Planning Board to Decide Marylawn Property Fate

The Graves estate is on the agenda in South Orange

The South Orange Planning Board will Monday consider proposed demolition of the former Graves family estate, now the convent on the Marylawn School of the Oranges property. The Planning Board meets at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 at Village Hall. 

Property owners, Convent Station-based Sisters of Saint Elizabeth, have applied for a permit to "demolish the existing three story residence, backfill, re-grading, seed and hay site." The site fronts Scotland Road, directly across from Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel. The Sisters of Saint Elizabeth are expected to sell the parcel of land to a developer for building multiple units, after unsuccessfully marketing the home as it stands.

The Montrose Park Historic District Association opposes the demolition. Their position, outlined in several emails, follows:

We are asking for your support to help us stop the demolition of the Graves Mansion. Not only is the mansion stunning inside, but the property is zoned for single family use. Marylawn is taking steps to remove the historic home and pave the way for a developer to build a multi-unit apartment building. In order to accommodate their wish to sell the property to a developer, the house must be torn down.

In addition to defacing the entrance to our historic district, a 100+ unit building will have a severe negative impact on traffic, tax our resources and be a major blight on our landscape. No one from the Sisters of St. Elizabeth's is a resident of Montrose Park or even South Orange.

The home was once the Graves family estate. The house and family are decribed here and here. 

, citing financial woes.

Shawn O'Hale January 07, 2013 at 08:46 PM
THis house is also designed by the famous architect Henry Hobson Richardson, who is considered one of the great 3 American Architects, along with Sullivan and Wright. He is know for his style, coined "RIchardson ROmanesque". He is the architect of the Trinity Church in Boston. THis house in South Orange has his distinctive white stone and arched doorway.
Marcia Worth January 07, 2013 at 08:49 PM
Fascinating! Can you tell us more about Richardson? Are there other bldgs around here, or how did he happen to design this one? Thanks.
Christopher Girr January 07, 2013 at 09:41 PM
This house is certainly influenced by Richardson's style but is unlikely to have been designed by him, as he died in 1886 and the house reportedly dates from 1900. I checked Oshner's book H.H. Richardson: Complete Architectural Works, and it is not listed. In fact there are no Richardson works in NJ. Nice house though and I'd be very sad to see it razed.


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