melissakd wrote:If you want research tips I've got plenty to share!
I'll take any research tips you can give me! And anyone else in NJ or elsewhere too!!
We're 75% sure we know who built our house and when. But I cannot cannot cannot figure out how to get real confirmation.
Timeline of house facts:
1904?-1920s? Nutley Realty Company, a prolific local developer. They buy and sell land and houses, and also build to suit, and also sell their plans to others to build elsewhere.
March 1906 Nutley Realty bought a large plot of land that includes ours.
March 1907 They have the land surveyed, and call it Lakeside Tract on the survey map.
February 1909 Title shows James Gray buying our plots in Lakeside Tract from Nutley Realty. Title does not specify whether a house is there. Only uses typical vague "land and any improvements" that other titles of the time use.
July 1909 NY Tribune article of recent real estate purchases lists James Gray as having bought a 7-room house.
So, it seems obvious that Nutley Realty Company built our house between 1907 and 1909. Right? Well, I'd like some proof!
Further evidence against and for:
Here's the thing... the house isn't really up to the specs of other Nutley Realty houses. Their president was architect William A. Lambert. He was no Frank Lloyd Wright. But he built some gorgeous houses all over NY and NJ. Ours really just isn't grand like his other houses. It looks like the younger, cheaper kid brother to his houses. And the town has lists of Lambert houses, and we're not on them.
So, it's not a Lambert house. Right?
Well...here's the next thing. I've got a book on area history that says that Lambert's earlier houses in our town were simpler and smaller. They were geared toward working folks, not wealthy people. And it says that his grand houses were mostly in two other developments in town. Those are the developments that everyone associates with him. No one now even seems to realize there was a Lakeside Tract-- including our town historian. (I've got the maps to prove it, though!) So not being on the lists could just be because the town lost track of houses he built on my little development.
So...where do I go from here? I'm thinking of tracking down William Lambert's grandkids and dragging them over to the house to see what they think! I'd track down James Gray's kids, but he and his wife Susan don't seem to have had any. (I'm all over the 1900-1930 censuses!)
Any solid ideas anyone has would be SO GREAT to hear!