Maplewood History

Asher B. Durand’s Life in Art: From Jefferson Village to Maplewood

April 3, 2016, 2:00 - 4:00 PM

Join Durand-Hedden House & Garden for an illustrated lecture, Asher B. Durand’s Life in Art: From Jefferson Village to Maplewood. The talk will be presented by a leading Durand expert Dr. Linda S. Ferber, Senior Art Historian and Museum Director Emerita at the New-York Historical Society and will provide insights into the life and work of a native son of Maplewood, Asher B. Durand (1796-1886), who became one of the most important artists of the 19th century.

From Farm to Suburb: The Birth of College Hill

February 21, 2016, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

College Hill is one of Maplewood’s most clearly identifiable neighborhoods due to its roster of collegiate street names. 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. 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.

'Drive By History' Featuring Maplewood Airing This Wednesday

Tune in Wednesday, September 30 at 8PM for the second episode of Drive By History featuring the Durand Hedden grounds and a short interview with Board Member Helen Kensinger on your local PBS affiliate station.

Where to watch:
Cablevision Optimum – Channel 8
Comcast – Channel 23 (SD), 261 and 800 (HD)
Time Warner in NJ – Channel 23 (SD), 1223 (HD)
Verizon Fios – Channel 23 (SD), 523 (HD)


Images


Battle of Springfield Hike

May 3, 2015, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Did you know that a key event of the American Revolution happened right on the doorstep of Maplewood/South Orange? In fact the Battle of Springfield in 1780 is seen by many as a turning point in the War for Independence. To see some of the nearby battle-related sites yourself, put on your walking shoes and join Durand-Hedden for a moderately paced 1-mile “history hike”.

Reflecting Back on 160 Maplewood Avenue

Susan Newburry, Maplewood township historian and Durand-Hedden president, writes about the Maplewood post office.

Let’s Go to the Pictures!

October 26, 2014, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

For over 100 years, movies have played a part in the lives of Americans, entertaining, moving and inspiring us. Stop by Durand-Hedden to view the exhibit: The Maplewood Theater: Its Forgotten Saga. Also view short silent comedies that tickled the fancy of Maplewoodians in the 1920s or settle in to watch the rousing award winning film of the musical 1776, which retells the struggle of our founding fathers to declare independence from Britain.

The Maplewood Theater: The Forgotten Saga

February 23, 2014, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Most Maplewoodians catching the latest movie at their village six-plex have no idea that the theater in actuality has a long theatrical history dating back to 1927.

Where Can I Mail a Letter? The History of Maplewood’s Postal Service

November 24, 2013, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Over the past 200 years area residents have gone to a bewildering number of places for their mail. Find out more through our exhibit and a talk by Robert Rose, President of the New Jersey Postal History Society.

After The Hickories: Roosevelt Park

The extensive exhibit After The Hickories: Roosevelt Park that graced the Durand-Hedden House for most of 2012 traces the transformation of one hundred bucolic acres in the foothills of Orange Mountain from pre-Revolutionary farmland to their days as a grand 19th century country retreat to their new life as a fashionable early-20th century neighborhood still thriving today.

Clinton Pettee & the Roosevelt Barn

Walter Clinton Pettee, an artist and illustrator who had moved to Maplewood with his new wife, Alice Tanner Brown, in 1901, renovated the Old Roosevelt Barn into a house, now numbered 104 Durand, in 1909, according to real estate records of that year.

The Ackerson Company Houses

The Ackerson Company offered prospective buyers at least six pre-designed house models, as seen by these renderings from their brochure. Three were actually built on Curtiss Place and further research may uncover variants of others.

A Budding Naturalist

The extended Roosevelt family were great believers in the benefits of summer vacations in the country and outdoor pursuits. Teddy, as a frail boy who suffered from severe asthma, was urged by his father to do all he could to strengthen his body. He embarked on a program of vigorous exercise, which he continued throughout his life.

“The Hickories” and Theodore Roosevelt

In 1862 Cornelius Van Schaick Roosevelt, uncle of Theodore Roosevelt, came out from New York and purchased the farm of Isaac Smith in the Village. It comprised about one hundred acres of land extending up the mountain from Ridgewood Road beyond Wyoming Avenue, and from Durand Road to Curtiss Place.

William Howard Curtiss: Visionary or Failed Promoter?

The executors of the C.V.S. Roosevelt Jr. estate were enmeshed in a long dispute over his will, but upon its resolution, William Howard Curtiss of Ralston Ave., South Orange purchased the grand house and its land in March 1902. It is interesting to surmise his motives.

A Fashionable Country Retreat

The C.V.S. Roosevelt Jr. mansion, built c. 1865, was a rambling country estate known as “The Hickories.” Its prominent tower would have been a landmark on the wooded slopes of South Mountain, signaling the social prominence of its owners. The design of the house exemplifies the romantic picturesque styles of architecture popular in America from the mid-to-late19th century and combines elements of the Italianate style with those of the Second Empire.

Thomas Benton Ackerson, Master Developer

Thomas Benton Ackerson, owner of the eponymous T. B. Ackerson Company, entered the Roosevelt Park story in 1904. A developer of houses and industrial buildings in New York City and Long Island, Ackerson crossed the Hudson to successfully take up where William H. Curtiss had failed.

The Woman’s Club of Maplewood — A Century of Service

The Woman’s Club of Maplewood, established in December 1916, was a product of a growing movement in America that had begun after the Civil War. Across the nation, women organized clubs to develop common interests and work together to improve their communities.

Edward Balch: Builder and Visionary in Early 20th C. Maplewood

Edward C. Balch, who lived in Maplewood from 1890 until his death in 1934, was one of the most prominent builders of the time.

Kenneth Dalzell: A Maplewood Architect Rediscovered

This is the town that architect Kenneth Whitney Dalzell helped to create between 1911 and the 1930’s, building on the local culture of simple farmhouses of the late 18th and early 19th century and incorporating both the technology and changing family needs of the early 20th century.

The Lenape Who Came Before Us

The earliest residents of the Maplewood-South Orange area were The Lenapes -- Native Americans who once populated Mid-Atlantic coast from New York Bay to Delaware Bay.

Maplewood Past and Present — On Glass

Opportunities to see the 1915 show of glass slides of historic Maplewood images come along rarely, and they always draw a standing-room-only crowd.

Apple Groves and Cider-Making in Old Maplewood

For centuries, apples have been the most commonly grown and consumed fruit in the northern latitudes. A detailed and expansive examination of the local apple industry was researched and developed by Durand-Hedden Trustee Maria Morrison Heningburg and President Susan Newberry with the help of Township Historian John Crowell Bausmith, a descendant of the Crowell Cider Mill’s founders.

Durand Family History: Cyrus Durand Chapman

Cyrus Durand Chapman (1856-1918), an artist, photographer and architect, was the grandson of Cyrus Durand and the nephew of Henry and Asher B. Durand.

Teddy Roosevelt Slept Here Too

Theodore Roosevelt was a colorful and celebrated American President whose vision and commitment led to many achievements. It is less well known that he spent many happy days as a child visiting his Uncle Cornelius’s country home in Maplewood.

Seth Boyden

Seth Boyden, “one of America’s greatest inventors,” according to Thomas Edison, spent the last 15 years of his life in “Middleville”—what is now Hilton.

The Hilton Section: Many Names, One Identity

This intriguing part of town was one of the first areas to become a thriving community on a well-traveled thoroughfare we now know as Springfield Avenue.

If Walls Could Talk: Maplewood Town Hall Murals

The story of Maplewood is all around us, in the array of houses that span three centuries, and in the ancient trees that predate our roads. But nowhere is that story more eloquently told than in the paintings that grace the main chamber of Maplewood’s Town Hall.

Harold Tatton, Maplewood Architect

Harold Tatton practiced architecture in the first half of the 20th century and specialized in the Colonial and Tudor Revival styles which grace much of our community.

Joseph Veach Noble — Renaissance man with his heart in Maplewood

Joseph Veach Noble was a true Renaissance man who stood large on the world stage and yet had his feet and heart firmly planted in Maplewood. He was interested in antiquities, technology, history, filmmaking, ceramics and art -- and his community.

Postcards from the Past: Glimpses of Our Towns From a Century Ago

Vintage postcards allow us to step back in time 100 years ago to explore the streets, neighborhoods and buildings of our communities as they looked then.

Notable Trees of Maplewood

An Arborist with the Maplewood Department of Public Works, Todd Lamm has lived in Maplewood for 30 years. His tour list describes his personal favorites of this community’s vast array of native and introduced trees that he feels are notable for their age, size or species.

Flooring by the Numbers

Restoration of an old house is an ongoing process. In 2000, as Island Housewrights restoration experts worked to finish stripping the floorboards on the second floor of the Durand-Hedden House, Don DeFillo noticed some odd markings -- invisible when covered with paint -- on the ends of several boards.

A Brief History of The Durand-Hedden House

The Durand-Hedden House, whose original structure was built in about 1790, sits on two acres of the original plantation that was part of a 72-acre tract of land acquired by Ebenezer Hedden before 1740.

John Beam House - 1913

John Beam House was built in about 1913 by Edward Balch, one of the most important developers in turn-of-the-century Maplewood. John Beam, a realtor, was probably the first resident of the house, according to town directories going back as far as 1916.

Fleming Manor - 1840

Fleming Manor was built around 1840. In the 1870s, it was renovated in the fashionable Second Empire style with the addition of an elegant mansard roof, dormers and Italianate elements.

Lewis Pierson House - Vauxhall - 1843

Lewis Pierson, owner of Pierson’s Mill, built the House known as Vaux Hall in 1843. Vaux Hall and the Durand-Hedden House are the only early Maplewood houses still having a large share of land about them.

Timothy Ball House - 1743

The Timothy Ball House is one of the most interesting and impressive early houses in the region, both historically and structurally. It was built in 1743 by a grandson of Edward Ball, who settled in Newark in 1666 and was a signer of the Fundamental Agreement Among the Puritans.

Jonas Ball House - 1750

The Jonas Ball House was constructed in 1750 as a cooper shop, made of massive fieldstone and hand-hewn timber. It was the place where barrels and other containers were made on the plantation of Jonas Ball, one of seven surviving sons of Thomas Ball.

DNA, Genetics and Genealogy

March 10, 2013, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Curious about your family’s roots? Researched as far as you can on Ancestry.com? Come to Durand-Hedden to learn about how DNA testing helps determine genetic relationships between people and connections to our ancestors.

James Betelle: Maplewood’s Master Civic Architect

April 29, 2012, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

For years after his graduation from Columbia High School, speaker Steve Weintraub could not get images of the school out of his head. He wondered who had designed the building. His dogged quest for an answer led him to create an innovative web site, James Betelle -- Where Are You? The Search for a Lost Architect. In his slide talk, starting at 2:00 p.m., Mr. Weintraub will tell the story of the intriguing architect who he has helped bring back into the public eye along with his memorable buildings.

Nancy Drew, Who Knew? The Maplewood Connection

March 18, 2012, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

No, the long running, mega popular girl detective book series that has inspired countless women over the decades, including Hillary Clinton and Sandra Day O’Connor, did not take place in a town called Maplewood (though it very well could have.) But Harriet Adams, the daughter of entrepreneur Edward Stratemayer who created the character Nancy, as well as those of other juvenile adventurers such as the Hardy Boys, happily made her home on North Terrace for over 60 years.

After The Hickories: Roosevelt Park

February 26, 2012, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

The tale of how young Teddy Roosevelt loved to roam his uncle Cornelius’ wooded Maplewood estate observing nature has often been told, but not the story of what happened decades later, after the property had been sold and “The Hickories” had burned.

The Spirit of Maplewood: The History of the Maplewood Woman’s Club

November 21, 2010, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Find out the untold story of this volunteer service organization whose beginnings in our community go back to the early 20th c. At the opening of their clubhouse in 1930 Mayor DeHart noted that the Woman’s Club was always at the forefront of progress in Maplewood.

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

February 21, 2010, 1:00 - 4:00 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.

Kenneth Dalzell - Maplewood’s Most Prolific Architect?

September 27, 2009, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

This nearly forgotten architect designed a vast array of houses in Maplewood between about 1916 and 1960, working for individual clients and developers. Dalzell believed in well-designed, moderately priced homes, often in Colonial, Tudor and Mediterranean styles.

Was Kenneth Dalzell Maplewood’s Most Prolific Architect?

February 22, 2009, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

This nearly forgotten architect designed a vast array of houses in Maplewood, working from about 1915 and 1940 for individual clients and developers. Dalzell created well-designed moderately priced homes, often in Colonial, Tudor and Italian Revival styles.

Maplewood’s Past on Glass

April 15, 2007, 2:00 - 4:00 PM

A real glass lantern show given by Township Historian John Crowell Bausmith revealing many Maplewood landmarks as they looked in the 19th and early 20th c. The original show was compiled in 1915 and was revived in the 1940's by Mr. Bausmith's grandmother, Charlotte Crowell Salter and Mr. George Thompson, a lifelong resident.

Down in the Valley: The History of the Dunnell Road Area

February 11, 2007, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Long before the police station and fire department were located beside Memorial Park following Maplewood's incorporation, the area had been the site of farms and a variety of mills, including the Phoenix Paper Mill.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Life and Times and His Ties to Maplewood

November 19, 2006, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Historian Charles McSorley will will present a slide talk on

Apple Groves and Cider Making in Old Maplewood

October 29, 2006, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Find out the story of Maplewood's renowned apples and cider mills. The Crowell Cider Mill is the most well known. It stood near the current site of Columbia High School and was a popular institution for one hundred years.

How South Mountain Reservation Began and Grew

April 10, 2011, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

The familiar park with the awesome views to the east on the mountain above Maplewood and nearby towns has far more interesting origins than most hikers and dog-walkers realize.

The Hidden History of the Watchung Mountains

November 18, 2007, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

The Watchung Mountains, a part of which loom above Maplewood and South Orange as South Mountain Reservation, have played an important part in both political and art history over the past three centuries.

Next Event

June 4, 2017, 2:00 PM

Dragonflies and Damselflies of N.J.

Notice how dragonflies often visit water, whether ponds, lakes or rivers, even bird baths in the summer? Ever-fascinating, they are voracious predators as larvae, in freshwater habitats, and as adults, where they consume flies and other insects. Here in NJ we have an abundance of dragonfly and damselfly species, and Dr. Jessica Ware, a professor of evolutionary biology at Rutgers Newark, will lead us on a journey to learn about their amazing life histories and where to find them across the Garden State.


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