The Montclair Township Historic Preservation Commission held its 2019 Historic Preservation Awards Program on May 30 honoring nine buildings and people for work in preservation.

The Commission is pleased to present the following awards:

Bricks & Mortar Preservation Award

  • Residential: 20 Clinton Avenue – Thomas House

historic preservation

Homeowners John & Elizabeth Thomas and Francis C. Klein & Associates Architects will be recognized for the reconstruction of a historically accurate porch that returned this 19th-century house to its original charm. In keeping with the historic period, the homeowners and Francis C. Klein & Associates also removed the 20th-century additions of a classical pediment, sunray transom window and lighting fixtures. The fish scale and diamond shingles coexist happily with the new metal seam roof. In addition, the removal of the shutters further enhances the Queen Anne character of this house.

  • Residential: 21 Plymouth Street & 41 Plymouth Street

Developer Sustainable Sanctuary Homes, LLC and Sionas Architecture, P.C. will be recognized for the rehabilitation of these two vintage Montclair homes, one from the 1890’s and the other from the 1910s that have been renovated and rehabilitated into multi-family dwellings. Paul Sionas and Sustainable Sanctuary Homes have adaptively reused two prime examples of Montclair’s architecture. Restoring and improving the two exteriors reinforces the domestic character of Plymouth Street, reminiscent of the time when one family homes lined the street. Removing aluminum siding, improving the driveway, adding substantial landscaping and removing medical office space has vastly improved 21 Plymouth Street. The work on 41 Plymouth Street maintains its Colonial Craftsmen stucco exterior while offering modern amenities in two units. This type of adaptive reuse is encouraged and ensures that Montclair’s streetscapes will maintain their attractive charm and character.

  • Non-Residential: 222-230 Bloomfield Avenue

Property owner WE MCL Holdings, LLC, design firm Green Stories, LLC, architect Mark Bess and American Terracotta LLC will be recognized for the restoration and replication of the historic façade of this building.  Hidden beneath aluminum siding, the team has worked to remove the non-historic elements and restore the façade to its prior condition.  American Terracotta, LLC replicated historic terracotta elements.  The restoration of the façade maintains the historic building in the Town Center Historic District and improves the commercial area.

  • Non-Residential: 237-249 Lorraine Avenue – Warner Building

Property owner Michael Pavel and architect Jarmel Kizel will be recognized for their restoration of this Harmonizing building in the Upper Montclair Historic Business District.  The restoration of the historic building and the sensitive new addition to the rear retains the historic character while providing modern amenities.

  • Institutional: Montclair Public Library – Bellevue Branch

The Bellevue Avenue Branch Library, designed by Francis A. Nelson, a Montclair resident working in the New York architectural firm of Nelson and Van Wagenen, is a Carnegie funded library dating from 1913. It is listed on the New Jersey and National registers of historic places and the local historic district of Upper Montclair Business District. In 2016, the Montclair Public Library decided to repair the historic “Austral” windows which are a character-defining element of the building. Working with Mary Delaney Krugman, Preservation Specialist, these patented self-balanced windows were repaired and returned to working order. Dell-Tech was selected as the restoration contractor because of their experience with rehabilitation of historic windows. Ms. Krugman and the project team of Morse Associates of Poestenkill, NY and DBC Preservation Architecture of Glenmont supervised the entire restoration. Historic paint samples from the building were uncovered and the Austral windows were returned to their original condition. The finished project has enhanced one of the most important buildings in the Upper Montclair Historic District.

Preservation Service Award

  • Friends of Anderson Park

Anderson Park is an oasis of greenery and tranquility adjoining the Upper Montclair Historic Business District, the Boonton-Greenwood Lake commuter train line and the residential areas of Oakcroft and North Mountain Ave. An Olmsted Brothers designed landscape gives Anderson Park a naturalistic setting with informal plantings and winding pathways. Scott Kevelson, president and founder of the Friends of Anderson Park, a non-profit conservancy, has worked tirelessly to promote the natural, cultural, historic and educational qualities of the site. Their stewardship includes maintenance and replenishment of the original Olmsted plantings. Since 2006, they have planted 160 trees and 60 shrubs, including a rose bed, in cooperation with the Essex County Parks. They host an annual “Music Under the June Moon” event, plus numerous educational incentives such as the short-story contest and art projects. Nominated to the State and National registers in 2009, through the efforts of Lisanne Renner, Anderson Park with Scott Kevelson at the helm, continues to surprise and invigorate the current residents of Montclair.

  • Lisanne Renner

Lisanne Renner has shown a passion & commitment level to Montclair ‘s history and preservation over many years. This includes special projects (e.g. researching, compiling and presenting the History of The Bellevue Theater) or her Friends of Anderson Park ongoing community outreach (e.g. annual historical walking tours of Upper Montclair Village and Anderson Park).  She regularly attends township meetings and community functions to further historic preservation understanding and practice.  She is one of Montclair’s most ardent advocates of Historic Preservation.

Preservationist of the Year Award

  • Donato DiGeronimo

Mr. DiGeronimo is a Board Member of the Montclair History Center and a partner with Montclair State University to preserve the diverse and varied histories of Montclair.  He is a fount of information about Montclair history from one corner of the town to the other, a booster of Montclair’s history through his involvement and leadership in scores of civic committees over the years, Donato is a homegrown historian helping to capture and make more widely known the multiethnic history that has made Montclair into a culturally rich community.

Preservationist of the Year Award – Special Recognition

  • Rev. Royal F. Shepard, Jr.

Mr. Shepard will be recognized for his special contribution to the Township of Montclair.  Mr. Shepard was sworn in as Township Historian by the Township Council on July 23, 1996 and served in the role until 2004.  During this time, he also served on the Montclair Historic Preservation Commission beginning in March 1999 and serving as Vice Chair of the Commission from February 2000 until his resignation from the Commission in December 2002.  He also served as a Trustee for the Montclair Historical Society (now the Montclair History Center).

Mr. Shepard was born and raised in Montclair, loved the history of the Township and shared his knowledge of the history with many.  In 2003, he published the book “Montclair” with his daughter Elizabeth Shepard.  In addition, he provided contributions to the Montclair 125th anniversary book, Montclair 1868-1993, and Montclair Millennium Book 2000-2002.

Mr. Shepard also created the Montclair History Roundtable, a forum to discuss the Township’s History, led walking tours, conducted presentations, and served as a regular contributor and historic verifier for the Montclair Times.

Mr. Shepard passed away earlier in 2019 and the Montclair Historic Preservation Commission is proud to recognize his many significant contributions to the Township’s history.

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.