Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Llewellyn Park

1853 --  Llewellyn Haskell  buys the old farmhouse belonging to Henry Walker.
1854  --  Haskell begins building his house, the Eyrie (meaning the nest of a bird of prey), on the foundation of Henry Walker's old farmhouse.  The house was designed by famous architect Alexander Jackson Davis.  Haskell founded nearby Llewellyn Park, America's first planned community. He had wanted Eagle Rock to be part of Llewellyn Park, but that did not come to pass.
1860  --  the New York Illustrated News published a wood engraving of Eagle Rock, the earliest depiction of the rock.
1860  --  the gate house at the main entrance to Llewellyn Park designed to look like the Eyrie.
1872  -- death of Llewellyn Haskell.

Llewellyn Park history

Glenmont is located in Llewellyn Park, West Orange, the first romantically designed, planned residential community in the United States. The community was developed in the 1850's by Llewellyn Haskell, who had acquired 350 acres in West Orange, New Jersey, about fifteen miles from New York City. The architect Alexander Jackson Davis landscaped the park, which grew to 700 acres by the 1870's.
A Queen Anne style mansion with 29 rooms, Glenmont was designed by the architect Henry Hudson Holly. Edison purchased the Glenmont estate – 13.5 acres including house, barn, greenhouse, and furnishings – in January of 1886 for $125,000, half its estimated value.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

House of the White Lions

This house was at 44 South Munn Avenue, east side of Munn near the Chesnut Street intersection; It was the home of Winthrop Eugene Scarritt and was known as the "House of the White Lions." Mr. Scarritt was a staunch supporter of Teddy Roosevelt and his progressive agenda, and, when the progressive Republicans lost the House in 1910, Mr. Scarritt put his house up for sale and said he was leaving the country. Mr. Scarritt died in East Orange on December 7, 1911, so it appears that he did not sell his home or leave the country before his death.

"Mr. Scarritt  represented the City of New York in the National Good Roads convention at the Louisiana Purchase exposition in St. Louis (1904), delivering an address on "Good Roads, the Automobile and Civilization, " and was inspector of motor vehicles for the state of New Jersey in 1906. He was the author of "Three Men in a Motor Car" (1906) and of numerous magazine articles on the automobile and allied subjects. He was president of the Automobile Club of America in 1903-04; was a founder and vice-president of the American Automobile Association, and was a member of the Automobile Club of New Jersey, Aero Club of America, the leading automobile clubs and associations of Europe, and Phi Kappa Psi. During the later years of his life, he was also interested in aeronautics, making balloon flights both in this country and abroad. Scarritt was a 32d degree Mason. In religion he was a Methodist and politically was a Republican. He was married at Providence, RI, Sept 20, 1887, to Lerria, daughter of Horace Sumner Tarbell [whose biography is just before this one], and they had three sons: Winthrop Tarbell, Horace Sumner and Ellett Gibbs Scarritt. His death occurred at East Orange, NJ, Dec 7, 1911." (from American Biography, 1940)

The house later became the Elks Home and, in 1958, was torn down to be replaced by an apartment building.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

John Amos

 Actor John Amos (Mary Tyler Moore Show, Good Times, and Roots) lived at 10 Division Place (the street behind the Hotel East Orange) between 1950 and 1954, attended Stockton School and Columbian School, and was a 1958 graduate of East Orange High School. He is listed as living at 89 Crawford Street between 1957 and 1965.

Above: 1958 East Orange High School yearbook

"I really didn't decide on an acting career until after I had exhausted just about every other job possibility in the world. I'd been a truck driver, a garbage man, right in the streets of East Orange, a job that I got immediately after graduation that was to be a summer job. And I found I was capable of doing a job society looks on as being demeaning, but to do it with a certain amount of pride.
It was ``Roots,'' and the character of Kunte Kinte, that gave me the greatest satisfaction as an actor, and as an Afro-American. While attending grade school here in New Jersey, Stockton School, and Columbian Junior High, I was given the unique opportunity of being one of a small group of black students that integrated both those."
From a graduation speech by John Amos in 1987 at Drew University.

                                    Mr. Amos as part of the first student-faculty play in 1958

                                 Above and below: the 1958 yearbook (the 1957 football season)

Below: the 1957 yearbook (the 1956 football season)

                                 Below: his homeroom class during his sophomore year, 1955/56;
                                          Mr. Amos is in the top row, fourth from left

One former classmate has written "I remember him, in HS, as being 'Amos the Famous.' Little did he know how famous he would become. One of the funniest people that I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. But it was all good fun. Drove our 8th grade Science teacher absolutely insane."
(There were 8th grade classes at East Orange High School at that time)