Plainfield Garden Club

Member: Huntington, Mrs. Howard (Agnes Fales Strong) '19

Childhood Address: 1030 Central Avenue

1919 Address: 324 Franklin Place, Plainfield

1922 Address: 324 Franklin Place, Plainfield

1928 Treasurer Book May 31st $5.00
1929 Treasurer Book Active April $5.00
1930, 1931, 1932, 1933 Treasurer Book Active

1932 Directory* Address: 324 Franklin Place
* = This directory is not dated but presumed to be from the year 1932.

1933 Treasurer Book: Huntington, Howard 12/32 Honorary

1942 Directory: 334 Franklin Place
Mrs. Howard Huntington is listed as an "Honorary Member"

Miss Florence Huntington '15 listed in 1919 at the same address. Since the Huntingtons were not married until 1913, this is most probably her sister-in-law.

Mrs. Howard Huntington joined the Plainfield Garden Club some time between 1916 - 1919.

In 1965, the 50th Anniversary of the Plainfield Garden Club, Mrs. Howard Huntington was listed as an "Honorary Member" and deceased.

Related to PGC Member:
Miss Bertha Virginia Zerega 1923 1932 447 West Seventh Street (1918) 926 Park Ave (1903)

January 2, 1913 New York Times wedding announcement

Miss Agnes Fales Strong, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George A. Strong of Central Avenue, and Howard Huntington also of this city, were married to-night at the home of the bride's parents. The Rev. Dr. Thomas C. Hall of Union Theological Seminary, an uncle of the bride, performed the ceremony. Mrs. Thomas L. McCready of Pelhma Manor, N.Y., and Miss Helen C. Strong, sister of the bride, were bridesmaids, and Augustus Z. Huntington, brother of the bridegroom best man

Plainfield Shakespeare Society

Plainfield Library Archive

Shakespeare Society of Plainfield, N.J. Records [1896-1998]

Photograph of Shakespeare Society members in costume, 1912.

Part of the Local Organizations Collection at the Plainfield Public Library
Finding aid written and encoded by Sarah Hull in March 2009, and updated in January 2010;
collection processed in March 2009 and January 2010 by Sarah Hull.


Overview of the Collection
Repository: Plainfield Public Library, Local History Department, 800 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060
Creator: Shakespeare Society of Plainfield, N.J.
Title: Papers of the Shakespeare Society of Plainfield
Dates: 1887 – 1998, with gaps
Accessions: PPL-MSS-2009-11; PPL-ART-2009-1; PPL-VIS-2009-6
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet of records
Comprised of 4 boxes:
Three (4) 10"x15"x5" document cases

Abstract: The Papers of the Shakespeare Society of Plainfield chronicle the creation and 107-year history of the Society from 1896 to 1998. The collection includes six leather-bound volumes containing the meeting minutes of the Society. The volumes contain an assortment of record types including, hand-written and typed minutes, photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other Society-related papers. The collections was later expanded with an additional minutes binder and a small selection of papers, publications, photographs, and artifacts.
Language: The records are in English.

Historical Information
The Shakespeare Society was created as the "Shakespeare Club of Plainfield" in October 1887 by Mrs. Frederick F. Beals with eighteen charter members. The first meeting was held in the Beals' home, and the first reading selection came from King Lear. The Chronicles reflect the personality of the club. For 107 years, the Society members prided themselves on being the antithesis of a stodgy, academic group. It has been noted, in fact, that they were not a learned society or literary club; they simply liked to read Shakespeare aloud. The office of president was not highly sought after at all. Society presidents were elected for only one or two meetings – usually for the reading selection from a single play. S/he would be responsible for casting the reading selection – a difficult task. Several plays had numerous roles, while club members numbered 23 or less. More often than not, member absences would reduce the available readers to half that; giving multiple parts to each person. This would sometimes result in one member engaging in a Shakespearian repartee with him or herself - - a humorous, but not necessarily desirable occurrence. It became a de facto rule that the election of the president would fall to a member who was absent from the prior week's meeting – more or less as a punishment.

According to the minutes, members would offer to host meetings in their homes; all offers always accepted "with great alacrity." On cold winter nights, readings were held next to a cozy fire. In springtime, hostesses would treat their guests to the fresh aroma of garden flowers. Each meeting would end with a candlelit social hour accompanied by a delicious dessert repast of scrumptious cakes, delicious ice creams, and delectable sauces (preferably two of each), as well as a choice of Sanka™ or regular coffee (as was decided one night by an anonymous kitchen vote of 10 to 5, respectively). If only one type of cake was offered or ice cream was not, it was noted in the meeting minutes without fail. Verily, it could be argued that the Society membership appreciated their desserts as much as, if not more than, the actual readings of Shakespeare. Meetings ran from 8pm to 11pm; sometimes ending closer to the proverbial witching hour if conversation was more lively than usual (or the hostess included brownies on the menu).

Although mentioned in the Society Chronicles, an official Constitution and By-Laws is not found within this collection. There are, however, handwritten selections from 1909 taken "at random" from the Club's Constitution (located in Volume 1, page 291). Those excerpts read thusly:

"The object of the Shakespeare Club is to read selected and strictly expurgated works of Wm Shakespeare, to afford a convenient excuse for the meeting of the elect of Plainfield for a free discussion of the affairs of the universe, and especially of our own neighbors.

Membership shall be restricted to those who have lived 25 years in Plainfield and who are at least half a century old. Sufficient discretion to eliminate the very human element from the poet's writings seldom is found in younger people.

Accomplished and experienced readers are debarred from membership. They would create a discord in the placid harmony of the club.

Anyone attempting to change the usual tone of his voice while reading or to put any expression with the part shall be warned at the first offense, and when repetition of the same he shall be expelled from membership. If artistic readings were allowed, the club would soon degenerate to the low level of professional actors.

Anyone guilty of discussing a play of Shakespeare after the reading is finished shall be fined five dollars - the fines to go toward the annual picnic…

…Any member loosing her place through inattention shall not feel aggrieved when the President reads her part.

Anyone failing to [speak] in reading such words as hell, damn, strumpet, vile, or such lewd phrases and sentences as so often occur in Shakespeare, as well as in Holy Writ, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Only safe plays should be read. The safest of all is Julius Caesar which should come before the club at least once a year."*

Over the course of a century, a variety of current events and topics are found within the meeting minutes. Social discussions ran the gambit beginning with women's suffrage in the 1890's and continuing up to solar and nuclear energy in the 1970's. During the 1950's, health concerns about desserts regarding the number calories crept up, and later in the 1980's worries about cholesterol were noted. Some Society "firsts" include: the first minutes written in ball point pen on May 8, 1959, the first use of the word "chocoholics" on the November 18, 1977, in 1988 we see the first use of computer-printed minutes (a dot-matrix printer), and on March 30, 1990 the first woman president led the meeting not as a substitute, but in her own right.

One of the more important topics of local concern is the creation of Shakespeare Garden in Plainfield. The idea of such a garden to be planted in Cedar Brook Park was proposed initially by Society members to the Plainfield Garden Club in 1927. The Shakespeare Garden Committee reports are included in the Chronicles starting in 1932 (volume 3).

Not only do these chronicles fully document the activities of the Shakespeare Society, but they are interesting and entertaining reading as well. The entries follow a typical pattern expected in club minutes – that of roll call, reading and approval of prior week's minutes, any club business and casting of parts, then close with a few lines about the social hour and desserts. The writings are full of wit, humor, drama, a touch of sarcasm, and, of course, the occasional poem. Mr. Shakespeare would be proud.

*For those unfamiliar with this play, "Julius Caesar" is one of the Bard's bloodiest and most tragic of plays.

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Charter Members
Mr. & Mrs. Frederick F. Beals
Mr. & Mrs. Howard Fleming
Mrs. Charles Hyde
Mrs. Minnie E. Edgerton
Mr. & Mrs. D. Shepard
Mr. & Mrs. George H. Goddard
Mr. & Mrs. Isaac L. Miller
Mr. & Mrs. William L. Patton
Mr. & Mrs. Chas. W. Opdyke
Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Huntington
Mr. & Mrs. J. Evarts Tracy
Miss Julia Scribner
Dr. Ellis W. Hedges
Mr. & Mrs. Edward C. Perkins
Mr. Eugene H. Hatch
Mr. & Mrs. William E. Lowe
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Otis Herring
Mr. & Mrs. Walter E. Stewart

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Scope and Contents
The Shakespeare Society of Plainfield Records chronicle the creation and 107-year history of the Society from 1887 to 1994. The collection includes six leather-bound volumes containing the meeting minutes of the Society:

Volume 1: October 1896 to June 1916 – well-worn, spine is broken, brittle pages.

Volume 2: October 1916 to June 1927 – well-worn.

Volume 3: October 1927 to December 1937 - includes papers from January 1938. The spine is broken, and pages are brittle. There is a Society history on page 270. This volume contains writings regarding the beginnings of the Society and the celebration of the 50th anniversary.

Volume 4: January 1938 to June 1952 – natural wear.

Volume 5: May 1952 to June 1971 – natural wear.

Volume 6: October 1971 to March 1994 – natural wear. The majority of the entries are typed in this volume.

The volumes contain an assortment of record types including hand-written and typed minutes, photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other Society-related papers. Contents appear in their original order, but metal fasteners and loose, deteriorating pieces of tape have been removed. Although worn with time, four of the volumes remain in good condition. As noted above, two of the volumes are brittle with age, and their bindings are loose and falling off. Researchers should take particular care in handling both of these ledgers.

A later donation expanded the collection with the addition of a minute book dating 1994 to 1998, as well as various club papers, internal publications such as brochures and booklets, external publication such as articles and pamphlets, two scripts used by the club, and a variety of artifacts and photographs.

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The Shakespeare Society Records are arranged into four series:

Series 1: Chronicles, Volumes 1 to 7, 1896 to 1998
Series 2: Additional papers, including poems from 1937 (and undated) and two scripts.
Series 3: Publications, 1962
Series 4: Photographs and Artifacts

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Access and Use

Restrictions on Access

The Shakespeare Society of Plainfield Records are available for research.

Access is restricted to materials prepared by the Local History department staff. All materials must be viewed in the Plainfield Room and may not be removed to another area of the library without permission of the Library Director or designee. Materials must be handled carefully and kept in order. Materials must not be leaned upon, altered, folded, ripped, or traced upon. Marks may not be added or erased from materials. Materials must be returned directly to Local History department staff and inspected before the researcher leaves the Plainfield Room.

Restrictions on Use

One photocopy may be made (by Plainfield Public Library staff) of each document for the purpose of research; official Local History departmental reproduction fees may apply. Permission to publish must be obtained by the Plainfield Public Library Board of Trustees as delegated to the Library Director. Permission to publish does not constitute a copyright clearance. The researcher is responsible for further copyright restrictions. The Plainfield Public Library is not responsible for the misuse of copyrighted material

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Index Terms
This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.


Plainfield Garden Club, Plainfield, NJ
Shakespeare Club of Plainfield, N.J.
Shakespeare Society of Plainfield, N.J.


Plainfield (N.J.)–History

Literary clubs
Shakespeare clubs
Social clubs

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Related Items
Plainfield Garden Club, Shakespeare Garden.

"Garden Club of Plainfield" collection; Local History Department, Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield, New Jersey.

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
This collection consists of paper documents and artifacts, which do not require any additional technology for access.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Identification of item; Date (if noted); "Papers of the Shakespeare Society of Plainfield, N.J.," Box and Folder Number; Local History Department, Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield, New Jersey.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated on behalf of the Shakespeare Society since the late 1880s when Volumes I and II were entrusted to the Library for safekeeping. Since that time, all volumes have been held by the Plainfield Public Library.

Processing Information
The collection was processed by Sarah Hull in March 2009 and January 2010. The finding aid was written and encoded by Sarah Hull in March 2009, and updated in January 2010. Finding aid content follows the guidelines suggested by Describing Archives: A Content Standard.

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Series Description of the Collection
Series 1: Chronicles [1896 to 1998]
Series Description
Series 1 contains the seven volumes of (mostly) leather-bound chronicles of the Society. The Chronicles record the minutes of meetings held two Fridays a month since 1896. It is composed solely of paper documents, most of which are hand-written. In later years minutes are typed or word processed on a computer. Attached within some of the books are photographs of Club members and activities, member correspondence, newspaper clippings, and interesting ephemera.

Series 1 is arranged chronologically and fills three boxes

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Series 2: Additional Papers [1936–1962, undated]
Series Description
Series 2 contains additional poems written by members of the Society, as well as some invitations and blank post cards. There are also two scripts used by the club. It is composed solely of loose (unbound) paper documents which are typed. The pages are somewhat brittle with age.

Series 2 is arranged chronologically and fills one folder.

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Series 3: Publications [1931–1988, undated]
Series Description
Series 3 contains various publications, which are mostly from external (non-club) sources. There are also newspaper clippings (clipped by club members). It is composed solely of paper documents which are typed; some are bound.

Series 3 is arranged chronologically and fills four folders.

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Series 4: Photographs and Artifacts [undated, circa 1947, 1950s, 1960s-1970s]
Series Description
Series 4 contains photographs and artifacts of the club. The photographs, both black and white and in color, in this series were not part of any of the minute books. It is composed solely of photographs and artifacts used by club members.

Series 4 is arranged chronologically by media type and fills four folders.

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Contents Listing Box Series Folder Title Date

1 1 1 Chronicles of the Shakespeare Club, Volume 1 October 1896 – June 1916

1 2 Chronicles of the Shakespeare Society, Volume 2 October 1916 – June 1927
2 1 1 Chronicles of the Shakespeare Society, Volume 3 October 1927 – January 1938
1 2 Chronicles of the Shakespeare Society, Volume 4 January 1938 – June 1952
3 1 1 Chronicles of the Shakespeare Society, Volume 5 May 1952 – June 1971
1 2 Chronicles of the Shakespeare Society, Volume 6 October 1971 – March 1994
2 3 Additional papers 1937, undated
4 1 1 Minutes book (unbound) 1994 to 1998
2 2 Papers 1936-1962, undated
3 3 Publications (The Shakespeare Garden by Esther Singleton Wm Farquhar Payson) 1931-1965, undated
3 4 Publications (pronouncing proper names in Shakespeare) 1947
3 5 Publications (history) 1965, undated
3 6 Newspaper Clippings 1976-1988, undated
4 7 Photographs (3) B&W 50th anniversary circa 1947
4 8 Photographs (14) Royaltone color photos of Shakespeare toga party circa 1980s, 1991
4 9 Photographs (14) Color photos of patio party circa 1960s / 1970s
4 10 Small hook (used in tightening laces, etc) undated

Shakespeare Society rubber stamp undated

1030 Central Avenue Residence: Strong; Architects Rossiter and Wright

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

Lauren McCready's grandparents George Arthur and Harriet Wheelock Strong had New York architects Rossiter and Wright build this yellow brick house on Central Avenue. Rear Admiral McCready remembered as a child: "The hall had melodious chimes to announce dinner, stained glass panels, gorgeous woodwork, banisters to slide down. It had old fashioned gas lighting – pull this way or that to change the flame's light." Courtesy of Lauren McCready

Rear Admiral Lauren McCready, one of the builders and founders of the United States Merchant Marine Academy "Kings Point," spent many days as a child at his grandparents' Plainfield home. He has been kind enough to share his photos and memories with us. Courtesy of Lauren McCready

Rear Admiral Lauren McCready

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

"Every Thanksgiving we'd go to New York, take the ferry at Liberty Stret and then the steam train to Plainfield. . . the house was something. Lovely Irish maids right off the boat, Robert Collins the coachman, had a tall black silk hat! . . ." Courtesy of Lauren McCready

Agnes Strong Huntington married under her mother's ivy arch

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

Architectural appointments carried the day in the front parlor. The ivy-laden arch leading to the conservatory was to be the setting for the wedding of one of the Strong daughters, Agnes.
Courtesy of Lauren Mcready

Effie, Agnes, George and Harriet Strong

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

George Strong poses with two of his daughters, Effie and Agnes. Courtesy of Lauren McCready.

The lady of the house, Harriet Strong, was a camera enthusiast and had her own darkroom on the second floor of the mansion. In this photo, an unnamed photographer captures Harriet taking a picture. Courtesy of Lauren McCready

324 Franklin Place Residence: Huntington

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

The son of the house, Malcolm Wheelock Strong, graduated from Stanford University and embarked on a harrowing sea voyage on the schooner, Edw. R. West. He recorded in his journal the events of the voyage during which the captain and his dog were washed overboard in a storm. Sitting on the Central Avenue porch, Malcolm peruses his diary. Later in California, Malcolm wrote moving picture plays for Universal Film Company. His career was cut short by his untimely death in 1916 in an automobile accident. Courtesy of Lauren McCready.

Agnes Strong and her husband Howard lived in this Italianate style house on Franklin Place. According to McCready, Agnes was quite a person. "She ordered her pet old Franklin car buried in the flower bed rather than see it go to the junkyard." Courtesy of Lauren McCready

Agnes' Franklin Place home today. Words are inadequate!

Rear Admiral Lauren S. McCready

Lauren S. McCready
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2007)

Lauren S. McCready
Place of birth Pelham Manor, New York
Place of death Redding, Connecticut
Allegiance USMS
Years of service 34 years
Rank Admiral
Rear Admiral Lauren S. McCready (1915 - 2007) was one of the builders and founders of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, "Kings Point."

He graduated from New York University in 1937 with a degree in mechanical engineering, soon after he received his marine engineers license. He continued to work as a ship's third engineer until 1940 when he entered the Maritime Officers Training School at Fort Trumbull. Shortly after graduation he joined the Washington, D.C. staff of the United States Maritime Commission as a Cadet Training Instructor.

In February 1942 he was assigned to partake in the acquisition and conversion of the Walter P. Chrysler estate on Long Island into the newly commissioned Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy. He was the first head of the Engineering Department, and created the Engineering Department virtually from scratch while overseeing the design and construction of Fulton Hall. Over a 29 year period he brought the Engineering Department its first accreditation, founded a nuclear engineering curriculum, led the officer training for the first nuclear-powered cargo ship, the NS Savannah, and earned his own Senior Nuclear Reactor Operator's License. He retired from full-time teaching in 1970, but continued to teach as an adjunct until 1975.

In 1971, McCready was appointed the first director of the National Maritime Research Center at Kings Point, a department he helped establish. He served there for three years before retiring from federal service in 1975.

McCready is the recipient of the Department of Commerce Gold Medal and the Engineers of Distinction Award. In 1981 he was designated an honorary alumnus of the Academy, and in 1983 he was named professor emeritus. A major laboratory area in Fulton Hall bears McCready's name.

Admiral McCready was an honorary alumnus of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, and recipient of an honorary doctorate. Admiral McCready was exceptionally proud of the accomplishments of Kings Point graduates, and attended Homecoming every year, where his presentation "Kings Point: The Early Years" was a popular sell-out. One of his most remarkable records was that he watched over 21,000 Kings Pointers receive their diplomas, participating in every commencement ceremony from the first class to cross a King Point campus stage in 1942 through 2005.

In 1973, after several travels to France, he wrote a thesis for the degree of Master of Science (History of Sciences) entitled "the Invention and Development of the Gnome Rotary aero engine - the work of Louis and Laurent Seguin". He was given by the Seguin family the first model of the Gnome engine, and gave it to the Smithonian Institute (Washington) where it is exhibited.

[edit] Career accomplishments
Admiral McCready taught engineering at the Academy from 1941 to 1975.
B.S.M.E., M.M.E., New York University
M.S., Polytechnic University
Chief Engineer of Steam Vessels, Unlimited Horsepower
First Assistant Engineer, Diesel Vessels, Unlimited Horsepower
[edit] References
Wallischeck, CAPT Eric York. Assistant Superintendent, United States Merchant Marine Academy. Official Notice of Death (November 19, 2007).
New York Times. Obituary. (November 21, 2007).
The invention and development of the Gnome rotary aero engine, the work of Louis and Laurent Seguin. (June,1973).
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Lauren S. McCready
Name Maccready, Lauren S.
Alternative names
Short description
Date of birth
Place of birth Pelham Manor, New York
Date of death
Place of death Redding, Connecticut

Retrieved from ""

Son of Effie Strong McCready from Plainfield, NJ

November 25, 2007 New York Times Obituary

Paid Notice: Deaths
Published: November 25, 2007

McCREADY–Lauren S. RADM USMC (Ret.) died at his Redding, CT home November 15 from heart failure at age 92. Regarded as one of the founders of Kings Points Merchant Marine Academy in February 1942, he developed the wartime and peacetime engineering curriculum until 1971. During his career at the academy he brought the engineering program to full accreditation, founded the nuclear engineering curriculum and led officer training for the U.S.S. Savannah, he received the US Dept of Commerce Gold Medal in 1968 and a year later assisted in organizing the National Maritime Research Center. He held masters degrees from NYU and Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and an honorary Doctorate of Science from the Academy. He is survived by Joan Arnold, his wife of 21 years. A memorial service will be held at 2pm, December 12 in the Mariner's Chapel at the Academy. Memorial donations maybe made to Seafarer's Friend, 77 Broadway, Chelsea, MA 02159.

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

Driving a less glamorous model, George Strong's chauffeur poses by ths family mansion on Central Avenue. Courtesy of Lauren McCready

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

Plainfield by John A. Grady and Dorothe M. Pollard

The cover picture on this magazine is the Colonial Revival mansion built for George A. Strong, Esq. The house was constructed of buff brick and white trimmings. The wood roof was stained a dull shade of green. New York architects Rossiter and Wright designed the home.

Plainfield by John A. Grady and Dorothe M. Pollard

After Mr. Leal's 34-year tenure, the tradition was carried on by Charles Digby Wardlaw. Wardlaw renamed the school the Wardlaw Country Day School and moved classes to Park Avenue. In 1932, Wardlaw acquired the Strong mansion on Central Avenue, which proved adequate for many years. Today, the home is known as the DeCret School of Art.

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Huntington

Charter Members of the Shakespeare Society 1896 - 1998

November 14, 1895 New York Times


In Aid of Muhlenberg Hospital – Good Attendance and Reason for Expecting Financial Success – The Booths.

PLAINFIELD, N. J., Nov. 13 – There was a grand opening of the kirmess at the Columbia Cycle Academy Monday night, and the building was decorated very elaborately.

Not since the charity ball have the society fold here been interested in a like event for such a worthy cause. The kirmess is given for the benefit of Muhlenberg Hospital, and, judging from the attendance at the opening night, the hospital will be greatly bettered financially.

Booths have been very prettily arranged about the academy, making an exceedingly tasty show. The equipment of the booths is as follows:

French Booth – Mrs. Albert Hoffman Atterbury, Mrs. Irving H. Brown, Mrs. Charles B. Corwin, Miss Bessie Ginna, Mrs. George C. Evans, Mrs. Charles J. Fisk, Mrs. Ellis W. Hedges, Miss E. E. Kenyon and Miss Whiton.

Florentine Booth – Mrs. I. N. Van Sickle, Mrs. David E. Titsworth, Mrs. W. M. Stillman, Mrs. John D. Titsworth, Mrs. F. A. Dunham, Miss Louise Clawson, Miss Bessie TItsworth, and Mrs. Lulu Lewis.

Gypsy Booth – Mrs. Joseph W. Reinhart, and Mrs. Howard Fleming.

Venetian Booth – Mrs. Hugh Hastings, Miss Emelie Schipper, Mrs. George A. Chapman, Miss Haviland, Mrs. Samuel Huntington, Mrs. Emil Woltman, Mrs. Samuel St. J. McCutchen, Mrs. Conklin, Mrs. C. S. West, Mrs. W. E. Lower, Miss E. R. Cock, Mrs. Frank O. Herring, Miss Huntington, Miss Maud Van Bosckerck, Miss MacCready, Miss Clara D. Finley, Miss Ahrens, Miss Aynne MacCready, Miss Mondanari, Miss Graff, Miss Yerkes, Miss Gertrude Walz, and Miss Pierson.

Japanese Booth – Mrs. Charles Seward Foote, Mrs. George Clay, Mrs. S.P. Simpson, Mrs. L. Finch, Mrs. Constantine P. Ralli, Mrs. William Lewis Brown, Mrs. L. Dennis, Mrs. WIlliam Pelletier, Miss Ellis, Miss Anthony, Miss Dryden, Miss Morgan, Miss Bowen, Miss Lawrence, and Miss Rodman.

Spanish Booth – Mrs. S. A. Cruikshank, Mrs. A. T. Slauson, Mrs. J. F. Wichers, Mrs. T. H. Curtis, Mrs. Marion S. Ackerman, Mrs. T. A. Hazell, Mrs. H. L. Moore, Mrs. D. T. Van Buren, Mrs. E. H. Mosher, Miss Harriott, Miss Louise Patton, Miss Maud Lord, Miss May Kirkner, Miss Louise Van Zandt, Miss Annie Horton, Miss Titsworth, and Miss Meredith.

German Booth – Mrs. Mason W. Tyler, Mrs. Logan Murphy, Mrs. John H. Oarman, Mrs. Charles J. Taggart, Mrs. Benjamin R. Western, Mrs. J. E. Turill, Mrs. Arthur T. Gallup, Mrs. Horsley Barker, Mrs. John Haviland, Mrs. George Wright, Mrs. Amra Hamragan, Mrs. William L. Saunders, Mrs. William Wright, Miss Annie Murphy, Miss Wright, Miss Western, Miss Bartling, Miss Helen Warman, Miss Emma Adams and Miss Ann Thorne.

Stationery Booth – Mrs. John Gray Foster, Mrs. Elliott Barrows, Mrs. A. W. Haviland, Mrs. John D. Miller, Mrs. James R. Joy, and Miss Emily R. Tracy.

Parisian Flower Stall – Mrs. Harry M. Stockton, Mrs. Evarts Tracy, Mrs. Daniel F. Ginna, Mrs. W. H. Ladd, Mrs. Frederick Yates, Miss Marlon Dumont, Miss Ginna, Miss Baker, Miss Huntington, and Miss Van Bosckerck.

Refreshments were dispensed by Mrs. Orville T. Waring, Mrs. George W. Van Bosckerck, Mrs. John Bushnell, Mrs. Gifford Mayer, Mrs. George H. Goddard, Mrs. Moore, Mrs. H. P. Reynolds, Mrs. C. C. Guion, Mrs. N. P. T. Finch, Mrs. Henry McGee, Mrs. De Revere, Mrs. Ruth C. Leonard, Mrs. George W. Rockfellow, Miss Annie Opdyke, Mrs. Van Alstyne, Mrs. Utzinger, Mrs. Nelson Runyon, Mrs. Henry Tapsley, Miss Martine, Miss Edith Allen, Mrs. J. Parker Mason, Mrs. J. K. Myers, Mrs. Walton, and Mrs. H. C. Adams

Husband: Howard Huntington 1871 - 1932

Husband: Howard HUNTINGTON
–––––––––––––––––––––––Born: 24 Jan 1871 at: Plainfield,NJ
Married: 1 Jan 1913 at:
Died: 31 Dec 1932 at: Plainfield,NJ
Father:Samuel HUNTINGTON
Mother:Azelia Caroline ZEREGA
Other Spouses:
––––––––––––––––––––––– Wife: Agnes Fales STRONG
––––––––––––––––––––––Born: at:
Died: 20 Oct 1948 at: Plainfield,NJ
Father:George Arthur STRONG
Mother:Harriet Efner WHEELOCK
Other Spouses:

Father-in-law Samuel Huntington 184 2- 1870 and Mother-in-law Azelia Caroline Zerega

Husband: Samuel HUNTINGTON
–––––––––––––––––––––––Born: 17 Dec 1842 at: Hartford,CT
Married: 23 Feb 1870 at: New York,NY
Died: 9 Mar 1923 at: Plainfield,NJ
Father:Samuel Howard HUNTINGTON
Mother:Sarah Blair WATKINSON
Other Spouses:
–––––––––––––––––––––––Wife: Azelia Caroline ZEREGA
–––––––––––––––––––––––Born: 2 Dec 1842 at: New York,NY
Died: 19 May 1911 at: New York,NY
Father:Augustus ZEREGA
Mother:Eliza Morch VON BRETTEN
Other Spouses:
–––––––––––––––––––––––Name: Howard HUNTINGTON
Born: 24 Jan 1871 at: Plainfield,NJ
Married: 1 Jan 1913 at:
Died: 31 Dec 1932 at: Plainfield,NJ
Spouses: Agnes Fales STRONG
–––––––––––––––––––––––Name: Florence Augusta HUNTINGTON
Born: 20 Jul 1872 at: Westchester,NY
Married: at:
Died: 20 Nov 1961 at: Plainfield,NJ
––––––––––––––––––––––-Name: Augustus Zerega HUNTINGTON
Born: 2 May 1874 at: Plainfield,NJ
Married: at:
Died: at:
Spouses: Ethel MOST Eleanor Ashby ANDERSON
–––––––––––––––––––––––Name: Frederick Louis HUNTINGTON
Born: 13 May 1876 at: Plainfield,NJ
Married: 15 Jan 1910 at: Wilkes-Barre,PA
Died: 10 Sep 1912 at: Dallas,PA
Spouses: Emma Gertrude BELL

Where Love Dwelt in Shadow by Agnes Fales Strong 1909

Illustration by Clinton Balmer

Putnam & the reader, Volume 5

1030 Central Avenue

Founded in 1926 and celebrating it's 85th year, duCret School of Art is NJ's oldest private art school. It has been a major center for the development of artistic talent in the state and many who have studied at duCret are nationally acclaimed portrait artists and illustrators, as well as graphic designers who are now affiliated with some of the nation's most prestigious advertising agencies.

1030 Central Avenue

New Jersey Real Time News Sunday, November 6, 2011

Union County historic buildings to get $500K for repairs

UNION COUNTY – At Merchants and Drovers Tavern in Rahway, the beige paint has yellowed and started chipping away. The historic First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth has a slate roof that needs replacing. And at the George A. Strong Residence in Plainfield, the roof is leaking and the porch deteriorating.

The three buildings are among the county's most historic, frozen in time and facing frozen budgets that make restoration and upkeep difficult.

But help is on the way. County officials last month awarded $500,000 in matching grants from the Union County Open Space, Historic Preservation and Recreation Trust Fund to repair 11 historic buildings in eight towns.

"We're very grateful," said the Rev. Robert Higgs of the First Presbyterian Church, which received the largest grant, $100,000, to go toward a new roof. "The county will see it put to use right here in their front yard in this historic spot where this state was born."

The Broad Street church was built on the site of a former meetinghouse, where a group of men signed a treaty to establish Elizabethtown in 1664. Elizabethtown went on to serve as New Jersey's first capital during the American Revolution.

"There's a lot of history here," Higgs said. "If we don't maintain it, we risk losing it."

The Merchants and Drovers Tavern, a four-story, wood-frame building at St. Georges and Westfield avenues, has been a family home, a tavern, a hotel, a Girl Scout meeting place, and now a museum. After a limousine rammed into the building in 2009, damaging its front and side, museum director Alex Shipley realized the entire exterior was in need of repair.

"This time it just didn't make sense to paint over the problem," Shipley said.

The museum was awarded $65,000, which will go toward removing and replacing the building's siding and cleaning up any wood rot. "It's amazing when you start to peel things away to see how a building was built," Shipley said.

Not all of the deterioration was wrought by time.

The Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit is grateful for its $43,000 award, which it will use to install a safer walkway and make repairs after last week's snowstorm wiped out at least 100 trees and caused more than $30,000 in damage.

"We've never seen anything like this," said executive director Gayle Petty-Johnson.

The museum has been closed since the storm, as landscapers remove hundreds of pounds of tree debris. A 50-year-old elm split in half and two buildings dating to the 1890s – the Carriage House and the Wisner House – were hit by falling trees.

In addition to aiding with cleanup, the arboretum will use the money to install a walkway for safer access to the main building. The only way to get inside now is by walking up a narrow tree-lined driveway.

"We have a lot of school groups that come in. It's going to be a much safer entrance into the building," Petty-Johnson said. The walkway's blueprint also called for removing some of the trees along the driveway.

"There is one silver lining," she said. "The storm took them down for us."


• First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth. Restore slate roof and masonry at the tower, $100,000

• Carriage House: New windows and air conditioning, $15,000

• Oswald J. Nitschke House: Restore second floor, lighting, and air conditioning; install period stove, $70,000

• Deacon Hetfield House: Upgrade electrical system; replace hot water heater, $5,396

• Lampkin House and Barn: Acquire the property located at 850 Terrill Road; perform high-priority repairs; develop a preservation plan, $70,000
• George A. Strong Residence: Repair active roof leaks; restore masonry at chimney; restore deteriorated elements of port cochere, $35,000• Nathaniel Drake House: Restore or repair slate roof, gutters, porch and chimney; build new accessible restroom. Project includes scaffolding, $30,000

• Merchants and Drovers Tavern: Restore or repair gutters, siding, eaves, masonry fireplace and foundation, doors, fire escapes and other building elements; paint existing trim, doors and windows. Project includes scaffolding, $65,000

• Reeves-Reed Arboretum and the Clearing: Repair and repaint wood; replace storm windows; install new walkway for safer access to main house, $43,000

• Liberty Hall Museum Carriage House: Complete replacement of the slate roof, $60,000
• Caldwell Parsonage: Install a ductless air conditioning system, $6,112.50

New York Times Obituary May 20, 1911

HUNTINGTON – On May 19, at Roosvelt Hospital, Azelia Caroline, wife of Samuel Huntington, and daughter of the late Augustus Zerega. Notice of funeral tomorrow.

Augustus Zerega Huntington Yale 1895 Sheffield Scientific School

Augustus Zerega Huntington

Business Address, Wilkes Barre, Pa.

Residence, 276 South River Street, Wilkes Barre, Pa.

Augustus Zerega Huntington was born May 2, 1874, in Plain-field, N. J., the son of Samuel Huntington, Yale '63, a lawyer, connected with the
Title Guarantee & Trust Company, New York City, born in Hartford, Conn. His mother, Azelia Caroline (Zerega) Huntington, deceased, was born in New York. For four generations his family has been represented at Yale.

He prepared at Leal's School, Plainfield, N. J., and took the Mechanical Engineering Course in college.

He was married on October 18, 1904, in New York, to Miss Eleanor Ashby Anderson, daughter of Henry J. Anderson, deceased, of Alamogordo, New Mexico. They have one child: Anne Ashby Anderson, born January 15, 1Q08, in Wilkes Barre,

Huntington writes: "Studied architecture at Columbia until March, 1896, then loafed until January, 1897, when I went with the engineering department of the Scranton Gas & Water Company. Left in January, 1900

New York Times Letter to the Editor April 23, 1915

Breach of Promise

To the Editor of The New York Times:

I wonder how many people agree with me that the action for breach of promise of marriage ought to be abolished by the Legislature. I do not see that it serves a good purpose. Women of refinement and sensibility do not bring such actions and most, if not all, of those that are brought are blackmailing suits.

Samuel Huntington
Plainfield, N.J. April 23, 1915

Dan Damon's blog January 30, 2012

Yesterday's Hidden Plainfield was once home to the headmaster of Wardlaw Country Day School.

Wardlaw was a private school for boys that merged with The Hartridge School in 1976.

Dan Damon's blog January 30, 2012

The Wardlaw property at 1030 Central Avenue was taken over by the duCret School of the Arts.

Wardlaw had already located its upper school on the Inman Road campus, with the lower school being located on the Hartridge property on Plainfield Avenue until 1997, when a new wing was added to the Edison campus.

The gambrel-roofed home had five working fireplaces.

Today's Hidden Plainfield home is one of many comfortable Colonial Revival-style homes that can be found throughout the Queen City. Note the ornate scrollwork over the second floor window and the Palladian triple window in the attic.

But this one was exceptional for once being home to a school headmaster.

Back in my life as a realtor, I sold this home which featured five working fireplaces with the original tiled surrounds. Susan Callender, a fellow realtor and office mate, loaned me a picture of herself at a children's birthday party in the dining room of the house in the 1940s.

Only the wallpaper had changed over the years.

1016 Field Avenue, Plainfield, NJ

May 9, 1974 Spring Potpourri Guestbook

1948 Check Book

No. 742
Dec. 1, 1948
Garden Club of America
Redwood Grove
in memory of Mrs. McCutcheon
Mrs. Eaton and Mrs. Huntington
stopped payment

No. 743
Dec. 1, 1948
Mrs. Yones Arai
to pay for flowers used
in arrangements for lecture

No. 744
Dec. 1, 1948
Interstate Printing Corp.
stamped envelopes for mailing
horticultural letter

In left margin:

Dec. 3 Dues (Mrs. Walter McGee) 15.00

1950 Check Book

No. 829
Mar. 31, 1950
S. S. Pennock Co.
for vases for Lyons
from Hosp. Services Acct.

No. 830
Mar. 31, 1950
Garden Club of America
in memory of Mrs. McCutcheon (Redwood Grove)
Mrs. Eaton and Mrs Huntington
this check is to replace
chk # 742 drawn 12/1/48

Not to be counted in this years expense already account for 1948

No. 831
May 10, 1950
Garden Club of America
1949 Founders Fund
from Reserve

August 20, 2012 Neltje Doubldeday

Email from Mary Kent to Susan Fraser:

I am forwarding you a question from Marian Hill about Neltje Doubleday. I do not recall the name. I was sure if anyone knew it would be you.

Best, Mary

Email from Marian Hill (GCA President) to Mary Kent:
From: "" <>

Subject: Re: Neltje Doubleday
Date: August 18, 2012 8:50:04 PM EDT
To: Mary Kent <>

Dear Mary,

I have a quick question: Was Neltje Blanchan Doubleday a member of your garden club. Thank you for verifying this for me. She is one of my favorite authors.

Hope you are enjoying these last wonderful summer days,

Susan Fraser's Response to Mary Kent:

Hi Mary,

I do indeed know that name and really wish we had more time to get over to the Plainfield Library and crack open our vault of records. Sadly as of today's date, I don't believe Neltje was a member. However, I am fairly certain she was the niece of founding member:

Mrs. James Wilde (Carrie T. Milliken) deGraff '15

I also think she was related to MANY of our Plainfield Garden Club members. Her son's wife, the famous Robert deGraff, sent in a memorial fund for Polly Heely in 1988. She was a local Plainfield girl and must have known Polly – perhaps grew up with her?

Neltje was part of the elite of Plainfield (and Plainfield Garden Club) both through her family and her husband, Frank Doubleday. Frank worked at first for Scribner publishing and his relative, Maxwell Perkins (related to MANY Plainfield GC ladies) was the very, very famous editor at Scribner's – he helped publish Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wolfe and many more famous authors. (No coincidence that Scribners was the publishing company for Neltje.)

You can read about Maxwell here at this direct link:

Mrs. Seymour, Jr. (Esther Moody Barlow) Perkins '49

Neltje's daughter married a Babcock, a very prominent Plainfield family, and that puts her in the same family of Tabby Cochran, Somerset Hills GC through Tabby's husband.

Other Plainfield GC members that Neltje was related to are listed below. Most notably Archibald Cox – whose mother was a Plainfield Garden Club member. Jennifer Gregory who lives in the Cox home has promised me that one day we can come for a tour! Susan

Huntington, Miss Florence '15
Huntington, Mrs. Howard (Agnes Fales Strong) '19
Cox, Mrs. Archibald (Frances Perkins) '25
Nash, Mrs. Philip Wallace (Helen Babcock) '57
Nelson, Mrs. Arthur G. '32, President 1936 -1937, 1940 - 1942
Cochran, Mrs. Homer P. (Elisabeth Nash) '52 (Tabby's mother-in-law)
Harlow, Mrs. Edward Dexter (Elsie Cochran Martin) '15
Stewart, Mrs. Percy Hamilton (Elinor DeWitt Cochran) '15

Mrs. de Graff's son, Robert Fair de Graff, was the famous creator of paperback books! It was his wife that sent the memorial for Mrs. Heely in 1988.

1920 Muhlenberg Hospital Womens Auxiliary

Mrs. G. A. Strong
1030 Central Avenue

Mrs. F. A. Huntington
324 Frankline Place

1920 Meeting Minutes

January 2, 1913 New York Times


Miss Brown Wedded to C. H. H. Piffard; Miss Strong to H. Huntington

PLAINFIELD, N. J., Jan 1 - Miss Helen Louise Brown, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Irving H. Brown of Central Avenue, and Charles Halsey Haight Piffard, son of Mrs. Charles H. Morse of Chicago, were married at the home of the bride's parents last night. The Rev. Dr. J. S. Zelie of this city officiated. Miss Marion Brown, sister of the bride, was bridesmaid, and W. C. Reighton Harris of Edinburgh, Scotland the best man. Harold Seymour Brown and P. Mortimer Brown, brothers of the bride, were ushers.

Miss Agnes Fales Strong, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George A. Strong of Central Avenue, and Howard Huntington, also of this city, were married to-night at the home of the bride's parents. The Rev. Dr. Thomas C. Hall of Union Theological Seminary, an uncle of the bride, performed the ceremony. Mrs. Thomas L. McCready of Pelham Manor, N. Y., and Miss Helen C. Strong, sister of the bride, were bridesmaids, and Augustus L. Huntington, brother of the bridegroom, best man

duCret Art School

85th Anniversary

NJ's Inside Magazine Features duCret January 2013

DuCret Remains An Old Master at Art Education

Place: Frank Falotico's office has that look of organized clutter that only an artist can truly get away with. There is plastic fruit awaiting a still life. Various plaster drawing casts. Antique tubes of ground Italian pigment used to make oil paint from scratch. Damar crystals and an ancient mortar and pestle needed to help turn the crystaline resin into a protective varnish. A large medical illustration sketched in comte chalk and shelves chock full of art books. Falotico, 66, has been director of the duCret School of Art in Plainfield since 1985. Before that, he was both a student and an instructor. A portrait of the school's founder, Marjorie Van Emburgh, hangs prominently on his office wall. "I had the great fortune to study with her. She was such a dynamic lady," says Falotico, who lives in Somerset and also teaches anatomy to beginning students. "For a single woman in 1926 to start a school on her own was pretty progressive at the time."

So progressive, in fact, that national newspaper accounts of the time tell of a local scandal surrounding an exhibition of about 200 pieces of student artwork displayed in the Plainfield library that included about 20 works from a life drawing class. The library "demanded that the nudes be removed from the show and Miss Van Emburgh protested it as censorship."

Falcotico says, "And as further protest, she pulled the entire show from the library."

Falotico says the small art school (just under 100 students are currently enrolled) is the oldest private art institution in New Jersey. Recently placed on the state and national historic registers, duCret is housed in a Georgian Revival Victorian.

Photos by Tony Kurdzuk

duCret blogspot

For decades now, the duCret School of Art has remained a mysterious looking, historic listed mansion in Plainfield, NJ. Few people who drive by the scenic yellow brick house on the quiet, residential road even recognize the small sign posted at the end of the driveway, which is the only indicator that NJ's oldest art school is still in full swing. Those who have emerged from this location in the past century have left quite an indelible mark on NJ's legacy of outstanding artists. Newly emerging artist's of this decade are also paving the way to become some of the state's newest visionaries.

The original visionary, who began the school in 1926 was actually a woman named Marjorie Van Emburgh, who stirred controversy as artist's sometimes can do, right at the start - to the level of national recognition. She incorporated the use of posing nude models to teach artists the basics of figure drawing and during those times, that was considered just a bit too risque.

The school that was originally steeped in the deep tradition of teaching painting techniques of the masters, has managed to not only continue that legacy, but it has kept up with modern times as well. Housed in the mansion are classrooms, a ceramics studio, computer lab, photography studio, jewelry studio, a theater / auditorium and a fine art floor where classes, seasonal workshops and open studio's take place. Anyone can visit the school and get a free tour. Open studio's are exactly that - open to the general public. The more inclined artistic souls of this Earth can even schedule an appointment for a free career consultation as well, to see if opportunities at the school could enhance their natural gifts and thus, their creative directed lives. duCret also starts children off at the tender age of six, in a series of seasonal workshops that will continuously mentor them right into teen-hood. Active seniors simply come to learn master techniques in a variety of art mediums. The location teems with creative individuals of all ages who all have one theme in common - a passion for color, light and sound. duCret, who runs similar to the standard college curriculum system - with Fall and Spring semesters, accepts applications to the school year-round. Spring semester has just begun. For more information, contact the administrative offices at 908-75707171, Monday through Friday, 9 am - 4 pm or just walk in and visit during those times, and pick up some brochure's and program notices.

[ . . .mansion, built as a winter home in 1896 or a prominent Manhattan attorney, on a quiet street of thickly trunked trees that borders the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District.]

From the duCret website

The school holds alot of interesting tidbits like that, including the possible existence of ghosts; however, anyone who attends the school would wager that at least they're the friendly, artsy kind...if they do indeed exist.

Crescent Avenue Historic District

Crescent Area Historic District

Post Office: Plainfiled
Zip: 07060

Hillside Avenue Historic District
Van Wyck Brooks Historic District

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crescent Avenue Historic District

Application to the National Register of Historic Places

332-34 Franklin Place
c. 1880
Some Job Male characteristics
61' x 210'
House size is 30' x 30'

Porches: Original removed and an inappropriate treatment of entry and front door has been added.

Projecting segmental arched window heads – double verge board and cornice with applied decorative molding.

With the removal of the porch and the modern door treatment, this Italianate house has been unfortunately altered without regard to the original style of the building or the prevailing manner of the District.

October 1979

1975-1976 The Junior League of Plainfield

1929-1931: Mrs. William L. Strong

1941 Courier-News Plainfield Merits Classification as 'City of Beautiful Trees'

November 30, 2013: Found in Barbara Tracy Sandford's memorabilia. Written by PGC Member Mrs. Garret Smith

"I call Plainfield the City of Beautiful Trees," and out-of-town visitor remarked to me the other day. "My business takes me to many towns about this size clear across the country. Trees, or their lack, always impress me most about a town. Beautiful building can't make up for the lack of them. Many towns seem to have choice trees only in one or two sections. Others have only a few tree-lined avenues. But every part of Plainfield has not only interesting individual trees, but long stretches of streets where treetops meet in green arches above the traffic. That doesn't just happen. This town must have been founded by tree-lovers."

The stranger was right, as many specimen trees on old private properties testify. They are trees that were rare and expensive when planted years ago. A number of well-to-do property owners appreciated trees and collected choice kinds. The street trees of about this age also show that far-sighted men planned to make the town keep growing more beautiful in ways that everyone enjoys.

Trees have always been essential to Plainfielders. In the early days elms stretched down North Ave. from east to the west city boundaries. Many still remain now 70 to 80 years old. That avenue helped to establish Plainfield's policy of "beautiful trees for every street."

Value Appreciated
The city's mayors and councilmen have appreciate the value of trees . . . Ginko . . . now ripening, in the edge of the station grounds, near the corner of the drug store.

Among its immediate neighbors, at this station are a Red Maple, Austrian Pine, English Elm, Horse Chestnut, several Magnolias and a Sycamore Maple, the latter near the middle of the grass oval. Purple Beech, White Pine and two Hemlocks stand at the west exit.

Lindens at Spot
On the North Ave. side of the station is an interesting clump of three Lindens – no two alike. Evergreens are represented by three Scotch Pines, an Austrian and a White Pine, and a tall, slender Spruce. In this little park are also Sugar Swamp and Silver Maples, and a clump of low-growing Beeches. Looking upward to the railroad level, one sees, besides the specimen Ginko mentioned, two Catalpas, a Weeping Mulberry, two Red Maples and an Austrian Pine. A big Pin Oak, two or three Scarlet Oaks, a . . . .

. . . boats glided over Green Brook and when Plainfield and New York social leaders came in big carriages, drawn by spanking teams, to garden musicals, gay dinners, dances and teas as the Johnston's guests.

All of Plainfield's school grounds are constantly growing more attractive. Environment of vines, trees, plants and shrubs awaken appreciation of Nature's beauty that is a lifelong source of pleasure.

Hubbard School, one of the city's architectural gems, has always been regarded as in a class by itself. Its beauty is greatly enhanced by choice plant material on its ample grounds, partly framed by Barberry. Large specimen Japanese Yews arrest attention, along with Sourwoods, or "Lily-of-the-Valley Tree," whose branches bear long one-sided racemes of white flowers in summer and whose leaves are vivid scarlet in autumn.

White Pine, Cedar, Pfitzer Junipers are shadowy evergreen foils for airy bloom of Weeping Japanese . . .

Among them are the old Elms in North Ave., mentioned before; London Planes from Watchung Ave. to Terrill Rd.; Ash in St. Mary's Ave.; Pin Oaks and Planes in Park Ave.; Sycamore Maples in Bellevue Ave.; Norway Maples in both Leland and Monroe Ave. sections. Tulip trees now grow in Central St., along Maxon School grounds, and Ginkos in Landsdowne Terr. In Cleveland Ave., near Grace Church, the lacy foliage of the decorative Mountain Ash, or Rowan Tree, contrasts at this season with bunches of bright hollylike berries. Many years ago the late Simeon Cruikshank planted Buckeyes along his corner property ["Sacmoore" 831 Belvidere] at Belvidere and Watchung Aves. Much smaller than familiar Horse Chestnut and with brighter pink flower-spikes they have always been greatly admired. In autumn the brilliant, scarlet, star-shape leaves of Liquid-ambar, or Sweetgum, glorifies a patch of Ravine Rd. After a shower, or if bruised, the foliage is fragrant. Corky bark and thorny-skinned fruit like little apples, complete this tree's unique characteristics.

Close to 150 trees, of many species, are part of the Muhlenberg Hospital landscape. The long front path beneath the Maples, and on the west the wide Elm-bordered stretch of green lawn leading to a quiet pool, with its amusing little bronze fountain figure, form two vistas of ever-increasing charm. Wide borders of intermingling trees and flowering shrubs frame the property.

The purple leaves of the two Schwedler Maples attract much attention in the spring. So do the Apple trees and Dogwoods that trim the grounds like big bouquets, set off by Hemlocks, Spruce and Pine. Chinese Dogwoods, given by graduate nurses, are especially prized. Devoted interest of the late Marie Louis, nature-lover and for years superintendent of Muhlenberg, helped turn once common-plant "grounds" into a tree-shaded garden spot both restful and diverting.

Dogwood Favorites
Native Dogwoods are favorites among the city's flowering trees. The Plainfield Garden Club, on its own recent 25th birthday, gave small grove of these "Jewels of the Forest" to Cedar Brook Park. On the T. H. Van Bosckerck grounds on Prospect Ave. is the handsome large group of Dogwoods on private property in town. On Dr. Elmer Weigel's lawn on Belvidere Ave [630 Belivdere – see Mrs. Joost]. Chinese Dogwood bears much larger and later blooms. Directly across the street from this, and close to the sidewalk, a low-growing Witch Hazel (Hamanelis) bears yellow Forsythia-like flowers in winter.

Before the Talmadge dwelling [714 Belvidere], in the the same street, are majestic Copper Beeches. In early days Beeches were popular selections for large grounds. Probably the finest Weeping Beech in the city grows in deserted grounds in Central Ave. Nearby on the Witon property is a huge Purple Beech – both almost perfect. Farther down the avenue, on Wardlaw School grounds [1030 Central Avenue - see Below], is a fine old Ginko.

The only Katsura Tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) in Plainfield is owned by former Mayor Leighton Calkins [929 Madison – see Below]. Its strange trunk and heart-shaped leaves, purplish when young, are unusual. It grows in front of the house in Madison Ave.

Unique among Plainfield trees is a native Orange of the South. it is today laden with velvety, green fruit in Mrs. Howard Tracy's Prospect Ave. garden [1331 Prospect Ave]. Probably nowhere else in this region can one be found, according to Shade Tree Commissioner Lithgow Hunter. Sent north from Maryville College in Tennessee 50 years ago. . . .

. . . residents seeking permanent homes. These officials have always planned with the Shade Tree Commission since its organization, so that every year more trees come marching in. Some fill vacancies in the ranks of old trees along old streets. Others shade tireless blocks in new sections of town.

For the last 17 years, one man, Sidney Durant, the Shade Tree Commission's expert supervisor of trees, has directed its work. it includes feeding, pruning, watering and repairing the city's 25,000 street trees, as well removal of dead or too-badly-injured trees and planting new ones. For nearly 20 years Thomas F. Hylan has served on the commission, of which he is now president.

Of all the city's trees, the strange Ginko, or Maiden-hair tree, grows to a height of 80 feet or so. The delicacy of its little leaves, resembling those of the Maiden-Hair fern, contrast sharply with the arrow-straight upswept branches of what is considered one of the most beautiful and unusual of all hardy exotic trees. The Ginko's origin is a mystery. Nowhere on earth is it been found wild, yet fossils prove it was once scattered all over the world. Nothing else today resembles the Ginko, so paleontologists reason that some series of misfortunes destroyed all missing links. Today's closest relative is the Yew family, thought at a glance they appear as unrelated as a Chines and a New England Yankee.

Planted Near Temples
Early explorers found Ginkos planted around Chinese and Japanese temples. The Chinese called in Yin-Hing – "Silver Apricot" – referring to the greenish-yellow, fleshy fruit having a single stone. This fruit, slightly roasted, was served throughout the formal Chinese dinners which lasted all day. Guests nibble the finlike fruit between courses as an aid to digestion.

The Ginko did not reach England until 1754. The first specimen in this country was planted in Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia. In 1889 the Ginko fruited for the first time there on the grounds of Charles Wister. fifty years ago these newcomers to America were not only scarce, but expensive. That Plainfield has so many beautiful old specimens of these trees is possibly due to the fact that John Taylor Johnston, then president of the New Jersey Central Railroad and a resident of this city, was not only a patron of the arts, but a lover of trees. Each of Plainfield's railroad station grounds had not only fine specimens of the Ginko, but also a varied collection of other trees, evidently selected by an expert.

Netherwood, nearest the Johnston home [see Below], was especially favored. Here, beside the north track, stands a regal Ginko, carefully located as an artist would plan his canvas, so that its top is etched against the sky. This emphasizes the beauty of leaf and branch and trunk as viewed from the eastbound station platform. ?? may see a younger . . .

. . . White Oak and Elms are among the trees fringing the western boundary.

"The property as a whole is a remarkable small arboretum," said a well-known visiting tree scientist recently, after inspecting the Netherwood station park. "In my travels I've seen no other railroad station grounds with such a variety of trees. This landscaping, too, I can see was done by an expert."

In employing such an expert to beautify the railroad property in his home town, Mr. Johnston was carrying out the spirit of the statement he made at the time the Metropolitan Museum of New York City was founded at his Fifth Ave. mansion. He was quoted as saying:

"The public ought to have a chance to see, to hear and to know more about whatever feeds the mind and is inspiring, if we are to have the best kind in America."

To even a novice in landscaping, the Netherwood station grounds show that underlying motive. One could not imagine either the south or north oval either diminished of enlarged – so true is their scale. It would be hard to find more beautiful flowering trees than those Magnolias; or more intriguing contrast of leaf, branch and trunk than offered by the Ginko and the Pine. On the north side the clump of Lindens, combined with an apparently outcropping "pudding stone," make a "garden composition" that suggest to the home gardener similar effective arrangements, though not necessarily identical in material.

Beautiful Estate
Some old residents recall that Mr. Johnston's estate in E. Front St. was lavishly beautified with choice trees, as were those of most of his neighbors along that splendid avenue of that day. Some of those estates are still being kept up as homes of their owners today, while others have been divided into beautiful setting for developments of small homes.

The Johnston estate, however, furnished the basis of another public development of beauty spots. A portion of it became the site of the new Barlow School [see Below]. These school grounds are said to be unequaled in the state in the variety and placement of superb trees. What some consider the finest Weeping Beech in town grows here, also two majestic evergreens, one a White Pine, the other a Spruce. Elm, Ginko, Cucumber tree, Ash, "Button Ball," Willow and Sugar Maple are also outstanding.

Two of the most interesting, although not the most conspicuous of the group, are a true English Oak (Quercus Robur) and a Yellow Wood (Cladrastis lute). The first has smallish leaves, thick-set upon the branch. A strange characteristic is that the stem adheres to the side of the acorn. The writer knows of only one other English Oak in town – Central Ave., near Stelle Ave.

The Yellow Wood has wisteria-like racemes of white fragrant flowers in midsummer. Leaves resemble the locust. Another fine specimen grows on the property of Miss Laura Detwiller in Hillside Ave.

All were here in the days . . . .

. . . when Cherry, Dogwood and Crab. In early spring the large leathery-leaved evergreen Japanese Andromeda (Pieris) unfold delicate, coppery leaves and waxy white racemes of tiny flowers. These are classified as shrubs, but on these favorable grounds, are almost small trees of exceptional beauty.

Preservation is Theme
The good judgement of George R. Zimmer, who for many years has supervised Plainfield's school grounds, is shown not only in what has already been accomplished, but in developments being planned. "What can we preserve?" not "What can we cut down?" is his motto. Before clearing the recently purchased grounds adjoining Maxon School was begun this summer, Mr. Zimmer marked every large and small tree that "might some day be of use somewhere." Workmen were warned to cut not one of these.

The City Police Headquarters and also the old Public Library have a setting of trees. The little Library Park is said to have been reserved from farmland whose native trees – mostly, Red, White and Black Oaks – were left standing. Across the facade of Fire Headquarters are a Ginko, a London Plane and Horse Chestnut – each an unusually fine specimen. Among Netherwood firemen are enthusiastic gardeners. Each spring many of Plainfield's 3,000 commuters take great interest in "what the boys are doing to their grounds." Everything planted seems to do well, even the peonies, marking the line between the firemen's parklike grounds and the railroad cinder-bed.

On spacious City Hall grounds is not only a variety of evergreens, but also of deciduous trees, selected for beauty of form, leaf or flower. Two Cryptomeria, "Aristocrats of Evergreens," donated recently by Plainfield's near-centenarian, Miss Isabel Tweedy, and a tall Himalayan Pine in town was brought here by the late Harry K. Tetsuka, to adorn his well-known Japanese garden in Belvidere Ave [556 Belvidere].

The Holly tree on City Hall grounds is another tree found on but few properties. It was donated by Herbert Moody [see Below], when The Courier-news gift of 5,000 bulbs roused a widespread interest in more beautiful grounds, in keeping with the architectural beauty of the building. Evergreens were given immediately by former Mayor Marion F. Ackerman, and a Dogwood by Thomas F. Hylan, whose keen interest in the property extends back to 25 years ago, when, as Councilman, he served on the City Hall Building Committee. This season former Councilman Orville G. Waring, son of the late Mayor Waring, donated several valuable Pfitzer Junipers.

Not Monotonous
Many species of trees planted along our city streets make green lanes that are not monotonous.

. . . . stood for most of that time in this sheltered nook. The fruits, when ripe, are decorative, but not edible. Edible oranges grown only on grafted stock. The thorny branches of this small tree resemble Osage Orange, or "Indian Bow-wood."

Figs are also ripening now in Plainfield. Within a stone's throw of Netherwood station is Watson Ave. It is only three blocks long and from spring to fall it glows with flowers. In one little garden grows a carefully tended Fig tree that bears fruit yearly. Each fall the owner buries his Fig tree in a deep trench well below the frost-line. Each spring it is dug out and reset.

One great wide-spreading Mulberry (Morus Multicaulus) towers far above the roof-top of Leslie R. Fort's home in Cedarbrook Rd. This venerable tree is the historic survivor of a Mulberry plantation, established during the "Multicaulus Mania," by the late Senator Martine [11 Brook Lane, see Below], as a venture to yield gigantic profits on his farm that included the Cedar Brook tract. He believed with others that New Jersey would be one of the world's silk-growing centers. Convinced that silk was to take the place of cotton, New Jersey farmers set out thousands of acres of "silk-worm mulberries" about 100 years ago, only to cut down the trees when the bubble burst.

One of the most varied private collection of trees in the city is that of Miss Jessie D. Munger in Prospect Ave. In recent years instructors at Rutgers University have brought students to these grounds to study the trees and other plant material as well as the garden design. Last spring the general public enjoyed the same privilege.

Love of trees is part of the tradition that has helped mould Plainfield into a city of pleasant homes on quiet streets. The late Jonas Lie, one of our city's most distinguished citizens, sensed this characteristic of our community. In the Common Council Chamber at City Hall hangs his gift – a mountain woodland scene, interpreted by his illustrious brush as an inspiring message to us all.

To learn more about the history of some of the people and places mentioned in this article, visit these links:

[Maxson School]
Stillman, Mrs. William Maxson (Elizabeth B. Atwood) '15

[630 Belvidere]
Joost, Mrs. Sherman Brownell (Marie Murray) '19

[714 Belvidere]
Dunbar, Mrs. William Kuhn '17
Rock, Mrs. Robert B. '43
Runkle, Mrs. Harry Godley (Jennie Fitz Randolph) '15
Whitehead, Mrs. James Harold (Jean Fitz-Randolph Heiberg) '43

[1030 Central Avenue – duCret School]
Huntington, Mrs. Howard (Agnes Fales Strong) '19
McGee, Mrs. Walter Miller (Mary Alice Yerkes) '22
Zerega, Miss Bertha Virginia '23

[929 Madison Avenue]
Ackerman, Mrs. Marion S.(Sarah M. Wills) '35

[Johnston Estate on Front Street & Netherwood]
Mali, Mrs. Pierre (Frances Johnston) '18

[Barlow School East front Street – former estate of "Blojocamavi" owned by Lewis V. Fitz Randolph/Johnston estate]
Barlow, Mrs. Carlton Montague (June Simms) '70
Barlow, Mrs. DeWitt Dukes (Mary Lee Brewer), Jr. '65
Dunbar, Mrs. William K., Jr. (Elizabeth or "Libby" Hail Barlow) '47
Perkins, Mrs. Seymour, Jr. (Esther Moody Barlow) '49
(Also see Mrs. Runkle and Mrs. Whitehead above)

[City Hall]
Moody, Mrs. George T. '22
Perkins, Mrs. Seymour, Jr. (Esther Moody Barlow) '49

[11 Brook Lane, Martine House]
MacLeod, Mrs. Robert F. (Carolyn Waring) '55

1941 Courier-News Plainfield Merits Classification as 'City of Beautiful Trees'

1941 Courier-News Plainfield Merits Classification as 'City of Beautiful Trees'

circa 1983

circa 1983

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

The Garden Magazine April 1921

The Garden Magazine April 1921

The Huntington Family in America: A Genealogical Memoir of the Known

The Huntington Family in America: A Genealogical Memoir of the Known

The Huntington Family in America: A Genealogical Memoir of the Known

The American Rose Annual 1932

Why I Prefer Spring Planting By AGNES FALES HUNTINGTON, Plainfield, N. J. Editor's Note. – It was most ungracious of the fall-planted roses to misbehave for this kindly and careful lady! Surely she gives her roses all they could possibly ...

August 8, 2013 From a reader

I acquired a book of poems by Agnes Fales Huntington. In researching her name online I found that she was an honorary member of your organization. She seems to have been quite an interesting woman, versed in Latin, German, and French. Several of her poems pertain to the seasons (she seems to have had an affinity for winter). In other works she poignantly deals with lost love. I found it interesting reading, and thought I would share that with you.

Detwille blueprints 1030 Central Avenue

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

November 21, 2018 Plainfield Holiday House Tour

It pays to have friends in high places! Brenda has once again used her might to secure for us advanced notice of the list of homes on the Saturday, December 1st Plainfield Holiday House tour:

* 1030 Central, Georgian Revival (1896), currently the Ducret School, former home of Mrs. Howard (Agnes Fales Strong) Huntington '19. The house is also affiliated with Mrs. Walter Miller (Mary Alice Yerkes) McGree '22 and Miss Bertha Virginia Zerega '23.
* 1023 Central Avenue, Georgian Revival Colonial (1926)
* 308 W. 8th Street, Queen Anne Victorian (1893)
* 1341 Prospect, French Normandy Tudor (1916), First the home of Mrs. Homer P. (Elisabeth Nash) Cochran '52 (who's descendant is the husband of Somerset Hills GC Tabby Cochran); and then the home of Mrs. William R. (Peggy) Barrett '67, daughter of beloved member Nancy Dwinnell Kroll (later Gordon) '60 and sister-in-law to Sally Kroll '80 and sister to Priscilla Kroll Farnum '80.
* 1420 Evergreen, Tudor (1926)
* 1112 Watchung Avenue, Georgian Revival (1921), Founding PGC Member Mrs. Frederick Washburn (Bertha Kedzie Cornwell) Yates '15 home with her sunken garden in the side yard!
* 750 Belvedere, Tudor Revival (1904)
* 1275 Denmark Road, Dutch Colonial (1935), the former home of our much beloved Mrs. Webster (Barbara Tracy) Sandford '50

Brenda adds, "If anyone wants to be a docent, the tour committee discount docents so we pay $15 instead of $35. Shifts are 10:00 to 12:30 and from 12:30 to 3:00, followed by a party at the historic art school DuCret. It's also where the boutique is held."


We have a long list of all the Plainfield homes & Gardens (in street alphabetical order) here. If you are going on the tour, be sure to check out the neighboring houses – they may have once hosted at PGC meeting!