real community, where you have something in common with everyone around you."

Mr. Michelson and Ms. Gutenkauf each remarked on the depth of various neighbors' involvement in the Abbott Manor issue. Mr. Aakre, a trained architect, probably provided the coup de grâce, they said, with his scale models of the nursing home before and after expansion.

"The judge gasped when he saw them," Ms. Gutenkauf said. "He picked them up, held them side by side, and I think it really made a splash."

The ornate yellow-brick nursing-home building, which has a columned wood portico and was originally a private home, is now looking distinctly forlorn, seemingly not kept up since the residents vacated. None of the neighbors know what will become of it.

"What we hope, of course," Ms. Heydt said, "is that it will be restored, and rejoin the other beautiful buildings in the district."

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July 31, 2001 Dan Damon's Blog

The July 26 ruling in Plainfield's Abbott Manor nursing home case was the first time a New Jersey court "has declared the validity and importance of historic districts, and described what their effect should be on land-use applications," according to William Michelson, attorney for the city's Van Wyck Brooks Historic District. The historic district sued the City and its Zoning Board of Adjustment and the nursing home's owner, CPR, over a 2005 decision of the Board granting variances for expansion of the existing nursing home.

The Van Wyck Brooks Historic District has never objected to the presence of the nursing home, in a converted late Victorian mansion, which in fact predates the creation of the historic district. What was objected to was the massive scale of the proposed addition and its impact on the surrounding area.

In an email Monday evening to VWB district members, Gerry Heydt, president of the historic district's association, wrote –

...[Superior Court Judge Walter R.] Barisonek gave a 1 hour and 40 minute oral decision in which he thoroughly went over the issues brought out in the transcripts of the hearings. It was obvious that he read the transcripts cover to cover. He quoted numerous statements by the expert witnesses of both sides, citing page numbers, as well as quoting from both the 2002 and 2005 Board of Adjustment's resolutions. The Board of Adjustment's 2002 denial of the nursing home expansion will be reinstated.

The historic district's attorney, Bill Michelson, a Plainfield resident with a private practice in Fanwood, has written a summary of the case from which some highlights are excerpted below.

To begin with, in Michelson's opinion, Judge Barisonek was influenced by two things –

...[o]ne is that he examined the model which showed clearly how massive it would be, as compared with surrounding properties. The other is that the other intrusions into the district (notably the 1950s-style apartments across the street), including the old Abbott Manor addition, all pre-dated the creation of the district in 1982.

He continues that Barisonek found the Zoning Board had been –

...so overwhelmed by the federal court settlement, and Rother's [the owner's] threat of further litigation, that it simply lost sight of all the proper criteria for deciding the case. He blamed part of this expressly on Rother's planner, Peter Steck, who … told the Board what its obligations to the handicapped supposedly were, under the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988.

Michelson summarizes briefly the judge's review of both federal and state issues and case law pertinent to the case (those interested can find Michelson's summary here and contact info at the end of this post), concluding that Barisonek "summed up by saying that, aside from the desirability of nursing homes, every piece of evidence and piece of testimony in the whole case was negative to CPR's application."

Two aspects of this case may be determinative of future litigation in historic districts finding themselves in similar circumstances –

First, as pointed out by Michelson previously, a New Jersey court has declared the validity and importance of historic districts, and described what their effect should be on land-use applications; and


Secondly, that the court went further than Michelson did on one point: that an "inherently beneficial" use may cease to be so, at the wrong location.
This is an important victory not only for the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District, but for those districts statewide which find themselves similarly situated and faced with development proposals which would alter the character of the neighborhood.

Though the developer has further recourse in the courts, including appealing to the New Jersey Supreme Court, Barisonek's careful and detailed analysis will surely give them pause.

A victory for the little people.

417 Stelle Avenue

November 17, 2011 For sale for $349,900

Realtor Description:
This one of a kind Carriage House boasts old world charm with today's modern necessities. Situated in the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District, near NYC transportation, highways, shopping and parks, this charming home is surrounded by the mansion's that were once owned by stock market millionaires of the 1920's.

What I love
I love the beautiful renovation. Is in a designated historic neighborhood. Almost every single light fixture has been replaced to be in keeping with the home, home repainted and restoration work done, most of brickwork repointed, new brick walkways, beautiful array of 16' foot Pella french doors across back, new Pella front door and 3 storm doors, brand new Space-pac high end a/c, new boiler, house repainted exterior and in interior including venetian plaster in living room, beautiful stone floors in entry and kitchen. Granite counters in kitchen and 2 baths. New vinyl floor in laundry room with new tile backsplash. large 2 car garage with skylights, kichen also redone in 2006 with stainless steel appliances. Almost every cabinet knob in home replaced. New ADT designed alarm system including carbon monoxide. Attic newly insulated. Front gate motorized with remote openers for 3 cars. What I love about this home is that it has such a warm, "I want to stay here" feel. All info supplied here is represented but not warranted.

Neighborhood Description
Van Wyck Historic District, value to homes higher than in surrounding non-historic area. Strong Historic committee and wonderful creative, professional neighbors

Virtual Tour
http://www.visualtour.com/applets/flashviewer2/viewer.asp?t=2513258&sk=1

New York Times September 20, 1921

Gates - Heely Engagement

Leroy H. Gates of 810 Central Avenue, Plainfield, N.J., has announced the engagement of his daughter, Miss Pauline Mary Gates, to Laurence S. Heely, son of Mr. and Mrs. Augustus V. Heely, also of Plainfield.

Miss Gates is a graduate of Mount Vernon Seminary, Washington, D.C. Mr. Heely was graduated from Yale, class of '16.

1982 May Designer Showhouse: 1127 Watchung Avenue

Cover to Page 25

Page 26 to Page 51

Page 52 to Page 75

Page 76 to Back Cover

**INVENTORY: Mrs. H. Gordon Patterson

September 19, 2012 810 Central Avenue, Plainfield Abbott Manor

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
HPC Approves Abbott Manor Roof Repair

A property owner's costly plight cut no ice with members of the Historic Preservation Commission Tuesday when they approved a new roof and other repairs only if they met strict standards.

Andre Yates, the new owner of Abbott Manor, spent most of the evening giving examples of his previous reconstruction of city homes and detailing the extensive costs he faces in restoring the former nursing home at 810 Central Avenue. After citing his "fabulous work" on the other buildings, he said he had gone up on the roof of the Central Avenue home with contractors who, after examining the slate roof, deemed it at the end of its useful life and "beyond repair."

The city's Historic Preservation ordinance, which the commission upholds, calls for replacing "like with like" in exterior repairs to buildings in historic districts. Yates urged commissioners to accept a kind of asphalt shingles instead of slate, calling the cost of slate prohibitive and noting use of such roofing in several nearby buildings.

Glancing around the table at commissioners and at several residents in attendance, Yates said, "I need everyone in here to help me get it right, and I know you will."

But the commissioners held out for slate or a shingle that closely resembles slate, although Commissioner Bill Michelson said he might consider a shingled roof if Yates told what he plans to do with the building. That question went unanswered as the discussion wore on, with Yates continuing to stress cost factors.

"I have a huge project here," he said.

Commissioner Pat Turner Kavanaugh said, "I want that building to come back as you clearly do, but it will not return to anything like its former status if you put a roof on there that's totally inappropriate."

After more back-and-forth between Yates and other commissioners, Turner Kavanaugh said, "This roof is not right for that building - end of story."

Still, Yates persevered, saying the total renovation was going to be an "enormous financial undertaking" and asking for "understanding."

But Commissioner John Favazzo said he saw a compromise on the roof as a gateway to further compromises.

"You have to get off to the right foot," he said, calling the roof "most important."

If the work has to be phased, Favazzo said, then Yates might have to do so. A wrong change, he said, "compromises every other building in Plainfield."

"You are asking us to alter the whole city of Plainfield," Favazzo said.

Although he said he understood Favazzo's point, Yates noted the ongoing recession and decline in property values.

"To spend $45,000 on a roof, that's a lot of money," he said.

Michelson told Yates, "You have done us a great service by getting Dr. and Mrs. Lapid to sign a deed," referring to the former owners, but adding, "You bought a house for $100,000 knowing it would need repairs," and calling Yates' concerns "crocodile tears."

In public comment before the vote, several residents agreed with commissioners on the negative effect of using lesser materials for repairs. Rowand Clark asked the board not to "summarily dismiss the idea of putting on real slate" and others pushed for copper metalwork exclusively.

The board finally approved the project with architectual slate-like tiles and copperwork, with all materials to be reviewed before construction.

Outside the meeting, Yates declined to say what he had in mind for the building once it is rehabilitated and would not confirm a rumor that he planned a veterans' home.

Abbott Manor was once a 35-bed nursing home, but drew intense opposition to a planned expansion. Read the history of litigation on the matter here.

–Bernice

http://ptalker2.blogspot.com/

New York Times October 17, 1920

DIED

Gates – At Plainfield, N. J., on Saturday, Oct. 16, 1920. Grace I, beloved wife of Leroy H. Gates. Private services will be held at her late home, 810 Central Av., Plainfield, on Monday afternoon, Oct. 18, 1920. Kindly omit flowers.

New York Times June 4, 1922

Heely - Gates

The marriage of Miss Pauline Mary Gates, daughter of Leroy H. Gates of Plainfield, N.J., and Laurence Sturdivant Heely, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Augustus V. Heely, also of Plainfield, took place yesterday at the home of the bride's parents, 810 Central Avenue. The Rev. Dr. John Sheridan Zelie officiated.

December 27, 1911 New York Times

FRIEND OF BRYAN DEAD IN THE WOODS

William Patterson of Lincoln Found Near Plainfield with His Throat Cut

VISITING DAUGHTER THERE

Met Heavy Fire Loss When His Store Burned – A Former President of Nebraska Bryan Club

Special to The New York Times

PLAINFIELD, N.J., Dec. 26. – William Patterson of Lincoln, Nebraska, a close personal friend of William Jennings Bryan, was found dead in the woods, near Smalley's Stone quarry on the northern outskirts of this city today. His throat was cut, and near his body lay a razor.

Mr. Patterson was 65 years old. He left the home of his daughter, Mrs. Leroy G. Gates of this city, whom he was visiting for the holidays, on Sunday morning to go to church. He failed to return, and Mrs. Gates notified the police, who sent out a general alarm to nearby cities, including New York.

Mrs. Gates told the police that her father had suffered a nervous breakdown two month ago. During the past year his hardware tore, one of the largest business house in Nebraska, was burned own, with a lost of $40,000. He worried a great deal about this, she said.

Howard G. Lapsley of Plainfield, found the body. He reported his discovery to the police, and they notified Mrs. Gates who sent word to her mother and two sisters at Lincoln. Mrs. Gates said that her father had been President of the Nebraska Bryan League and the Nebraska Traveling Men's Association. He was a veteran of the civil war and a member of the G.A. R.

The body will be taken to Lincoln for burial.

June 28, 2013 Dan Damon blog: Sharon, Campbell back move to convert Abbott Manor to vets housing

Sharon, Campbell back move to convert Abbott Manor to vets housing

The Abbott Manor Nursing Home as it appeared in 2007.

The Abbott Manor in 2013, with rotted porch fascia.

Plastic sheeting on 3rd floor dormers, June 2013.

Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs and John Campbell Jr, Republican candidate for Assembly in Plainfield's 22nd District, gave their backing to the move by real estate investor Andre Yates to convert the old Abbott Manor nursing home property on Central Avenue to veterans housing.

They spoke at a fundraiser breakfast held at the Plainfield Senior Center this past Saturday to raise money for The Yates House for Military Veterans Inc., according to a report in The Alternative Press (see here). Leaving aside the propriety of using City premises to fundraise for a private venture, the idea raises plenty of questions.

Yates quietly purchased the nursing home property in July 2012 from Reynaldo and Maria Lapid for $100,000 according to property tax records. He additionally purchased the vacant lot abutting the rear of the Abbott Manor that gives access to West 8th Street behind the corner two-family home.

Robinson-Briggs repeatedly mentioned her concern for veterans in her campaign literature, though I cannot find any explicit mention of the Abbott Manor property in my archives.

During the campaign season, I noticed that the property had deteriorated in the years it has lain vacant. There was plastic taped over the 3rd-floor dormers, evidently to prevent water intrusion, and the porch fascia was rotted away. The yard was overgrown.

Then, a week or so before the Democratic Primary election, the grass had suddenly been cut and a 'Re-elect Sharon' sign plunked prominently in the front yard. Was there some sort of connection?

Front yard cleaned up to showcase 'Re-Elect Sharon' sign.

As far as I can determine, Yates has not approached the Historic Preservation Commission or the Zoning Board about a proposed use for the Abbott Manor property.

Though the previous owner had secured approvals from the Historic Preservation Commission to replace the roof and repair the porch, the work has never been done. The approvals are carried to the new owner for a period up to two years (and may be renewed by the HPC), conditioned on the work being performed as agreed.

Further questions are what sort of living arrangements are being proposed for veterans at the property, and what plans – if any – there are for the use of the small vacant lot.

Readers will remember that the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District fought the 60-bed expansion of the old Abbott Manor Nursing Home, winning a notable victory in 2007 (see my post on their victory in court here). The VWB Historic District was represented in the case by attorney (and Plainfield resident) William Michelson.

As I pointed out in my post, two aspects of that case may be determinative of future litigation in historic districts finding themselves in similar circumstances –
First, as pointed out by Michelson previously, a New Jersey court has declared the validity and importance of historic districts, and described what their effect should be on land-use applications; and
Secondly, that the court went further than Michelson did on one point: that an "inherently beneficial" use may cease to be so, at the wrong location.
Excerpts from Michelson's summary of the Abbott Manor ruling can be found online here.

According to Guidestar, which tracks nonprofits granted 501(c)(3) status, the Yates House for Military Veterans, Inc. was just given its IRS designation in 2013, hence no 990s (financial information) forms have yet been filed (see here).

While there has been some discussion in the media in recent months about the need to shelter homeless veterans, two things remain to be made clear in relation to the Yates project –

What classes of veterans is Yates House proposing to provide housing for – for instance, disabled, those diagnosed with PTSD, homeless, substance abuse victims, etc.?

What research has been done to identify such veterans who are residents of Union County and what, if any, programs are currently serving this population?
Even though providing such housing may be judged a 'beneficial use', a hard look should be taken at the expected viability of such a project based upon financial support it has lined up (including grants and government funding, if any).

My first question would be, why haven't any repairs been made to the fabric of the Abbott Manor property in the year since Yates took ownership?

Is it because he doesn't want to do the work as required by the granted approvals? Is it because he doesn't have the financial resources to do it without outside help?

If the fundraiser supported by Mayor Robinson-Briggs and GOP Assembly candidate John Campbell Jr. is the main form of financial support that is being sought, this is not a good omen for the project.

Then, of course, there is the matter of taking the property off the tax rolls, which a nonprofit operating housing would do. As things stand now, $37,751.60 in property taxes were paid in 2012.

I am sure we will hear more as things move along.

TAP: "Yates House for Veterans hosts meet and greet fundraiser"
Plainfield Today: "Plainfield case breaks ground in historic preservation law"
Scribd: "Excerpts from Bill Michelson's summary..."
Guidestar: "Yates House for Military Veterans Inc."

Comments to Dan's June 28, 2013 article

5 comments:

Anonymous said...
Yates came before the HPC last fall in a measure to replace the roof with tar paper shingles. HPC said no. Yeats was stunned. He never said what the use might be of the property. Nothing more has been seen of him until now. I guess he has been trying line up political backing.

June 27, 2013 at 10:27 AM
Alan Goldstein said...
You shouldn't leave aside the propriety of using the Senior Center. It is just one of many improper, or illegal, acts that follow the mayor around like her own shadow. Her administration barely disguises the efforts it takes to enrich particular individuals at public expense.

It isn't any wonder the event got coverage in The Alternative Press either. This is the latest hustle coming to us by way of a master hustler whose MO is sucking out money from any public programs he can sink his claws into. First announced at an SRB political event, it looks like it is morphing into an SRB public relations arm, even boasting on its advisory board two city employees and one appointee intimately tied to our public access TV station, as well as our Fire Chief, who appeared at a board gathering in uniform.

It certainly does look like the official policy of the city is promoting one conflict of interest after another. Experience weighs for skepticism about virtually anything touted by the city, or sneaked in quietly through the back door.

June 27, 2013 at 11:41 AM
Rebecca Williams said...
Dan, I have been following some of this latest venture. Some of my initial comments:

The use of the city's resources again comes under scrutiny. The images shown are of a sign for Mr. Yates's endeavor only. The appearance of Campbell, whom the mayor is supporting, and the lack of awareness about this event suggests that it is yet another fraudulent and illegal use of municipal funds and space. What staff members were present, how much overtime did they get paid, was there FOOD (as usual)? I have a number of questions–I will let folks know what I find out.

Given the extremely low purchase price for the structure, it is of great concern that the developer may not be able to do the work. Thus, we see a catch-all "for the community" plea.

The three veterans home in our state each house at least 300 vets, and are located near major hospital facilities–see below:

http://www.nj.gov/military/veterans/health.html

What benefit would it be to the community to have this tiny facility (again, the historic district issue notwithstanding)? I cannot read Mr. Yates's mind, but this seems to me extremely ill-thought out. If a developer doesn't have the wherewithal to even put a roof on the facility, I would be extremely wary of sudden altruism.

Additional observation: I am extremely offended by the continued "pimping" and exploitation of our veterans' very real and serious issues by individuals whose manifest greed subsumes every other thought. Not talking about anyone in particular here, but....

Rebecca

June 27, 2013 at 1:23 PM
Pat Turner Kavanaugh.HPC member said...
To Anon. 10.27: they were not tar paper shingles. They were Timberline (cedar-look). The HPC had allowed the previous owner to use Slateline shingles, to replace real slate, which is what the building deserves. An Edison resident, Mr. Yates kept saying, "But this is Plainfield." We reminded him that everyone around the table lives in Plainfield, and represents hard-working, tax-paying City residents who care for their properties. Our residential neighborhoods make us strong and proud. All of us, from Rock Avenue to Terrill Road, deserve nothing less. Nor do our Veterans. Please think about the Park Hotel.

June 27, 2013 at 3:11 PM
Anonymous said...
Is the city really going to allow another non-profit entity? We need taxable properties! And the HPC has to be somewhat flexible about repairs to historic buildings. A roof that size can cost upwards of $50 -100,000 to repair. The house will go to complete ruin if left as is. The buyer thought he was getting a deal paying $100,000 -really?!

June 27, 2013 at 6:02 PM

Yates House for Military

www.yateshouse.org

The Yates House for Military Veterans, Inc. (TYHMV) is a private non-profit corporation that has been formed to address the lack of housing for military veterans in central New Jersey. The Yates House was formed for the purpose of giving back to those veterans who risked their lives to provide security and protection to our nation. More specifically, Yates House provides permanent housing and supportive services to help transition homeless and in need veterans to self-sufficiency and become productive citizens. The goal is to reintegrate homeless veterans into society, as they are often excluded because of various emotional wounds of post military service.

While clients are able to experience a safe and pleasant place to live in an urban community, they also receive additional supportive services such as meals, transportation, and counseling for self-enrichment training. To support this effort, Mr. Yates has established collaborative relationships with other local agencies throughout the State of New Jersey that provides additional social service programs.

During renovation, the exterior of the building will be repaired, with its historic character in mind, and an addition to the rear of the building will provide a modern stairways and handicap access. The building is located in the historic district of Plainfield, NJ. This vision will be presented to the Plainfield Zoning and Planning Board for consideration.

We engage a humanitarian spirit, social responsibility and determination to ensure, at the very least, that all military personnel returning from active duty and those who have served in the past are given a quality standard of living as well as supportive services to meet their needs.

Yates House for Military

Yates House for Military

September 19, 2013 Dan Damon's Blog Plainfield Today

Committee Forming to Monitor Abbott Manor Situation


Residents of the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District are forming a committee to monitor the situation with regard to the former Abbott Manor Nursing Home on Central Avenue, whose new owner Andre Yates hopes to re-open the building as a facility to house veterans.

The Van Wyck Brooks Historic District waged a years-long legal battle with a former owner over plans to expand the existing nursing home. That lawsuit was finally decided in the District's favor and new ground was broken in regard to historic preservation and zoning regulations, drawing the attention of the New York Times (see my 2007 posts here and here).

The building, which has been vacant for years since the previous owner lost its battle with the VWB Historic District to greatly expand the facility, is in considerable disrepair, with evidence of water penetration of the upper floors.

Yates, who was given permission by the Historic Preservation Commission over a year ago to replace the roof like-with-like, has yet to begin work on the property.

In addition, no application has been made with the Zoning Board concerning Yates' proposal to use the former Abbott Manor Nursing Home as a residence for homeless veterans.

Meanwhile, Yates is making fundraising appeals to the general public for the project, for which he has formed the nonprofit Yates House for Military Veterans. A golf outing fundraiser at Union County's Galloping Hill Golf Course was reported to have taken place September 6 (see here).

The Yates House website (see here) mentions that it plans an addition to the rear of the existing building to meet accessibility requirements. The website also includes information on the group's mission, board of directors and more. While registered with the IRS, the nonprofit Guidestar, which monitors 501(c)(3) organizations shows no Form 990 financial information has yet been made available (see here).

Yates, an Edison resident and real estate investor, has yet to reach out to the Van Wyck Historic District and his lack of candor with the community about his plans leaves many feeling uneasy. It also has not helped that he bet on the losing horse in the Plainfield Democratic mayoral primary (his lawn sported Sharon signs), in a town where these things are noted and long remembered.

Anyone interested in more information about the Abbott Manor House Committee is invited to get in touch with member Larry Quirk by email.

Photo by Dan Damon

Photo by Dan Damon

Photo by Dan Damon

Plainfield City Death Index 1930

Gates, LeRoy H. January 2, 1930 age 66, Book page 242
Gates, Mrs. Virginia September 9, 1929, age 39, Book page 242

January 3, 1930 New York Evening Post

LEROY H. GATES

Long Time Head of Desk Company
Dead in Plainfield

Arrangements were being made today for funeral services for Leroy H. Gates, for twenty-five years president of the Hale Desk Company in New York, who died at his home 810 Central Avenue, Plainfield, N. J.

Mr. Gates was a graduate of Phillips Andover Academy and a director of the Plainfield Trust Company and the Plainfield Cemetery Association and an elder in the First Presbyterian Church.

1909 Polk's (Trow's) New York Copartnership and Corporation Directory

Hale Desk Co. (N.Y.) Leroy H. Gates, Pres.

Hale Building in New York

Hale Building was an office structure which opened in 1927 at 7 - 9 - 11 East 44th Street (Manhattan). Fred T. Ley & Company built the edifice and Shreve & Lamb were its architects. It was owned by the Eleven East 44th Street Corporation. Hale Building is significant as an important residence for offices on the Lower East Side during the late 1920s and the Great Depression era.

The Hale Desk Company leased the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors of the Hale Building for use as its primary showrooms and executive offices. The lease, consummated in February 1927, was for a period of fifteen years. It covered approximately 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2) of space.

Hale Building was auctioned, and its leasehold acquired, on a winning bid of $1,750,000, in April 1936. In a judgment in which Eleven East 44th Street Corporation was the defendant, Continental Bank and Trust Company, trustee and plaintiff, was awarded Hale Building. A judgment of $909,072 was involved.

Social Register 1916

Mr. Edward Morris Van Buren - Bg
Mr. Edward Morris Van Buren, Jr.
Mrs. Joseph W. Reinhart (Lizzie T. Allison)

October 25, 1895 New York Times

A Day's Wedding

Van Buren - Reinhart

Plainfield, N. J., Oct. 23. – Miss Caroline Reinhart, daughter of Joseph Reinhart, ex=President of the Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, was married this evening to Edward Morris Van Buren, son of the late Daniel T. Van Buren.

The marriage ceremony was performed in Grace Episcopal Church, the rector, the Rev. E. M. Rodman, officiating. The church, which is one of the largest in the city, was crowded to the doors with a gathering of society people such as has seldom been equaled at like events. The service was the choral one of the Episcopal Church, the surpliced choir singing the wedding marches.

The bridal party entered the church promptly at the hour announced, and, preceded by the choir boys, proceeded to the alter in the following order: First came the users, Fred W. Walx, William N. Runyon, and Howard W. Beebe of this city, Whitfield Pessinger and Louis Beal Ostrander of New York, and James M. Helfenstein of Elizabeth; next cam the following bridesmaids: Miss May Evans and Miss May G. Waring of Plainfield, Miss Eleanor Grant Basher of Richmond, Va.; Miss Katherine Reinhart, a sister of the bride, and Miss Emilee Varet Reinhart, a cousin of the bride and daughter of C. S. Reinhart, the artist. These were followed by the maid of honor, Miss Mary Anderson Reinhart, the youngest sister of the bride, and then came the bride leaning on the arm of her father.

At the chancel rail the bridal party was met by the groom and the best man, Laurens Van Buren, a brother of the groom.

The bride wore white satin, with pinte appliquee lace and pearl trimmings, and tulle veil. She carried a white kid Prayer Book on the approach to the altar, and on her return carried a beautiful bouquet of liles of the valley. The bridesmaids wore gowns of white organ die over pale-green silk. Each carried a large bouquet of white chrysanthemums. At the conclusion of the ceremony the bridal party were drive to the home of the bride's father, Ridgewood, Netherwood Heights, where a reception was held, which was attended by throngs of society people.

The decorations at the church were very effective and in good taste. They consisted of huge white chrysanthemums and stately green palms. Huge bouquets of the former were placed at each pew. The decorations at the church and the house were brought her from the South especially for this occasion. The house was a bower of flowers, the doors of the small rooms being hung with portieres of smilax and lilies of the valley. The rooms had been wired with sixty extra electric lights, making the scene one of great beauty.

Music for dancing was furnished by Lander of New York. The supper was served upon the large piazza, which was inclosed, the caterer being Maresi.

Included in the wedding gifts were many of rare value and elegance. The gift of the bridegroom to the bride was a diamond fleur de lis pendant, and that of the bride's father was a solid silver set.

Both the bride and bridegroom being very popular in society here, the wedding was made a social function in the fullest sense of the word. Every detail was carefully arranged for the reception of the guests from this city and elsewhere. Many people prominent in society circles in other cities besides Plainfield were present. The out-of-town guests came from Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, Charleston, Norfolk, Savannah, Atlanta, Mobile, New Orleans, St. Louis, Chicago, Louisville, Pittsburg, Boston, Newport, Brooklyn, New York, and Philadelphia.

February 7, 1907 New York Times

MORRIS - At Plainfield, N. J., on Thursday, Jan. 31, 1907, Elizabeth Crary Morris, daughter of the late James L. and Lucretia A. Morris, in her 82nd year.

Funeral services at the residence of her nephew, Edward Morris Van Buren, 810 Central Av., Plainfield, N. J., on Monday, Feb. 4, at 10:30 A. M.

1910 Social Register

Mr. and Mrs. Edward Morris Van Buren (Caroline A. Reinhart) 810 Central Avenue, Plainfield, N. J.

U. S. Military Academy 1891

DANIEL TOMPKINS VAN BUREN
No. 1336. Class of 1847
Died, July 16, 1890, at Plainfield, New Jersey, aged 64

General Van Buren was born at Kingston, New York, January 15, 1826. He am of Knickerbocker stock, descending from Cornelius Gerritt Van Beuren who emigrated from Holland, A. D. 1660, and was the progenitor of the Kinderhook and Kingston Van Burens, President Van Buren being a descendant. John Van Buren, the father of the General, was a Judge in his county and a member of Congress from his District; a lawyer of ability. General Van Buren graduated from the Kingston Academy before entering the Military Academy at West Point, July 1843. He graduated No. 6 in the Class of 1847, having been instructor of Ethics while a cadet. He was appointed Second-Lieutenant, Second Artillery, July 1, 1847, and promoted to First-Lieutenant in 1849. He served as such in the Mexican War; his Company was stationed at the Citadel of Mexico.

In August 1849, Van Buren was assigned to duty as Assistant Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy at the Military Academy. On returning to his regiment, 1852, he was selected for the duty in the Coast Survey. These selections demonstrate the order of his mind. He was prominent in Scientific and Practical Mathematics; he was authority on all subjects of that character.

Judge Van Buren dying in 1855, his son was obliged to resign from the Army to take charge of the estate. Van Buren had studied law before entering the Military Academy, and was admitted to the Bar on resigning from the Army. He was also employed as a Civil Engineer and Surveyor of his native county.

He had been appointed by Governor King, in 1858, Colonel of Engineers in the Third Division of the State Malitia, and when the war broke out was mustered in as Captain of Engineers for the Twentieth, N. Y. State Militia, and marched with the Ulster Guards to Anapolis Junction, Maryland, serving for three months. General Dix, commanding Department, recognizing the worth of Van Buren, appointed him Adjutant-General of Volunteers with the rank of Major, August 3d, and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant - Colonel of Volunteers, August 20, 1861. He was appointed Colonel and Aide-de-Camp, June 1, 1862. He served as Assistant-Adjutant-General, Head-Quarters, Army of Potomac; was brevetted Brigadier-General of Volunteers, March 13, 1865, and mustered out of the Volunteer service the following March. General Dix endorsed on an official paper to the War Department as follows:

"His services were of the greatest value and during my absence on a commission he discharged all the duties of the Department. He deserves from the Government all that he asks, for his faithful, zealous, efficient and unremitted service. Signed, Jno. A. Dix"

This is the irony of inscrutable fate. Van Buren was doubtless, (without detracting an iota from the worth and ability of General Dix), far better equipped, trained and capable than his Commander for all the Military duties of the Command. His strategical skill would have been brilliant in the field.

Van Buren married August, 1863, Miss Julia Morris, daughter of James S. Morris, of the old Navy, and Lucretia Crarey, of New York. General Van Buren left two sons, Ed. Morris and Lawrence Hardy Van Buren.

One of Van Buren's legal contemporaries writes of his civil career as follows: "Van Buren's familiarity with his County and his training in the Sciences of law and of Engineering and Surveying, qualified him in a marked degree for the preparation of papers, surveys, both superficial and subteranean, and expert testimony in all matters incident to the accurate ascertainment and illustration of complicated rights and disputes, which arise with reference to boundaries, quarries, mines, suberanean excavations and ancient patent lines. He became an authory on such subjects of his region. In many instances his decisions were accepted as final without recourse to the Courts. Added to his professional acquirements he was posessed of a plain, rugged honesty, which no consideration of interest or friendship could warp. After he had worked out a problem, he adhered with firmness to his decision, and as he believed in himself and his work, so the public had confidence in his dealings."

This reminds the write of an incident occuring when on a visit to his classmate, on graduating furlough, at Kingston, Judge Van Buren said he had a case before the next tern of Court which had been tried several times with opposite findings, a case of disputed boundary. He wanted to test West Point skill to survey this plat. The plat made by Van Buren was so plain and the figures so lucid that the suit was gained without going to Court.

It would be supposed that a mind so strict and calculating would find no genial softness in character. On the contrary his humor, wit and bon hommine endeared him to his family and friends; as a true steel, as affectionate as a child.

"Give me but not one well tried friend,
Whose kind, consoling accents blen
With truths I love to hear,
And I will envy not the wealth and sordid miser craves.

Wm. W. Burns
Class of 1847

The first owner of 810 Central Avenue dies March 30, 1913

New York Times, March 31, 1913

VAN BUREN – At Plainfield, N. J., on Sunday, March 30, 1913, Caroline Reinhart, daughter of the late Joseph W. Reinhart and beloved wife of Edward Morris Van Buren, aged 36 years. Services at her late residence, 810 Central Av., Plainfield, N. J., on Tuesday, April 1, at 3 P. M. Interment private. Carriages will meet express train leaving foot of Liberty St., Central Railroad of New Jersey, at 2 P.M. Pittsburgh (Penn.,) Richmond, (Va.,) and Kingston (N. Y.) papers please copy.

"Ridgeview" Netherwood, New Jersey

707 Belvidere

1904 Social Register

Reinhart, Mr. and Mrs. Jos. W. (Lizzie Taylor Allison) Phone No 76 "Ridgeview" 707 Belvidere Av, Plainfield NJ
Reinhart, Miss Mary A. (Pl. N. Bg. Ats. Cnwr,Pda)
Reinhart Mr. Frank O - Bg. at Princeton

1909 Plainfield Directory

Saturday, May 21, 1966 Something to Be proud of . . . Many Worked Together for County Park Display

Caption: DOGWOOD IN FLOWER – Cedar Brook Park's Dogwood Arboretum is a horticultural collection of 61 varieties that is the pride of Plainfield Garden Club and the Union County Park Commission. The display of dogwood blossoms is not the showiest, but it's the most complete in the country. Each year the trees in bloom are a joy to those who visit the planting or follow the drive through Cedar Brook Park. The trees in the Cornus Collections line both sides of the Park Drive.

Something to be Proud of . . .

Many Worked Together for County Park Display

Horticulturalists know it as the "Cornus Collection in Plainfield." The Plainfield Garden Club speaks of it as "our dogwood plantings in Cedar Brook Park." Since last year, the double line of pink and white flowering trees at the Park Ave. entrance to the park as been officially named "The Harriette R. Halloway Cornus Collection."

But to most admirers of the annual evidence that spring is here, it is just "those beautiful trees in the park" whether they refer to them by their botanical or popular name – cornus or dogwood.

Many who come to see the trees are unaware that this collection includes ore than 60 varieties of dogwood, every kind that can grow in this climate. While the trees are beautiful, it is the horticultural collection of so many varieties that counts to the credit of the Plainfield Garden Club even more than the display. It is not the greatest show, but it's the most complete collection.

Dr. Benjamin Blackburn of Drew University in Madison has remarked that this group of trees, growing in a compact reserved area, is a marked achievement on the part of the Union Count Park Commission, the Plainfield Garden Club and Miss Halloway, who served for more than 35 years as a volunteer consultant to the Park Commission and in keeping records of all the plantings.

Miss Halloway, for whom the grove is named, still watches for the flowering season of the dogwood. Now 91, Miss Halloway is a resident at the McCutchen Nursing Home, North Plainfield.

Among the personal possession she treasurers is the Distinguished Service Medal of the Garden Club of America. Also she is a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society of England and a member of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboretums. She is a member of the Plainfield Garden Club and has earned recognition from the New York Botanical Gardens, American Horticultural Society and other organizations for her work and her writings about gardens, flowers, and flowering shrubs and trees.

A great part of the reward to her and the Plainfield Garden Club is that so many people can enjoy the cornus collection in the park. Miss Halloway says: "Each year the trees continue to be beautiful and a joy, if not forever, at least for many years."

THE CEDAR BROOK Park Dogwood Collection is unique, Dr. Blackburn believes. "None other is known to exist in this county," he said, "and a match for it is not be found growing in the Royal Botanic Gardens in London or in Edinburgh or other famous gardens in Great Britain and Europe."

The dogwood collection got its start in 1931 when W. R. Tracy, superintendent of the Union County Park Commission, decided to turn an old city dump into a beauty spot and the Plainfield Garden Club contributed 75 white dogwoods to help the project.

In 1940 the club gave an additional 110 trees to balance the two sides of the drive and complete the groupings. The 61 species now flourishing in the park include nine from Asia, two from Europe and 12 from North America, a number of hybrids and "cultivars," special horticultural selections that have been propagated vegetatively.

The Park Commission has planted a background of evergreens, including hemlocks and pines, to enhance the effect of the dogwoods. Enlarging on its original purpose to beautify the area, the Plainfield Garden Club cooperated throughout the year with the commission in developing the collection and all varieties are now labelled with correct names. A boulder with a tablet also has been installed in the area..

At the 25th anniversary of the Garden Club, held in 1940, Mrs. Thomas R. VanBoskerck, who had written a history of the club's first quarter century, recalled that the members had anticipated the park's work in beautifying the dump area and first had presented 50 dogwood trees to the park through the generosity of Mrs. Charles A. Eaton who took them from her own woods in Watchung. A fund to beautify the park had been started originally in 1924 with Mrs. William Halliday in charge.

Dr. Blackburn points to the Cornus Collection in Plainfield as an admirable example of cooperation among groups interested in the cultural and horticultural riches of a municipality.

25 Years Ago, 1941

Clifford M. Baker, president of the Muhlenberg Hospital board of governors announced that Allen V. Heely, headmaster of the Lawrenceville School, would speak at the graduation exercises for the hospital's school of nursing. Mr. Heely's sister-in-law, Mrs. Lawrence S. Heely, was president of the Women's Auxiliary Hospital. Dr. William B. Fort, senior attending surgeon, was to award the prizes, and William Whitwell Robison and Mrs. Edward Leroy Voorhees were to present diplomas and pins.

The Rev. Harry James Knickle, rector of Grace Episcopal Church, was observing the 10th anniversary of his priesthood.

George A. Ballantyne of 30 Westervelt Ave. was honored by the First Presbyterian Church Session for years of faithful service as head usher.

1975-1976 The Junior League of Plainfield

PAST PRESIDENTS
1933-1936: Mrs. E. Leroy Voorhees

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Detwiller blueprints 808-814 Central

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.

EDITOR'S NOTE:
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