Posts tagged ‘repurposed’

January 29, 2012

Diamond Hill School

Diamond Hill School on Diamond Hill Road

It’s the Diamond Hill School! Except it’s not a school anymore. People live here! I actually started trespassing on their tiny front lawn just as the residents emerged from the house to start loading their car. (I pretended to be taking photos of the church next door until they drove away.)

Here’s a context shot from across the street:

The former Diamond Hill School, as seen from across the street


Diamond Hill School (also sometimes known as “the Woodchuck School”) was built in 1888.

Here’s a photo of Diamond Hill School, c. 1910…

Diamond Hill School, NJ, c.1910



…and here’s a photo of it c. 1932. (Look, it even still has that little porthole on the side, near the roof!) Just two years later, in 1934, it was the last one-room schoolhouse in Union County to close.

Diamond Hill School, NJ, c.1932



It’s been maintained on its original foundations as a private residence. Hooray for preserving history!



Troeger, V.B. (1996). Images of America: Berkeley Heights. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0752404903.

Gonczlik, J. and Coddington, J. (1998). Images of America: New Providence. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738565210.

January 19, 2012

Old mill ruins

The ruined foundations of Seeley's Mill

A few days ago, I posted something about the dam that powered Seeley’s Mill. Well, THIS is all that’s left of the mill— a broken concrete floor, some mossy brick foundations, and corroded steel pipes all over the place. It’s part of the Sierra Trail, marked on the Watchung Reservation trail map (link in sidebar) as the “old mill ruins.”

Originally built in 1763, it started as a gristmill (for grinding grain) called Fall Mill.

After Edmund A. Seeley converted it into a paper mill, the business thrived until 1924.

Around 1916, the Green Brook (which powered the mill) flooded torrentially, and Seeley’s Mill fell in.

Seeley's Mill, c.1916

Apparently they fixed it up and functioned for another eight years (what with the whole “closing in 1924” thing).

Nowadays… there’s just a trail marching through what’s left of it, and that’s that.



Troeger, V.B. (1996). Images of America: Berkeley Heights. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0752404903.

January 16, 2012

The Strand

The Strand (in Summit, NJ)!

Tucked away in downtown Summit, there’s a little halfway-indoors mall— an arcade, perhaps?— called The Strand.

(What’s weird about this— for me— is that “The Strand” is a very large, very well-known used bookstore in Manhattan. But that is not what this is a photo of.)

According to, the Strand was a movie theater until it closed in the late 1980s. It was renovated into an “open-air mall” sometime after that. Pretty cool!

September 29, 2011

Masons in Madison

To be a Freemason you need to be (1) male and (2) worship a higher power. Wellllll, I'm out.

I was going through some old photos, and I came across this drive-by shot of a Masonic Lodge in Madison.

Something seemed vaguely familiar about it, so I leafed through my historical text on Madison.

Oh and there's a building behind that tree. FYI.

It’s the old 1825 Presbyterian Church!

According to the Freemason’s own website:

When the Presbyterian Church moved to larger quarters on Green Avenue, Madison Lodge purchased the building at 170 Main Street, renovated the interior and have met there since 1931 utilizing furniture from the early days on Waverly Place [the first meeting place of the group] and benches from the church.

How ’bout that. Apparently they’ve chopped down that obstructive tree, too.



Cunningham, J.T. (1998). Images of America: Madison. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0738537802.

Madison Lodge #93, F. & A.M. (n.d.). “Freemasonry in Madison.”

September 6, 2011


Eyeglasses and hearing aids!

In keeping with the flag collecting boxes I’ve found (link one, link two, and link three), here’s another use for an old post box: glasses and hearing aid collection!

I’m assuming the Lions recycle them somehow.

Nevertheless. This big yellow box is in the middle of downtown Scotch Plains. Can’t miss it.

September 2, 2011

Saint Andrew’s Episcopal

St. Andrew's of New Providence

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New Providence [website] was started by New Providencians from Calvary Church in Summit. In November 1959, they bought a plot of land with an old house; by Christmas 1960, a sanctuary had been built off the porch of the old house.

(This kind of explains why it’s set back so far from the road; I had to trespass a bit to get these photos.)

Side view.

A fair amount of its funding comes from its school, which began as a child care program sometime in the 1960s and has remained a well-respected “Harvard of nursery schools.”



Hodgkins, M. (2010). “History of St. Andrew’s.” St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

August 25, 2011

Bank it

The bank, which is not a bank

A landmark building in the center of downtown Millburn, the First National Bank of Millburn was originally built in 1909.

Millburn First National Bank, 1910

It’s currently home to Deborah Gilbert Smith [website], Coco [website], and probably some apartments or offices on the top floors. There’s no longer any bank there—no obvious one, anyway.



The Millburn-Short Hills Historical Society. (n.d.). [title of page]

August 17, 2011

Schoolhouse Plaza

Schoolhouse Rock! Well, no, it's Schoolhouse Plaza.

Schoolhouse Plaza in Millburn is, as one might guess, named for the building’s original purpose.

Washington School, c. 1900

The Washington School was constructed in 1895. Its opening forced (permitted?) several small wooden schools around town to close down, so most local elementary school students attended classes here.

At the moment (2011), the building is home to Squires Associates (LLP), Michael Cohn Associates (Insurance-Investments), Freundlich and Reisen (LLP), Biebelberg & Martin (Attorneys at Law), and possibly more.



Lampe, O.W. (1999, 2000). Images of America: Millburn. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738504130.

August 9, 2011

A Squadron of First Aid

Millburn First Aid Squad!

It’s the Millburn First Aid Squad! [website]

From the other side, yo.

The Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western Railroad once owned a freight station here.

DL&W Millburn freight station, c. 1940-1950? If you're a car expert, check out the cars—what do you think?

The old freight building was in use until after World War II, and it stayed there until DL&W sold the property to the township in 1957.

Whether these two photos are showing the same building, I’m not sure. They definitely have similar profiles, and they’re located in exactly the same spot, right by the Millburn train station. Lampe (1999, 2000) says “…the township bought the property and turned the yard into a commuter parking lot. The First Aid Squad building is now located on the site,” which is a little ambiguous, don’t you think?



Lampe, O.W. (1999, 2000). Images of America: Millburn. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738504130.

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.

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