Montclair 2022 Historic Preservation Commission Award Winners Announced

Buzz Aldrin’s former home on Princeton Place in the Oakcroft secction of Montclair.

Montclair, NJ – The Montclair Township Historic Preservation Commission is pleased to announce the 2022 Recipients of the Historic Preservation Awards Program.

Awardees will be recognized at the Commission’s upcoming meeting to be held on Thursday May 12, 2022.

The Commission is pleased to announce the following award recipients:

Bricks & Mortar Preservation Award
Residential: 25 Princeton Place – Buzz Aldrin House

Nominator Lisanne Renner:
When the former childhood home of Buzz Aldrin (resident from 1930 to the early 1950s) changed hands in February 2021, after the previous, post-Aldrin owners had occupied the home for six decades, preservationists felt trepidation regarding whether historically insensitive alterations might befall the house. A campaign to make the home an Aldrin house museum had not come to fruition, and an effort by the Township to designate the surrounding Oakcroft neighborhood as a historic district had not succeeded. This tangible link to perhaps Montclair’s most famous resident seemed vulnerable and uncertain. The heartening news is that the new owners, Elyse Moody and Jim Connolly, cherish the home’s Craftsman architecture and its history, and have carefully and sensitively burnished its defining features and made functional changes that are respectfully compatible with its original character. They are the good stewards this significant home deserves.

Craftspeople and Contractors: Sally Ross, David Greene Construction, Peter Willcox, John Cosgrove, Mike McCue, Jimmy Hemmerich

Residential: 88 Grove Street
Nominator Caroline Kane Levy:
The owners [Jason and Laura Silver] have taken a forlorn and highly altered Queen Anne Style house and returned it to its best self. They’ve removed aluminum siding to reveal whimsically shaped shingles, recreated the historic front porch, returned two-over-two windows and a welcoming entrance, and are in the process of painting it in a polychrome Victorian paint scheme. The work has brought life and pride to a busy intersection in the heart of Montclair.

Contractors: Gikas Contracting, Wilber’s Painting

Commercial: 111-113 Grove Street
Nominator Linda Cranston:
This corner upscale commercial building enhances the neighborhood by using quality materials and simple details for interest to create this contemporary industrial architecture. Overhangs surround the building using iron and to contrast the brick facade. Simple details add interest on the brick structure. A brick wall, wood fencing and stone walkways frame somewhat mature landscaping. We appreciate design and construction which celebrates Montclair historical neighborhoods.

Architect: Paul Sionas Architecture, PC

Preservation Service Award
Montclair History Center: History at Home

Nominator Kathleen Bennett:
The Montclair History Center continued to fulfill their mission to preserve local history and share the stories of the people of the township who made it what it is today by offering virtual talks on various aspects of local history. The “History at Home” series offered 22 talks during 2021, educating the community to some well-known and some not-so-well-known topics during afternoon and evening hours twice a month, excluding the summer. The series featured topics such as the architecture of Montclair Heights, architectural styles, local train stations, Bloomfield Avenue, South Mountain Avenue, local cemeteries, iconic houses, the Nolen Plan and images of the past portrayed in a Magic Lantern slide show plus some interesting stories of the local population. All provided the audience with a better understanding of the many important people and architectural treasures centered in Montclair. Speakers included architects, historians. MHC trustees, a Montclair University professor, a curator of the Yogi Berra Museum and the township historian. The Montclair History Center offered an educational and informative outlet for their various audiences to combat the isolation brought on by pandemic restrictions.

The Montclair Historic Preservation Commission (MHPC), established by ordinance in 1994, is responsible for protecting Montclair’s architectural heritage and increasing public awareness of the unique historical and cultural dimensions of the Township’s buildings, streetscapes, and landscapes. For more information, please visit the MHPC website HERE.

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