“The Father of Maplewood”, Builder Edward C. Balch

February 21, 2010, 1:00 PM

A little over 100 years ago Maplewood resident and entrepreneur Edward C. Balch turned his attention to improving his adopted home, at that time a rural village. From about 1903 until 1921 Balch built almost two hundred houses in various styles on the streets climbing the slopes of South Mountain near his own home. His plan was to attract families like his own who would make good citizens and contribute to the growth of a well-ordered, peaceful community. He set an example by being active in his church and founding a local business, the Orange Screen Company, which gained a national reputation. He was also instrumental in the creation of Maplewood’s bank and country club. Balch’s success -- and paternalistic presence -- earned him the respectful title of “Father of Maplewood.”

The Durand-Hedden House will present an exhibit which explores the Maplewood of Edward C. Balch’s day and the many houses and the beautiful neighborhoods that he helped to shape. Balch homeowners are invited to provide any information about their house’s construction or early residents. The hope is to develop a Balch building directory.

There will be architectural games for the kids. In honor of Washington’s Birthday the Country Store will be holding a pre-inventory sale of unique gifts and books.

Read more about:

Architecture 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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