Glen Ridge May Expand Historic District

The Glen Ridge Planning Board will hold a public hearing tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Glen Ridge Municipal Building to consider whether to expand the borough’s historic district.

If the measure passes, it would increase the number of homes under historic preservation from roughly 80 to 90 percent of the town. (See the map here.) Homeowners whose properties are listed in the register would need permission to perform certain kinds of work on their homes, to keep the streetscape the same in terms of scale, style and materials.

According to a member of the borough’s Historic Preservation Commission, the vast majority of the homes that apply for permission receive it. The member doesn’t foresee much of a controversy at the hearing tonight. “Most folks kind of like the way it is in Glen Ridge,” he said. In addition, he noted that the commission doesn’t concern themselves with such issues as paint color or anything that can’t be seen from the street. Rather, they focus on such considerations as maintaining a scale appropriate for the lot size, as well as ensuring that the style and materials used for renovations are in keeping with the house.

“This isn’t Litchfield, CT where everything must be painted white,” said the member, who also noted that the commission’s decisions are rarely appealed to the planning board.

He noted that in some neighboring towns, such as Montclair, houses have been “changed at the whim of the home owner without consideration of the neighborhood…I think it’s a shame as Montclair is losing some really nice homes. And I’m not just talking about the grand homes in the Estate Section. It’s also about the smaller homes that have been morphed into something terribly wrong.”

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  1. Yes the house is in Mtc.

    I think GR should be 100% historic with a few exceptions like condos. There are some great designs and materials that the average new home owner would chose to replace if given the chance. But that would take away from the character of G.R. I lived in a house that the entire roof was copper. Nobody in their right mind would build a roof entirely of copper today and that’s what makes it great. For the next 50 years I can drive down that street and say to my grandchildren, “I lived there. And it looked just like that”

    I lived in Providence for a few years. During my last trip to Boston I swung through Providence and didn’t even recognize the place.

  2. Montclair is in dire need of an Architectural Review Board in addition to a a more proactive Historic Preservation Committee… follow GR’s lead, MTC!

  3. Thank you Ms. Maynard-Paris. I think the house is a superb example of lovingly preserved historic homes. This is my house and yes it is in Upper Montclair, not Glen Ridge. It was built by my husband’s great, great grandfather and has been in the family for 6 consecutive generations. The original property included several of the adjacent lots with an orchard, tennis court and windmill. The separate two-story carriage house was in fact the carriage house until the family made it living space in the early part of the last century. Although we have done a great deal of work on it over the years, the house retains the historic features that make Queen Anne Victorians so appealing – stained glass windows, fireplaces, 7-cove molding and a solid, quiet gracefulness. See for yourself:

  4. The GR historic district is not just Ridgewood Ave. It encompasses most of the central and north/south areas of the town radiating off Ridgewood which is just the spine. Part of the beauty of the historic district is the cobblestone gutters and of course the gaslights. I have wondered for years why Montclair doesn’t have a proactive Historic Preservation Committee but with all the political fracturing and posturing, I don’t think it’s possible.

  5. A fascinating history!

    After the mid 1800s, at the time that Llewellyn Haskell fled the once upon a time estate area along the increasingly more polluted Passaic River …and with his architect he created Llewellyn Park….(his wife and children died of typhoid and collera from the drinking water) ….Mr. Darwin abandoned his plans for a victorian luxury resort community in Rutherford and then began developing Glen Ridge. The town was then called Ridgewood but train travelers would mistakenly arrive at Ridgewood in Bergan County…so they had to change the name to Glen Ridge. It seemed that the attraction was being able to have a lovely ornamental suburban villa with in proximity of woods and leafy glens for picnics.

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