Montclair 1898 Carriage House Fate: Teardown To Pave Way For Turf, Parking Lot At MKA

Montclair 1898 Carriage House Fate: Teardown To Pave Way For Turf, Parking Lot At MKAAnother Montclair teardown? Edward Skillin, a Montclair resident since 1950, is concerned about plans for the carriage house on Upper Mountain Avenue on Montclair Kimberley grounds.

Skillin, who since 2000 has lived across the street from the Montclair Kimberley Academy (MKA) playing field and the 1898 carriage house (that served until a year ago as a residence for school staff), writes that he was shocked to read in the Montclair Times of the school’s intention to demolish the picturesque carriage house, cut down 21 trees, widen the playing field, cover it with artificial turf, create a paved parking lot, and construct two new concrete buildings.

Skillen writes:

All this was discussed at a single meeting of Montclair’s Zoning Board of Adjustment last November 14, and given a quick seal of approval by the board. The school’s property, a 3-acre lot, is specifically included in the “Mountain District” as listed on the state and national Registers of Historic Places. The James Howe (or Freed Slave) House sits on an adjoining lot, facing Claremont Avenue.

The historic designation of the MKA property is included in the township’s Master Plan, but this information was never conveyed to the members of the Zoning Board at their Nov. 14th meeting.

There is no mention of it in the minutes of that meeting, a matter of public record; nor does it appear in the 8-page memorandum on the property, prepared by Janice Talley of the Planning Board.

james howe houseI question the Zoning Board’s apparent lack of concern for the residential character of our neighborhood. The beauty of the century-old carriage house is that it blends perfectly with the other homes of the period that surround it. The same cannot be said of the new industrial-style concrete buildings MKA proposes to build in the middle of this historic district.

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.


  1. One of the supposed rights of owning one’s castle (whether the owner is a man or an educational institution) is to tear it down and do other things with the property if one wishes.

    You might even argue that this “returns” the plot to something more resembling its original purpose.

    In any event, I await the inevitable responses from the usual gang (frankgg is, I’m sure, drafting a reply even as I type this, all the while never himself offering to pick up someone’s property taxes as the cost of preservation) who will differ. But really, MKA owns the property and is well within its rights to do with as it sees fit. I merely myself wish the school athletic success once the new field is created.

  2. Waiting for the MKA folks to chime in explaining how important this is for their kids, sports, and SUV’s. My Palatial Estate in UPPER Montclair, 6 years senior to this one, cringes.

    Oh, well, Montclair demolishes the Washington Street YMCA– known as the “Black Y,” to build the prison-inspired Bullock School. PAZ is right on the money!!

    Hopefully, little MKA Sally and little Montclair public school Johnny will get into Harvard.


  3. I do not believe as the person who just commented that a property owner can do with their property as they wish. My God, that would create great chaos if that were true which communities around the nation have said. If the property was under historic protection then someone or group missed something important. Was that a Montclair person on the planning committee? This area needs that protection and do what MKA wants to do here is bad for all of us. We live in a lovely area and in the middle of it will be a big field, ugly buildings and a parking lot???!!! This needs to be corrected and the use of the field better though out by MKA. They to be reminded they live in a community not on their own.

  4. “and construct two new concrete buildings”. Is this necessary? It sounds like it can be readily converted into a bomb shelter overlooking a gunpowder storage bunker.

  5. I would like to see the Township look at reducing the 35mph speed limit there to match the 30mph speed limit on the County portion of U.Mtn. This road is actually narrower than North Mountain Ave, Park St and most of Valley Road – which all max out at 25 or 30mph.

  6. You’re so cute, Frank.

    Don’t you know Montclair is FULL of VIP’s that don’t need to follow your dumb speed limits. C’mon pal, they have thing to do, kids to taxi, calls to make… Which is why they drive 200+ horse powered SUV’s to shop at Whole Foods and Starbucks.

    These are The Entitled, and they WILL NOT abide by your rules!!

  7. two new concrete buildings
    sounds a little like a certain pumping station….

    And as for property taxes, this three-acre lot generates **NO** property tax revenue for the town, since it is owned by the school. Yes I just looked it up. Were it *not* tax-exempt, their bill based on what I believe is the current rate of $3.81/$100 would be around $37,900. I don’t know how the assessment would change after they knock down the house, not that it matters since they don’t pay anything to the town anyway. So does this mean the school can do anything it wants? Can it build a ginormous parking lot and increase traffic, change the percent of impervious surface on the property and increase storm runoff, all so that they can attract more athletes to their tuition-paying rolls – ?? What is the benefit to Montclair, if any, or if that isn’t the point, do we have to just go along with whatever the school asks for?

    In this case, preservation would have no affect on property taxes. And if the town wants to appease the school, what are they afraid of? MKA abandoning the town? Big deal – they’d have to sell their properties eventually, and then maybe to a for-profit entity or person. Then there could be some meaningful discussion about the use or re-use of the property.

    I must be missing something here?

  8. Prof is correct.

    only the privileged in our society break the speed limit. once you venture out into Dogpatch, you see universal acceptance of all traffic laws.

    and lord knows Prof is by no definition “privileged”…

  9. I was actually being serious about my concern.

    I don’t know of another school facility in Montclair that has a 35mph zone in front of it.

    As an all-weather field, there will be that many more athletic events with that many more spectators. I assume this will include siblings and lower grade students who may not cross at the crosswalk.

    I not saying people will follow 30mph, but the unwritten rule seems to be a 5-7mph grace margin. So, people will still go 35mph. My concern is the 40-45mph drivers in that congested space. Add in some school buses and it’s a real visibility problem, even at the crosswalk.

  10. Yes indeedy, I do so believe MKA should be able to do what it wants with its property here. Why not? It’s used for field hockey, for God’s sake, not for mass rallies at which the likes of frankgg will plead for preservation of old, genteel Montlciar.

    As for my remark that frankgg never offers to pay property taxes on ANY property about which he clucks distastefully when it’s threatened with being torn down, that this athletic field in question is already off the tax rolls is of no import. I was speaking in general, and by extension about so many would-be “preservationists” who post here.

  11. Do what they want?? Field hockey today, Lalapalooza tomorrow!!

    If that’s the case, then why can’t I build a loft on top of my garage?

    If I want to put a second floor on my ranch home, why can’t I exceed building height of 35 feet? What if I’m on a slope, can I only build Half of a second story?

    And I’d like to put in a Roberto’s #18 at the foot of my driveway, since I’m in a mixed use zone, why can’t I do that??

    Just sayin.

  12. PAZ and Spiro, “baiting aside” (and do you both recall the famous 17th century bit od doggerel about the “Puritane one” who hung his cat on Monday for killing a mouse on Sunday?”), to be for preservation is very easy indeed when one does not live in or on the grounds of the preserved property.

    I once asked on this site, for example, who posting had ever actually stayed in the Marlboro Inn. Nobody replied. And I honestly cannot imagine living in that 50’s house just torn down, which (again!, the guy really is predictable even as he seems strangely averse to paying his fair share if it ever came to that, though it never will in Montclair) frankgg so lamented. Have either of you two ever even been in a Frank Lloyd Wright house? I’ve toured several, and, historical value aside, they always seem almost impossible to actually live in confortably.

    So if this be baiting (or, treasonously, the distinctly non-PC state if being less resolutely preservationist than others seem to be here), then let us all make the most of it.

  13. And kay, it’s “Lollalapalooza,” I think, and I’m all for both it and field hockey. Wherever either is played.

  14. Lala, lolla, pooza, schmooza! Phooey. But I would love to see a FLW house in person! Or a Gamble & Gamble!

  15. Hey, cathar, good news for anti-pc folks ( you seem to be a volunteer to the cause) : A New York judge just struck down Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on grotesquely large sodas. You now can shape a metaphor including a word or two about massive sodas and the museum’s rather wide rotunda.

  16. ( referring to Wright’s Guggenheim rotunda, since you brought him to this thread as well )

  17. Mr. C…..We have a FLW Usonian house right here in GR, which I’ve been in and photographed for the GR Historical Society.
    I’ve never stayed in the Marlboro Inn but have had several delightful Sunday brunches there back in the day and attended parties.

    I shall give in, you’re right, Montclair needs another artificial turf field and a couple of cee-ment shacks to keep you happy.
    I hear the Montclair planning board is re-doing it’s charter to state that “Any property over 100 years old should be torn down and replaced with sub divisions to the nth degree”. (Watch out Prof!)

    I don’t live in Montclair anymore, and now I see it was a fortuitous decision to move away. The sad thing is I really loved the town.

  18. My wife and I purchased our first home in Montclair last year. Looking back, we had a lot of options: Verona, Cedar Grove, Nutley (to name a few) are all towns that are close enough to be able to come to Montclair often and enjoy its many perks, while still paying far less for a similar house, and usually much less in taxes.

    We never even thought to look in any of those towns. Why? Because Montclair had something magical about it that NONE of these other towns had. Walking down tree lined streets past turn of the century homes was like accidentally stepping back into a time machine. My wife and I grew up in towns that look like many, many others: post WWII Levittowns that could have been from just about anywhere in the country. No history or beauty – nothing to make you proud of where you lived. There aren’t too many places left like Montclair in the country, and we wanted to be a part of it. You can call us old fashioned, but neither of us have even hit 30 yet.

    And our hope, buying here, was that one day, when we have children, they could be a part of it too. Long after Cathar’s short sighted comments on the webpage are forgotten, or the Turf is gone from a new football field, we envision our children walking with their children down the same tree lined streets, past the same victorians, colonials, and tudors, like others did for close to 150 years before them.

    This town is a living and breathing piece of American history – mostly because of its incredible homes are a real life walk through the whole lifespan of American architecture. As the world (and towns) around us are reduced to strip malls, condos, and highways, each and every one of us should be fighting to keep every SHRED of history that remains in this town alive.

    Should builders be allowed to do as they please in Paris? What about Florence, or Venice? These cities are kept alive, looking the same after hundreds of years because their people, and their governments, fight tooth and nail to keep it that way.

    Is comparing Montclair to Paris a bit of a stretch? Maybe, but in America, its about as close as we get to having something like that kept alive. Something as a people that we can be proud of.

    But you know what? You don’t even need to go that far for examples. Just drive over to Bloomfield and Glen Ridge. Once the same town, they now couldn’t be more different.

    Why? Because Glen Ridge has resisted the urge of the developers dollars. Almost the entire town is designated a protected historic district, and little is allowed to change. Walking down the gaslamp lit streets lined stone gutters past houses that haven’t changed in over 100 years is one of the cooler experiences one can have in New Jersey. It’s as close as any of us will get to actually going back in time.

    Bloomfield, on the other hand, has not fought as hard, has lost almost all of its charm, and much of its property values with it.

    What’s my point? We’ve been in this town for less than a year, and I’m already shocked at how often buildings are being torn down, with new construction put up in their place. Small bits of character and history being smashed start to add up quickly. The town is slowly disappearing. Not even a year here, and I’m already fearing for this towns future.

    Of course there will always be the allure of the mighty dollar. Developers trying to make a quick buck – who could care less if a historic home gets torn down, and a part of our town, and country’s history, dies. That’s not surprising, what is surprising is how quick and easy the town is to let it happen.

    You would think looking around at all the garden apartments that were put up – and all the beautiful homes that were torn down to get them there, would have been enough to make the town say “Stop it.” More recently, you’d think fiascos like Christopher Court, the Siena, and whatever the hell that thing that was built on Walnut Street is, would remind us that this town is worth fighting for. And that once it’s gone, it can never be replaced.

    What do we need to do to protect more of what remains of our town’s history? More historic designations, more public outcry, ousting our elected officials? (My first inkling is we need to start designating and protecting large chunks of the residential areas of town – much like Glen Ridge has.)

    I really don’t know, but I’m already discouraged. Maybe I’m naive, but I still believe that a hundred years from now, long after the developers are dead and their money has been spent, that Montclair and its beautiful homes will still be sitting under all her trees, looking just as beautiful as she did for the 200 years before.

    Or maybe I just need to move to Glen Ridge.

  19. Zidarich….We would welcome you to GR and first thing is join the Historical Society, that’s what I did to get involved in the community then I served on the CCC as a delegate from the Society. What Montclair needs -right now- is an incredibly strong Historic Preservation Commission which is sadly lacking. Maybe, this is something concerned towns people should be putting in place now before it’s too late.

  20. The Zoning Board of Adjustment approved this. So, now it was question of overcoming the decision. The Township shouldn’t try.

    My lay viewpoint is the Master Plan is only a zoning guide and the HP Commission could offer only an advisory opinion to the ZBA, if at all due to State law, on a non-locally designated parcel. BTW, Montclair’s HPC is, by State law, termed a “strong” HPC because it was established by ordinance. (I digress)

    It is a much modified auxiliary structure on private property with an indirect relationship to the historical significance around it…which the township has only partially recognized statue-wise. There is no jurisdiction over the interior in any way.

    Yes, the procedure was flawed and one could try and argue the ZBA had to specifically state they were deviating from the MP, but again, it is murky waters when it is solely a State listing. It is possible that if MKA is accepting direct State funding of any kind, then the State Historic Office could ask for a HPC review opinion. I am inclined to think the Montclair HP Comm would not designate it. It would be revisiting a traumatic period of municipal HP in Montclair and ignore those hard lessons learned.

    The only remaining path is to try to persuade the owner to change their plans. Considering how the Township is pursuing a strategy of development through density, it seems incongruent not to allow the same latitude to private property owners who legally follow the existing zoning, building code and tree ordinance. I just hope MKA has the good sense not to demolish this building in the month of May…it’s National Historic Preservation Month.

    FYI, the proposed 2013 Master Plan is being presented in early April. This is would be an excellent forum for residents to share their thoughts. It will be available for download on March 22.

  21. Not even a year here, and I’m already fearing for this towns future.

    Wait until your kids enroll in the public schools. Then you’ll really have grist for your mill.

  22. zidarich,
    When it comes to maintaining architectural integrity, and holding onto its aesthetic assets, none of the towns around here can match Glen Ridge. Montclair is in danger of losing its Victorian charm. In fact it is losing it, house by house, block by block, corner by corner. Just look at the corner of Lincoln and Franklin. Zoning boards can’t deny petitions that fall within the law, even if the projects proposed are ugly. But the town could study what Glen Ridge did with its historic district and decide if it wants to preserve what it has left.

  23. It sounds as if proper protocols were not followed in this case. If the property, including the carriage house, is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places, this means that the application should have gone before the commission, and depending on the strength of the Montclair preservation ordinances, at the very least the Zoning Board should have received an advisory letter against the proposed demolition (assuming the commission would have voted against it). The State Historic Preservation Office should also have had an opportunity to review the case and rule on it. Obviously protocol was not followed here. I am not sure what variances were required, but in general Zoning Boards have more leeway than Planning Boards in denying a variance. In this case, I don’t know exactly what the variances were, but at the very least the Zoning Board could have made approval contingent on other conditions such as not chopping down 21 trees or replacing them with new landscaping.It’s a shame this is happening.

  24. hey, do you think people complained they were cutting down trees to put up a carriage house back in 1897?

  25. I am grateful to have stayed in the Marlboro Inn…it was a snowday back in 1973 when I was living in Rutherford and attending Montclair Academy. The grounds, furnishings and atmosphere were unforgetable.

    In return for the residential property taxes that I pay, I expect that there are regulations to protect the value of my property and quality of the surrounding neighborhood.

    MKA’s Upper Mountain Avenue property was willed to James Howe, a manumitted slave, by General Nathaniel Crane back in 1836. This fact is truly remarkable considering that slavery was abolished in 1848 in NJ. There is a very curious coinicidence to document, that there is a Howe on the board that founded Llewellyn Park, a nearby abolitionist community. He descends from James Howe an englishman who settled in Connecticut with Robert Treat and the Crane family in the 1600s. These Llewellyn Park Howes were in the farm real estate business with the Crane family. One of these Howes was a train line engineer and planner. The MKA field has one of the most historic features in town, the the abandoned train tunnel, that was to lead to Boonton…the next stop on the underground railroad. This train tunnel project, was abandoned in 1876 because the digging struck a vein of water and out sprang Toney’s Brook. Because of the water of Toney’s Brook, the Department of Environmental Protection’s regulations would require that no building can be done within 50 feet of a brook, whether covered or not.

  26. mimimichalski,
    I should have been more clear. By procedures, I meant our locally developed policy and procedures. Maybe I should have called it a local understanding. I believe he State’s Municipal Land Use Law is very clear that, absent the Master Plan reference, the ZBA acted well within the law. Even the local process has changed with the very recent abolishment of Montclair’s demo ordinance which required MHPC review of all demo permit applications. This came about because several demo laws have been successfully challenged in court. When I asked about retaining the ordinance by amending it to limit its application to historically designated properties within State historic districts like this, I was told that it didn’t make any difference. Unless a property is locally or Federally designated – which this one is neither – there is really no State leverage beyond what I mentioned earlier.

  27. And to be clear, I am not advocating Montclair historically designate residential districts, State listed or not. It is a blunt tool that has been tried before in Montclair.

  28. Zidarich, your post above, which others admire, was just total gush. Have you considered a career shift to being a realtor? Nor, I’d suggest, is it at all short-sighted of me to consider the welfare of our young interms of MKA’s expansion plans. Would you rather they join street gangs than play on teams? And do your own children play on your own backyard “fields?” (If so, then you must live near the good prof’s own palatial Upper Montclair estate, since he conjures up that imagery so consistently well based on the claimed reality of his being a member of the fox-hunting local gentry.)

    If Montclair can be compared to Paris (it can’t, of course, in any way, but dream on), then that makes towns like Bloomfield (which you rate as charmless anyway) and East Orange as its bain-lieues. (You know, those slums full of grumbling Muslims and drug dealers.) Have you thus considered the full effect of your words? And have you ever been, just by way of comparison, to, say, Ridgewood? Moorestown? Rumson?

    And it’s not to be a “football” field. MKA already has one of those. What, if indeed anything, for the plot would you suggest instead of a private secondary school utilizing its own bought-and-paid-for land as it sees fit? Me, I’d opt for a fast food franchise…

    Last question (and I asked this one long ago and received nary an answer): has anyone who still invokes Christopher Court as to be shunned ever actually gone over there, pushed someone’s doorbell and said “Hi, welcome to the neighborhood?” I’m guessing the answer is “no,” which strikes me as arrogant and cold in the extreme. Oh you PC-driven NIMBYs!

  29. cathar, I believe this one hour time change is affecting you. You’re crankier than usual. I suggest warm milk and cookies, followed by an afternoon nap.

  30. Why weren’t people in love with the allure of the architecture and history of B’ville flocking to purchase this site? People on this board have a habit of hammering people that purchase these sites with the intent on making changes but they were on the open market and could have been purchased by you preservationists romantics. Historical buildings are purchased and saved all the time, why don’t you get off your bums and start being proactive if you care so much and stop the whining? As usual , except when he disagrees with me, cathar is spot on.

  31. herb, where in the article is there any indication that the site was ever for sale?
    It appears that the school was not interested in seeling the property, but rather retaining it and moidifying it for use.

  32. if not this site , cro, then the others people continually whine about. Listen, i hate to see this stuff go on as well but the vilification of the purchasers is just ridiciulous.

  33. I don’t know who those “others” are, or how they “whine”. But I do know that I don’t want some eedjit throwing up a Wendy’s next to my house.

    I’m sure you wouldn’t want the new BlueWaveNJ headquarters built next door to your hacienda. It is not unreasonable for people to want to protect their investments and to insist on a reasonable code in order to prevent the sort of mishmash development that we’ve all seen all too often.

    I’m not surprised at cathar’s idiotic braying, but I expect better from you, me boyo!

  34. once again its the vilification of the buyer..if it’s for sale on the open (maybe not in this case) market then people have the oppurtunity to buy it and do with it as they please. If they want to make changes outside ‘the norm’ then there is a zoning board where people can speak up. Very simple process.

  35. Despite the kind words about the Estate, cathar (btw: fox hunting used to carry us to Brookdale Park, which as you know, bans the sport; rather our large Eastern expanse is where we play Polo— BUT with the new Montclair ordinances, mrs. prof is thinking Chicken coop. Oh, well.)

    I also found zidarich post some odd sort of myopic view of a community happily devoid of any acknowledgment of how racial, ethnic and economic diversity plays into the mix.

    To compare GR to Bloomfield or Montclair, without a mere mention of WHO lives, WHO has historically lived, and HOW MANY folks live, is unhelpful and shows a misunderstanding of how communities come to “preservation.”

    According to data from the US Census:
    GR population is 7,500
    Montclair is 37,600
    Bloomfield is 47,000

    7,500 vs. 47,000

    GR also has almost double the per capita income as Bloomfield, and 8K higher than Montclair.

    And racial diversity (White/Black/Latino):
    GR 86/5/5
    Montclair 62/18/25
    Bloomfield 60/18/25

    I don’t mean to suggest that poorer Black and Latino folks don’t care about preservation, only that for many in the towns, it may not be the first thing on the plate– whereas, in an affluent, white community it might.

  36. Whoops–

    Montclair’s racial breakdown is:

    62% White
    27% Black
    7 % Latino

    Also, zidarich’s post is “happily devoid,” not the good folks of GR. Sorry.

  37. I have never run a marathon at Athens but I still don’t want to see Olympia destroyed and the Parthenon torn down. Just because a person hasn’t lived at or visited a site doesn’t make their opinions about preservation null and void.

    I can’t help it, I love history, love antiquity, love older buildings, homes and monuments. And yes, it breaks my heart to see them torn down instead of being restored. And 9 times out of 10, it’s usually something bland and hideous that replaces them. If I want to see bland and hideous, I’ll take a drive to the multitude of McMansion communities in NJ and elsewhere in these United States. Montclair, Glen Ridge, Essex Fells, Frenchtown, Cape May are NOT like other towns. The people who move to those towns know this.

    Why is it that no one has told today’s developers?

  38. To your point about minorities and historic preservation, prof, while it might not be highest on the list of those just getting by (and this surely covers all people, of any heritage ) , it is important to many others, especially when it illustrates the history of discrimination here in America. I do remember when the Crawford Crews veterans nominated their structure on Bloomfield Avenue for preservation, ( and it is was protected ) and I also remember the great interest of the locals with regard to the old “Black Y” building on Washington Street, a number of years ago ( and it was not protected ). In both cases the historic value surely exceeded the aesthetic value, but both criteria are weighed in preservation, nationwide.

  39. I don’t disagree with you, herb. But many communities go beyond allowing people to “speak up”. That’s why Boston’s Beacon Hill neighbourhood, San Francisco’s Nob Hill, New Orleans’ French Quarter, etc. are able to maintain their distinctive character. While I certainly respect a purchaser’s rights, those rights do not outweigh his/her neighbours rights to have THEIR investments protected. So no, you can’t buy a house in Annapolis and put up a futuristic house simply because you paid. Everyone else did too, and they are just as important as you are.

    Prof’s point is a good one. GR cannot be compared to either Montclair or Bloomfield. There is virtually no commercial presence and precious few rental apartments. One of the nice things about this area is the ability to find just about any type of community within easy reach of NYC.

  40. Frank, thanks for the reminder that MKA would have to be accepting federal or state money for the NJ State HPO to do a review – I guess in my mind I was thinking that as a school, they probably do get some money from the government, but being private, I suppose that isn’t necessarily so. I thought, however, that the original article’s quote referenced the property being part of the Mountain District which is designated as a historic district both by the state and federal governments, not just the state? That said, if it isn’t considered a contributing building to the district, then perhaps the protection would not stand up anyway. I am sorry to hear the demolition ordinance was retracted. I’m from Bloomfield and our preservation ordinance only covers our one designated (state/federal) historic district, the area surrounding our Green; we have other specific buildings on the registers but our historic district review board has no jurisdiction outside the Green district. So we are at an even bigger disadvantage in trying to prevent historic properties from demolition and replacement. I had liked the Montclair law requiring MHPC review of proposed demolitions so am sorry to hear these type of laws don’t hold up in court.

  41. What, Cro, you’re not gonna come to my Roberto’s for some rolled tacos???!! I’m hurt!!

    I haven’t been here for, er, decades, but I have many fond memories and it was probably the catalyst that sparked my interest in architecture way back when…. Eureka, California. I have a feeling they take their preservation pretty seriously!,_California

  42. In places like Italy, all new construction is built into the existing historic fabric. Preservation is a given and there is no “Bash & Build” This is what makes Italy valuable and desirable. Its about time that Montclair realizes its historic significance and follows Italy’s example regarding preservation.

  43. Sorry, frankgg, I can’t go along with your overly generalized view of what you call “bash and build”. After all, Hausmann did one hell of a “bash and build” in Paris, and people travel from all over to walk up and down his grand boulevards. Robert Moses tried the same, and his results were less successful. Like anything else, it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.
    Some new stuff is great, some old stuff is awful. And vice versa.

  44. I don’t disagree with you regarding Paris and NYC, STQ, but I cant think of any examples of good Bash & Build in Montclair because the replacement buildings are never as good as the demolished ones….not even the Hahnes/Siena….or the Marlboro/Christoper CT… or the WashingtonSt/Bullock….of the yellow house on the corner of UpperMTN&Watchung…can you think of any? I cannot.

  45. I am in the anti-bash and build camp… including Hausmann’s. I much prefer the more medieval narrow streets and charming shops and outdoor markets of the Left Bank of Paris vs. the wide boulevards of the Right Bank. Sure, they are impressive, and the Arc de Triomphe looks nice it up at night, but I wouldn’t want to stay on that side of the Seine and never spend much time there when in Paris. And I’m certainly glad that, thanks to the efforts of Jane Jacobs and other activists, that Robert Moses was unsuccessful in his quest to demolish Greenwich Village in NYC for one of his highways. Highways destroy neighborhoods, they do not enhance them.

  46. Thanks for your reply, frankgg, I do respect your scholarship, despite our differences. You sure picked the lemons, BTW ! That house at the top of Watchung surely deserves some kind of consolation prize, perhaps a 2013 bash and rebuild, and you and I can bring hammers… mimimichalski, I agree with you as well. I too prefer the random medieval streets to the grand boulevards. I remember my trip to Italy in 1979, walking through Venice, and each turn revealed something quietly magnificent – a shrine, a doorway, a fleeting glimpse to the canal beyond. But grand boulevards have their place too, and the great cities strike the right balance. We need well designed public spaces that feel right at every scale. And since these spaces are public, this means the government as well as the private sector must place their best foot forward, so as to create environments carefully set in the places in-between….spaces that revitalize our souls. ( herb, cue up kumbaya, will ya? )

  47. What a bunch of haters!!! MKA is an amazing school. The parents who live in Montclair pay the bulk of the taxes in this town. Yet take nothing from the public school system. Someday these people may take their dollars elsewhere. Good luck with that…

  48. Doubt they’ll “take their dollars elsewhere” concernedmtc. Montclair is where they want to live. Unlike you.

  49. Concerned,
    Yes, some not so kind jabs at MKA. It is a fine school that has been part of Montclair for as long as I can remember. Your passionate defense of MKA distorted the fact that a majority of all Montclair taxpayers do not have children in the public schools and are still paying the school tax levy. Unless MKA has more students than I know about, they comprise a quite definite minority of the taxes paid.

  50. I love MKA and think that MKA, Montclair Academy, Kimberley and Brookside have built some of the finest architecture in Montclair.

  51. ” Highways destroy neighborhoods, they do not enhance them.”

    Rt.280 helped in the demise of Orange/ East orange.

  52. East Orange has had a great comeback despite being dissected by the Parkway and 280 thanks to their excellent planning department and lots of intelligent thinking local engineers and architects. They also have attractive re development that outshines Montclair’s weak and “over” re development plans.

  53. The project would look great if it were to re cycle the Carriage House for Adaptive Re Use and not call for its demolition. I believe that the neighbors would be very pleased as well.

  54. I keep reading zidarich’s posting….its so beautiful….so true!
    “This town is a living and breathing piece of American history – mostly because of its incredible homes are a real life walk through the whole lifespan of American architecture. As the world (and towns) around us are reduced to strip malls, condos, and highways, each and every one of us should be fighting to keep every SHRED of history that remains in this town alive.”
    The local government is doing everything all wrong unless they put “adaptive re use” as a priority.

  55. It’s good to have some of each period, frankgg, but some of what we see and cherish now replaced something before it. For two examples, let’s study the intersection of North Fullerton and Bloomfield Avenues. We may like the Art Deco jazziness of Hampton House, or the Beaux Arts limestone solemnity of the Chase Bank across the street, but a Victorian structure was there first in both cases.

  56. profwilliams: your offense intended and the offense received: “I don’t mean to suggest that poorer Black and Latino folks don’t care about preservation, only that for many in the towns, it may not be the first thing on the plate– whereas, in an affluent, white community it might.”

    How is it possible to describe such a statement as anything other than racist?

  57. You’re right STQ…along the way, you do have to make intelligent choices…and as a dear 95yr old Montclair native neighbor of mine says….”what was ugly then…it ugly now!” My conviction regarding adaptive re use of Montclair’s fine old buildings is stylistic but mainly because building technology has changed and new building’s components (roofing…windows….flooring ect) are under brief warrantees of less than 20 – 30 years…. They’ll all wind up in garbage dumps….even the so called “LEED” buildings. Only the buildings built before the 50s will really last. (except for finely crafted architect’s buildings like the MKA upper school…and some luxury houses)

    Here is my teardown & replacement list

    Historic Teardowns The Replacements

    1) The Malboro Inn and Holmeswood……replaced by….. Christopher Court

    2) The Old Post Office (one room) (Orange Rd & Gates)……replaced by….. a new house

    3) Crane Homestead – Washington’s Headquarters 1740 Northeast corner of Valley Rd
    & Claremont Ave ……replaced by….. (20’s house)
    4) The Jerome Stigler Farmhouse 1802 ……replaced by….. Kings Supermarket U. Mtclair

    5) Polly Davis House 1700’s (early African American homeowner ) ……replaced by….. Garden Apts on Orange Road (the old farmhouse was re located just south off Orange Rd but it fell off the truck while moving it)

    6) Mount Prospect Institute 1838 Intersection of Claremont Ave
    Bloomfield Ave and Prospect ……replaced by….. houses
    7) Ashland Hall Boy’s School 1845 (same as above) ……replaced by….. houses

    8) The Mountain House (climatic station) (same as above)
    late 19th Century ……replaced by….. an apartment house

    9) The Mansion House Hotel (1870’s) ……replaced by….. parking lot at Bloomfield Ave
    and Valley Road
    10) The Childrens Home Association Mansion 1881 ……replaced by….. Garden Apts Gates Avenue

    11) Thomas Russell Estate 1870’s ……replaced by….. Russell Place

    12) The Mulford Estate 130 S. Mtn Ave subdivided into luxury houses

    13) George Inness Studio and Homestead ……replaced by….. Old Mountainside Hospital

    14) The Wilde House, A. J. Davis 1875 ……replaced by….. The Montclair Public Library
    & Mills Memorial
    15) The Rand-Jones Estate (donated the art museum) ……replaced by….. Hawthorne Tower Apts

    16) The Noyes Estate (Eastover) (1920’s) ……replaced by….. 100 S. Mtn Ave subdivision

    17) Westover Estate ……replaced by….. Kipp’s Ridge Condos

    18) AltaVista Estate (1880’s) ……replaced by….. (S. Mountain subdivision)

    19) Eagle Rock Tourist Site ……replaced by….. split levels Undercliffe Rd

    20) Eyrie Estate ( A.J. Davis 1880 ) ……replaced by….. Highlawn Pavillion

    21) Wildmont Castle (A J Davis 1880) ……replaced by….. Smith Manor Village subdivision

    22) Montclair Academy (1910 Dudley van Antwerp) ……replaced by….. lower field MKA

    23) The Baker & Egbert Estates ……replaced by….. 12 S. Mountain Townhouses

    24) Watsessing Lake and Morris Canal ……replaced by….. Garden State Parkway

    25) Hotel Montclair & Flatrock ……replaced by….. The Rockcliffe

    26) The Koefull Safe House ……replaced by….. Condos at S. Mtn &
    Bloomfield Ave
    27) The Field Club ……replaced by….. The Yantacaw Brook Park and Heller Way
    neighborhood – the
    clubhouse was adapted as
    a tudor house.
    28) The Presberterian Church (Church Street) ……replaced by….. The Hinck Building

    29) The Baldwin Farmhouse at Orange Road ……replaced by….. a new prefab

    30) the Derrick Kip designed house on Hellar Way…. ……to be replaced by…..a subdivision

    31) an beautiful architect designed contemporary & exquisite landscape on the corner of upper Mtn & Watchung ……replaced by….. a huge property filling new house

  58. Just back from a stroll around Christopher Court, pushing all those doorbells (there used to be only one on that property) and saying “Hi, welcome to the neighborhood?” I got some strange looks. Then I just said: “Cathar sent me.” Then that knowing look, lots of chuckles and even a few cups of warm coffee. All nice folks, all telling the same Cathar jokes, just a pleasant stroll for me this morning.

    Now we just need only prod this Mayor and Town Council a wee bit more and we can finally start to have those fast-food franchises Cathar wants parked on the corner of Christopher and Grove or somewhere within easy walking distance of MKA so his kids can get a decent meal on weekdays.

Comments are closed.