From Farm to Suburb: The Birth of College Hill

February 21, 2016, 1:00 PM

College Hill is one of Maplewood’s most clearly identifiable neighborhoods due to its roster of collegiate street names: Amherst, Bowdoin, Colgate, Harvard, Oberlin, Rutgers, Wellesley and Yale. (Cornell was in the plans, but later dropped.) However, the use of the moniker “College Hill” only dates back to the 1990’s when a group of neighbors formed the College Hill Association. This section of town, as many in Maplewood, began originally as a farm, in this case a dairy farm worked for three generations by the Courter family. In the late 19th century, as American society began to change and many sought to leave crowded, industrialized cities for the country, developers began to buy and divide up land in places like Maplewood with easy access to roads and railroads. In 1898 the Trimpi brothers, two successful business men in Newark and New York, purchased much of the Courter acerage and began to transform it into the suburban Trimpi tract, which they named Valley View. The first seven houses, designed by architect W. Frank Bower in the Queen Anne and Four Square styles, were scattered throughout the development. Over subsequent decades, other individuals and developers bought lots and built houses in popular early and mid-20th c styles and knit together the neighborhood we know today.

This exhibit will chronicle the history of the Courters, the Trimpi’s and others, and examine the evolution of this section of town from agricultural to suburban.

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Houses Maplewood History

Slavery in New Jersey: A Troubled History is an illustrated 40-page book that traces the evolution of slavery in New Jersey, which began with Dutch settlement in the seventeenth century and continued through the end of the Civil War.

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