This is the old Wisner House at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit.
Here’s what a nearby plaque had to say about it:
In the 1880s John Horner Wisner worked for his father’s New York export firm, Wisner and Company. Early in their marriage John and Isabella lived overseas in Shanghai, China and returned to live in New York City. In 1888, the Wisners followed the trend toward the separation of business and home life by moving the family to Summit to create an estated they named The Clearing. The Clearing was built and the land became a mark of cultural and social status.
The house was designed in 1889 by the architectural firm Babb, Cook, and Willard from New York City which also designed the Andrew Carnegie mansion, now the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City. The home is representative of suburban, northeastern New Jersey architecture in the last decades of the 19th century. The home features a Palladian style center entry, an arched entrance hood in the style of an elaborate concave shell. While the home’s interiors suggest Victorian residential design influences with heavy details, overall the home is an example of early Colonial Revival design.
The house also exhibits Shingle style architectural details such as its shingle cladding and gable-ended dormers. This style of architecture is part of the Colonial Revival movement which evokes the colonial past as an expression of popular culture. The revival period became popular and connected to American design at the 1876 centennial of the American Revolution and is associated with a white, gentrified and elite social class. Rejecting the high ornamentation of Victorian style, the Shingle style evoked New England heritage with natural colors and wide porches translating to a strong connection between the home and the landscape. As a result the residence complimented rather than conflicted with the landscape.
Here are the Cliffs Notes, for people like me who don’t have the patience to read through all that muck:
- Designed in 1889
- Colonial Revival style
- Associated with gentrified, elite, suburban, northeastern, late-1800s NJ
Boom. Done. Was that so hard?