Saving History…or trying to do so

(11AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

I decided that under the current circumstances, providing some distraction would not be unwarranted…and I have a bit of an update to pass along.

Tonight will be another meeting of the West Orange Zoning Board…concerning the desire of Seton Hall Prep and the Archdiocese of Newark to turn McClellan Old-Growth Forest into sports fields and parking lots.

For those who haven’t been following, that is General-in-Chief of the Union Army George Brinton McClellan, who was fired by President Lincoln

If General McClellan does not want to use the army, I would like to borrow it for a time.

–Abraham Lincoln

…and subsequently ran against Lincoln for president as an anti-war Democrat in 1864.  McClellan was also governor of New Jersey from 1878 to 1881.

When McClellan lived “on the ridge” in West Orange, he imported trees from many different locations to build an arboretum of outstanding quality.  It is the remnants of this arboretum which Seton Hall Prep wishes to destroy…indeed, has been destroying.

The Delano Home

In my last report I briefly mentioned one of the buildings on the Seton Hall property, which was the ancient Delano greenhouse.  It should have occurred to me at the time that that name was familiar.  It should be familiar to all of us.  Sara Delano was FDR’s mother.

The McClellans had neighbors, just like most people.  The Delano family were some of them…they lived immediately to the south of the McClellan estate.  Family patriarch at the time, Eugene Delano, had a son William who was the architect who designed, among other buildings, the Rockefeller estate in Sleepy Hollow, NY, the American Embassy in Paris, and the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia.

The Garden

William’s brother Moreau hired the Olmstead Brothers Landscape Architecture firm to design a private garden for them on their property…hoping for something on a par with what they had done in Branch Brook Park, further west in Essex County.

I should mention that another next door neighbor was the Robinson family…including Teddy Roosevelt’s sister and biographer, the poet Corinne Roosevelt Robinson.

Unfortunately, McClellan’s house Maywood and the Delano estate were both torn down and the property sold in 1938, a decade after the construction of the gardens.

Tonight there is more testimony in the attempt to dissuade the town from allowing Seton Hall to continue the destruction of this historical and botanical treasure trove.  Wouldn’t it be great if the powers-that-be decided that it would be in the best interest of everyone to engage Seton Hall students in the reconstruction of the area as an alternative?

Having this designated an historical venue of national importance would serve the purpose of saving the habitat for the wildlife which will be endangered or destroyed if the current construction continues.


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    • Robyn on June 17, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    …to write for tomorrow…but this seemed more appropriate while I wait for the surgeon’s office to call with a surgery date.

    Meanwhile, we will also spend the day looking for some place to board our cats during our trip to the Mojave and Las Vegas June 28 – July 12.

    • Robyn on June 17, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Also available in Orange.

    • melvin on June 17, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Making history: Istanbul’s first Trans Pride celebration

  1. keep singing your song

    Your art rocks too. tweedilly tweet twee doo.  

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