Maplewood History

Exploring Golf Island

Tour the exhibit at the Durand-Hedden House on May 19th during our open house, 1 to 4 pm

Visit the Durand-Hedden House to learn how the Golf Island neighborhood of Maplewood, bordered by the Maplewood Country Club golf course, the Morris and Essex rail line, and the Maplewood Middle School evolved from farmland in the 19 th and early 20 th centuries to today’s cohesive suburban neighborhood. Beginning with New York druggist John W. Shedden’s 1861-1867 purchases of 30 acres around Maple Street, home lots were mapped and two “cottages” were built. Of larger consequence to the town was Shedden’s donation of one acre of land (near Lenox Avenue in the current Village) to the Morris and Essex Railroad to build a station, soon named ‘Maplewood Station’ for a notable nearby tree and maple swamp.

'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)

Reflecting Back on 160 Maplewood Avenue

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

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.

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Membership in the Durand-Hedden House & Garden Association is open to all. Please consider your membership an invitation to join us as a volunteer or docent educator.