Kip Castle will be one of the homes open for a holiday house tour. COURTESY KIP CASTLE

BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
winters@montclairlocal.news

This year’s annual Essex County Historic Holiday House Tour features 15 historic homes, including three in Montclair. The homes will be decorated for the holidays and open to the public on Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8, and most are free to tour.

The houses will be historically decorated for the holidays. Each site will offer something unique, including musical entertainment, refreshments or educational programs. 

This year, a castle, a beer baron’s mansion, a few farmsteads, Grover Cleveland’s birthplace and a monastery are on the tour. 

The Crane House

In Montclair, the Crane House and Historic YWCA and the Charles Shultz House evergreens will be dressed for the holiday season. The Montclair History Center will also feature its first annual holiday market, while the Walther House at the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens will host a holiday boutique. 

Kip’s Castle in Verona was owned by a Paterson silk baron, while the Ballantine House in Newark was built by the creators of Ballantine’s Brewery Company. Both illustrate the opulence of the Victorian period. 

The Canfield-Morgan House in Cedar Grove, Zenas Crane Homestead in West Caldwell, and Museum and Force Homestead and Museum in Livingston, which includes a cook house/former slave cabin, reflect life on a farmstead in New Jersey’s early years. 

The Salvatorian Fathers

Glenmont at Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange and Grover Cleveland’s birthplace in Caldwell showcase New Jersey’s position in American history. 

Kingsland Manor in Nutley was built by Joseph Kingsland and his wife, Mary Outwater, in the 1700s and later was owned by “Diamond Dan,” a boxing trainer and promoter who trained his boxers on the Manor grounds. 

Also open for tours are the Van Tassel Funeral Home in Bloomfield and The Salvatorian Fathers Monastery in Verona.

The tours are self-guided, so the public can visit each site at their own pace. All but two are free to tour — the Glenmont and the Ballantine House. 

“The Holiday House Tour is a great example of organizations throughout the county pooling their resources to create a wonderful event for families to enjoy and to provide insight into how past holidays were celebrated,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo. “Take a break from the hustle and bustle this December and visit local homes and landmarks that will have decked the halls in holiday extravagance for one spectacular weekend.” 

 

Houses on the tour are:

  • Essex County Kip’s Castle Park, 22 Crestmont Road, Verona
    Admission is free. Open Saturday and Sunday from 12-4 p.m.
  • Walther House at the Essex County Presby Memorial Iris Gardens, 474 Upper Mountain Ave., Upper Montclair
    Admission is free. Open Saturday and Sunday from 12-2 p.m. 
  • Ballantine House at the Newark Museum, 49 Washington St., Newark
    Admission is $15 adults; $8 for children, seniors and students with valid I.D. Open Saturday and Sunday from 12-5 p.m. 
  • Canfield-Morgan House and Museum, 903 Pompton Ave., Cedar Grove
    Admission is free, donations are accepted. Open Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. 
  • Force Homestead and Museum, 366 South Livingston Ave., Livingston
    Admission is free, $5 suggested donation. Open Sunday from 2-4 p.m.
  • Glenmont at Thomas Edison National Historical Park, 211 Main St., West Orange
    Admission is $15 per person and free for children under 16. Tickets must be purchased at the Laboratory Complex Visitor Center the day of the tour and includes access to the Laboratory Complex. Glenmont tickets are limited. Open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Grover Cleveland Birthplace, 207 Bloomfield Ave., Caldwell
    Admission is free, donations accepted. Open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. 
  • Kingsland Manor, 3 Kingsland St., Nutley
    Admission is free. Donations are gratefully appreciated. Open Saturday and Sunday from 1- 4 p.m. 
  • Montclair Historical Society Properties (Crane House and Historic YWCA), 108 and 110 Orange Road, Montclair
  • Charles Shultz House, 30 North Mountain Ave., Montclair
    Admission is free. Donations are welcome. Open Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. 
  • The Salvatorian Fathers, 23 Crestmont Road, Verona
    Admission by donation. Open Sunday from 1-3 p.m. 
  • Van Tassel Funeral Home, 337 Belleville Ave., Bloomfield
    Admission is free. Open Saturday from 1-5 p.m. 
  • Zenas Crane Homestead, 289 Westville Ave., West Caldwell
    Admission is free. Open Saturday and Sunday from 12-4 p.m.