The Netherwood Heights Historic District in New Jersey is named for the Netherwood Hotel which stood at what is now the blocks bordered by Denmark Road, Park Terrace, Belvidere Avenue, Berkeley Avenue. It encompasses 99 homes located throughout the winding roads believed to be the original horse paths of the hoteli, which was built in 1878 when Plainfield was the last stop on the railroadii.
The original retaining walls of the hotel's property still stand in front of 601 Belvidere and 755 Berkeley Avenues. The district's oldest homes date from the 1880's to 1900's, being located the closest to the hotel's site and train station. The horse path to the hotel is still located behind 701 Belvidere, along with the carriage house on 633 Berkeley Avenueiii. The bulk of the district's homes date from the 1920's, including those built on the hotel's property after its demise in 1918iv.
Among the stately homes along winding Belvidere Avenue was the residence of Samuel Rushmore. For years, he lived at 777 Belvidere. Rushmore was the inventor of the automobile self-starter, headlights, searchlights for ships, plus many other inventions which did not come into use until after his patents had expired.
This location is also known as the Rushmore-Coffin House because during the reign of Jersey City Mayor Hague in the 1930's and 1940's, a coffin was placed on the roof to protest the mayor's alleged corruption. This home also has a carriage house on Ravine Road to which a tunnel is connected to the main house.
Also of note is 556 Belvidere, once home to the family of the Japanese Ambassador to the United Statesv. The interior features Japanese-style carvings on the coffered ceilings and mantel. The family imported Japanese Maples which can be seen on the property today.
Netherwood is the only location within the Plainfield City limits having its own zip code: 07062. The "town" of Netherwood extends east to west from Woodland Avenue to Terrill, and north to south from the North Plainfield town line to Watchung Avenue. The historic train station of Netherwood was originally built in 1894vi, and then renovated in 1998. Located on South Avenue, the station is designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque-Queen Anne style.
Authors: Louise Colodne, Victor Quinn, William Michaelson and Greg Myers
iIt is believed it may be that the bridal paths, upon which certain roads are based, predate the hotel itself. Besides that the wooded hills were probably used by residents for a long time, maps that feature the hotel include the streets themselves. (Source: Plainfield Library Database)
iiPlainfield was the last stop on the railroad when it was extended there in 1839, and for one year only: by 1840, the railroad was extended to Dunellen. (Sources: NY Times; Central RR of NJ Historical Society)
iiiAccording to a 1926 photo, 653 Ravine Road was the “Netherwood Hotel Carriage House.” (Source: Plainfield Library Database)
ivMr. Louis Nadel was manager of the hotel in 1920 and the hotel appears on a 1923 map. Actual destruction unknown. (Sources: American Newspaper Publishers Assn Bulletin; Plainfield Library Database)
vHarry Kuniichi Tetsuka was a Japanese pottery importer who lived here. A cross-reference of available archives between Plainfield or Netherwood with all Japanese Ambassadors to the US does not yield any results. (Source: Plainfield Library Database; NY Times; other unrecalled)
viThe current Netherwood station house was built in 1894. The original Netherwood station house was probably built in 1877 (the train schedule lists a Netherwood “station”, which does not require an actual building) and burned down in 1892. (Sources: Central Railroad of NJ Timetables; NY Times)
MISSION STATEMENT: Netherwood Heights Neighbors is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. Its mission is to enhance and preserve the quality of life within the NHN geographical boundaries by creating opportunities through education and charitable endeavors, acting on all issues pertaining to the neighborhood, and developing and broadening citizen safety, representation and awareness within a growning and diverse Netherwood Heights constituency.
Netherwood Heights Neighbors is a local 501(c)(3) homeowners group that meets regularly to discuss:
• Social Events – Dinners
• Neighbor Watch
• City of Plainfield Government Watch
• Community Liaison
• Historic District
• Group Complaints to City of Plainfield
(Photo credit: http://www.garwood365.com)
Netherwood Heights Neighbors | PO Box 2902 | Plainfield | NJ | 07062