Archive for July, 2011

July 31, 2011

Maplewood Concierge Company

Maplewood Concierge Company

Inside the Maplewood train station, the Maplewood Concierge Company provides actual concierge services to busy passengers—free of charge to registered commuters. (WHAT.) This includes a pick-up and drop-off service for dry cleaning and other stuff, presumably.

When the business established itself in 1998 (which is when Maplewood station was renovated), it rented out space for a coffee bar to Heavenly Scent.

In 2009, the coffee shop owner (Joyce Reynolds) wanted to renew her lease, but the concierge company owner (Art Christensen) wanted her to move across the street and start managing the company’s other ventures (e.g. dry cleaning). Reynolds was not okay with this, so Christensen evicted her and brought in a competing coffee service.

A lawsuit ensued.

As of last March, Christensen announced that the two companies had “reached an agreement to provide enhanced ‘hotel-style’ concierge services to the traveling public at the Maplewood Rail Station,” but only until the end of 2012. Which sounds… forced. But business is business, I guess.



DeMasters, K. (1997). “In brief; Maplewood commuters to get concierge service.” The New York Times Oct 26.

Kocieniewski, D. (2009). “Coffee clash: Concierge snack bar gone.” The Local, via The New York Times Apr 20.

Maplewood Patch. (2010). “Train station ‘coffee lady’ and concierge company reach a deal.”

July 30, 2011

Maplewood station!

Maplewood train station!

The Maplewood train station was built in 1902. The photo below shows it when it was less than three years old, complete with a horse and buggy in front.

Maplewood station, c. 1904

Prior to that (from 1860-1902), the Maplewood train depot was a few blocks away and looked like this:

Maplewood station, 1860-1902

New Jersey Transit approved a contract to renovate the station in 1997, which included the establishment of Maplewood Concierge Company.

…Y’know, the other day, I was listening to an NPR piece on autism, and they mentioned that autistic people often have a fascination with public transportation. Like trains. Sometimes I wonder about myself.



DeMasters, K. (1997). “In brief; Maplewood commuters to get concierge service.” The New York Times.

Durand-Hedden House and Garden Association. (1998). Images of America: Maplewood. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0752412795.

July 29, 2011


DMW. Chew on THAT.

On the main bridge over the railroad at Fanwood station, there is this small painting. It is invisible to all but pedestrians of that bridge.

In case you can’t see it, the head is chewing the letters “DMW.” It might be an advertisement or the artist’s initials— I don’t know. But it’s kind of perfect. I hope it stays for a while.

July 28, 2011

DeForest Methodist

Summit Methodist (on DeForest Ave.)

The United Methodist Church of Summit [website] is… uh… in Summit.

Methodists started meeting in Summit around 1822, but they didn’t get around to building their first church until 1868. The current structure on DeForest Avenue was built in 1889-90.

Summit Methodist, date unknown (c.1900?)

It has been a landmark from downtown for many years.

Summit Methodist, as seen from downtown Summit, c. 1910?

[Insert witty concluding remark here]



Meola, P.E. (1998). Images of America: Summit. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738563307.

July 27, 2011

Trifolium repens

Oh clover.

Look! A clover.


July 26, 2011

What goes ’round… stays ’round

I'm ready for my close-up!

The round-roofed building that used to be the Fanwood post office, Fanwood library, and local Red Cross center… is still standing! The 1897 building is now used as an English Chiropractic office [hours]. The current tenants have added some stars above the windows.

Aaaaand here it is from across the street (with a phone wire Photoshopped out).

And— I know you’ve seen this photo like three times in three days, so bear with me— here it is in 1897, right after it was built.

Ye old round-roofed Fanwood Library/ Post office/ etc.

It stands maybe half a block from the current Fanwood Memorial Library.

I think it’s kind of neat! But I have low standards, so what do I know.



Bousquet, R. and Bousquet, S. (1995). Images of America: Scotch Plains and Fanwood. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0738563188.

July 25, 2011

Fanwood Post Office!

Fanwood Post Office!

The Fanwood post office and library have a lot in common.

The post office, like the library, started out in this 1897 building.

Ye old round-roofed Fanwood Library/ Post office/ etc.

The post office, like the library, moved to a storefront operation c.1928.

Fanwood post office, c. 1940

The post office, like the library, currently exists in its third building, shown at the top (featured photo).

* Hours for the Fanwood post office [USPS website], as of July 2011:
M-F: 8:30am-5:00pm
Sat: 8:30am-1:00pm



Bousquet, R. and Bousquet, S. (1995). Images of America: Scotch Plains and Fanwood. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0738563188.

July 24, 2011

Fanwood Library

Fanwood Memorial Library!

The Fanwood Memorial Library [website] is the third library building to serve Fanwood.

The first one was built in 1897 to serve the post office; it was shared with the library from 1903 to 1928. (The building is still standing! Look, here are some photos.)

Ye old round-roofed Fanwood Library/ Post office/ etc., circa 1897

The second one, used from c.1928-1951* [see note below], was a modest storefront operation a couple blocks away.

Fanwood Library, circa 1940

(If you look closely, you can actually try to read the label on the window:)

Fanwood Library, c. 1940: Seriously, there was a library here.

The third and final one has been used from 1951 onwards.

Fanwood Memorial Library, 1951

Here’s a note about the architectural choices made:

The architecture of our new England Colonial forebears is mainly distinctive for its simplicity. It was based principally on economic necessity. Construction was simple and materials, which would stand the test of time, were for the most part easily obtainable. Buildings were devoid of modeling, or ornamentation, but their fine outlines and good composition have had an enduring quality of distinction.

A library building for a residential community such as Fanwood should follow this form. A building of Colonial residential character answers our requirements and is consistent with the heritage of our community. The use of hand split red cedar shingles, (called shakes in earlier times) and reclaimed brick for the exterior side walls exemplifies this patter and creates the atmosphere of softness and durable character sought in this type of structure. The interior materials and décor add to this atmosphere and give the desired tone of reflective and enduring calm (Fanwood Memorial Library, 1951, p. 1).

An addition was added in 1980.

Fanwood Memorial Library, 1980, under construction


* I’m actually not sure about the dates of use for the second library; I’ve got some conflicting information from various sources. It seems like the original building may have stopped being used in 1928, been renovated, started use again in 1930, and shifted into that storefront building sometime between 1930 and 1940.


** If you’re looking for good vintage photos and historical information about Fanwood and Scotch Plains, NJ, the history society has a boatload of photos that are digitized and online.


*** Fanwood Memorial Library hours are, as of July 2011:

M: 10am-9pm (children’s dept. closes 7:30pm)
T: 10am-9pm (children’s dept. closes 7:30pm)
W: 10am-5pm
Th: 10am-9pm (children’s dept. closes 7:30pm)
F: 10am-9pm
Sat: 10am-5pm (CLOSED July & August)

Check the library website for changes.



Bousquet, R. and Bousquet, S. (1995). Images of America: Scotch Plains and Fanwood. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0738563188.

Fanwood Memorial Library. (1951). “Dedication Ceremony and Observance of Fiftieth Anniversary (March 11, 1952).” Retrieved from The Joint Digital Archives of Fanwood and Scotch Plains. [pamphlet]

The Joint Digital Archives of Fanwood & Scotch Plains, New Jersey. (dates various). “Libraries: Fanwood Memorial Library.” .

July 23, 2011

Farmer’s Market 2!

Chatham Farmer's Market!

First, on an unrelated note: Oh my gosh we are in the middle of a heat wave here. Temperatures are hitting 100 degrees F (37.8 C). I am writing this from the New Providence Library, where (a) it is air conditioned, and (b) the internet works. (I think my modem overheats, which is unfortunate, because my modem and air conditioner are in different rooms.)


The Chatham Farmer’s Market [website] occurs on Saturday mornings in the Chatham train station parking lot, from 8:00am to 1:00pm.

When I was there, there were two produce vendors :), but nobody was selling cookies. 😦 The bakeries were all breads and fried pastry-looking stuff and scones.

Parking is a bit of an issue, as is the congested traffic caused by the event. I parked in a one-hour spot on Main Street, but a lot of people seemed to be parking on side streets immediately surrounding the lot.

July 22, 2011


It's fun to stay at the...!

The Northside YMCA, which isn’t a full YMCA, was the second Baptist Church of Scotch Plains for a little while.

Scotch Plains YMCA, which isn't really a YMCA, in context with lots of power lines.

Here are some dates of things:

  • 1816-1817: Used (built?) when the original Baptist meeting house burned to the ground.
  • 1871: They moved the building! This involved oxen. At this point, I think it was serving as Scotch Plain’s District 14 School.
  • 1890: A real school was built. This building continued being used as a parish house (?).
  • 1910: Purchased by J. Ackerman Coles and his sister Emile. I’m assuming renovations began about this time.
  • 1912: YMCA! With a new gymnasium, new bowling alleys, and a new columned façade (totally not original).

Scotch Plains not-actually-a-YMCA, c.1920ish?



Bousquet, R. and Bousquet, S. (1995). Images of America: Scotch Plains and Fanwood. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0738563188.

%d bloggers like this: