Plainfield, New Jersey 07060

Friday, December 11, 2009

2009 House Tour a Huge Success!

An Old-Fashioned Christmas House Tour, held Sunday December 6, drew over 600 people to our historic district. People came from as far away as Pennsylvania to tour 7 of our lovely historic homes, all bedecked in Christmas cheer.

The tour committee's months of preparation was well-rewarded by the 'oooh's and 'aaah's of the tour-goers. The event was so well-attended that some people had to wait in line in the chilly weather to get inside the houses - but they told us it was well worth the wait!

We thank the tour committee, the homeowners who generously opened their homes, and Jeff Weber at The Courier News for doing a nice story the week before the tour.

The tour featured a "Twelve Days of Christmas" treasure hunt in which contestants vied for prices. The prize winners are as follows:

Christine Pena of Union won a night at The Pillars Bed and Breakfast, Plainfield
Mike Farone of Raritan won a $75 gift certificate from Swain Galleries, Plainfield
Elaine Badgley of New Providence won a $125 gift certificate from Suburban Jewelers, Plainfield
Donald Henry of Lancaster PA won a pair of tickets to the Plainfield Symphony
Jenna Chabuck of South Plainfield won a $125 gift certificate at the Healing Hands Spa, Plainfield
Paul Agostini of Newark won a $50 gift certificate at Parker’s Nursery, Scotch Plains
Francis Crespone of Newark won John Grady’s book on Plainfield architecture plus a $50 gift certificate for Barnes and Noble Booksellers
Pamela Gallo of Warren won dinner for 2 at Freshwater’s Restaurant, Plainfield

Monday, October 26, 2009

An Old Fashioned Christmas House Tour, Sunday, December 6, 2009

Stroll through tree-lined streets where you are invited into seven of our historic homes all decked out in Christmas finery. You will experience:

  • Grand homes in architectural styles including Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, Shingle Style, Second Empire, and Colonial Revival.
  • Amazing craftsmanship and detail including a magnificent stained glass and woodwork paneling.
  • Collections of ornaments, period costumes, gingerbread houses, and more.
  • A Twelve Days of Christmas house-to-house treasure hunt with prizes from local merchants.

are $20 in advance online at Eventbrite, at Swain Galleries, 703 Watchung Ave. Plainfield NJ 07060, phone (908) 756-1707, or The Pillars Bed & Breakfast, 922 Central Ave. in Plainfield, phone (908) 753-0922. Cash or check only at Swain's and the Pillars.

Day of tour tickets are $25 (cash or check only) from 1:00 pm until 4:30 pm at 935 Central Ave., Plainfield NJ 07060, which is the starting point of the tour.

  • Even if you already bought your ticket, you must come to 935 Central Ave. in Plainfield to get your tour guide brochure and map.
  • Allow two - three hours to see all seven homes.
  • Primarily a walking tour, but you may wish to drive to one home just outside our district.
  • Adults and children over 12 only.
  • No interior photos allowed.
  • A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Plainfield Rescue Squad.
  • This is a rain or shine event, no refunds.

Click here to buy ticket online.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Architectural Artifacts and Antiques Classified Page

An exciting addition to our VWBHD activities is the addition of a classified page for the sale and exchange of architectural artifacts and antiques. Member Larry Quirk with assistance from Arne Aakre has structured a new page linked to our blog which can be accessed below. Many thanks to them both for their efforts in launching our latest project.

Check it out and hold the dumpster!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Plainfield Lost but Not Forgotton" Photo Exhibit at Library

The Plainfield Public Library currently has a photo exhibit "Plainfield Lost but Not Forgotten." A fascinating collection of photos of our Queen City, it's in the Anne Louise Davis Room and runs until October 17, 2009. Not to be missed! The library is at 800 Park Avenue.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Plants Enhance Our Neighborhood

On May 16, 2009 volunteers got together to plant new flowers and foliage in our neighborhood's numerous planters. Gerry, Arne, Nancy, Margarita, and Edgar (click to enlarge photos) planted Hosta, Dusty Miller, and Impatiens all around the Van Wyck Brooks historic district and in nearby Library Park. Jan and Lamont (not shown) also helped.

Planting flowers is not all we do to help keep the district lovely. In 2008, with the help of a grant from Plainfield's Culture and Heritage Commission, volunteers planted a number of trees around the neighborhood. It's great to know, as you stroll outdoors and enjoy the summer weather, that the thriving new trees are the work of our own neighbors!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hundreds of Visitors Enjoy Historic House Tour and Raise Money for Charity

The first Maidens in May House Tour, held in tandem with the Friends of Sleepy Hollow yard sale, drew throngs of people and raised funds for the Plainfield Rescue Squad and the Tri-County Red Cross on Sunday May 31, 2009.

Sponsored by the United Way of Greater Union County and Friends of Sleepy Hollow, the tour featured six historic Plainfield homes and their gardens. As in previous years, visitors came from New Jersey, New York, and Eastern Pennsylvania to see our historic houses - and shop our famous mega-yard sale, which comprises over 100 households around town. It's no secret that, over the years, many people who discovered Plainfield on a house tour fell in love with our town and ended up moving here.

A big thank-you to The United Way, The Pillars of Plainfield Bed and Breakfast which hosted the reception afterwards, Wendy Burney of The Burney Group who worked closely with the United Way and local homeowners, and Friends of Sleepy Hollow for mounting another memorable sale.

Lampkin House

The Revolutionary War-era Lampkin House on Terrill Road has been designated by Preservation New Jersey as one of "New Jersey's 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites." Local preservation-minded folks had been pushing for Lampkin to be recognized and preserved, so this is good news. Click the links to read this house's 'bio' and you'll see why.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Abbott Manor Update - and Why It Matters

The Van Wyck Brooks Historic District has been involved for 4 years in litigation over a proposal by the owners of Abbott Manor Nursing Home (810 Central Av. Plainfield NJ) to build a large modern addition onto the rear of its "mansion house". This would replace the ugly 1950s addition that is there now, but the new building would be about four times as large. The application was first filed in May 2000, a good 9 years ago, which is a story too long to recount here. The Plainfield Zoning Board of Adjustment rejected the application in a resounding 2002 decision, but then the City was sued over it in U.S. District Court, and the City immediately tried to settle the case, rather than defend its own ordinances and master plan. In 2005, the Board reversed itself and approved the application. After that, we appealed it to Superior Court, and won, but more recently, this was overturned by the Appellate Division. Currently, our Petition for Certification to the New Jersey Supreme Court is pending.

The precedent of allowing something large and intrusive into a low-density, residential historic district is a danger which VWB and its attorney, William H. Michelson, have been fighting long and hard. Unfortunately the land-use jurisprudence of New Jersey is in need of updating, and that is our goal. The problem has been the need to reconcile the "inherently beneficial use" doctrine (i.e., that nursing homes and social service providers get a boost in their zoning disputes) with the delicate nature of historic districts. This process is expensive, and contributions to our Abbott Manor Legal Defense Fund would be much appreciated.
written by WIlliam H. Michelson

Friday, April 24, 2009

Some of the many lovely historic houses in our neighborhood.

Click to enlarge photos

Monday, April 13, 2009

Arbor Day Celebration at 946 Madison Ave.

Click on the headline above and see the article in Plainfield Trees about our famous chestnut tree. and Plainfield's Arbor Day Celebration on Friday, April 24th, 2009.