James Betelle, Where Are You?

The Search for a Lost Architect

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To be good architecture, the design of the exterior of the building should express the character and purpose for which the interior of the building is used, as “truthful expression” is just as desirable in architecture as it is in all other things in life. — James O. Betelle, The American School Board Journal, April, 1919

Entries Tagged as 'Diary'

Schools of Summit, New Jersey

May 14th, 2008 · No Comments · Architecture, Diary

After completing my tour of CHS’s clock tower on a Saturday morning in April, I continued on to check out the Guilbert & Betelle schools built in the nearby town of Summit. The firm designed the high school and a number of grade schools, much as they did in South Orange and Maplewood, so I […]

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A Climb Up Columbia’s Clock Tower

April 10th, 2008 · 5 Comments · Architecture, Diary

This past Saturday I had the rare treat of being given a tour of the clock room and astronomical observatory of Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey. As an alumnus of CHS, the massive clock tower has always been a source of some mystery. Lucky students have the chance to climb it, either for […]

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Hallowed Ground

September 3rd, 2007 · 1 Comment · Biographical, Diary

I finally visited Ernest Guilbert’s gravesite. I had made an attempt a while ago, but the office was closed. Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside, NJ, is over 150 acres, so I wasn’t about to look the hard way. I went directly to the office, a charming little Mansard Victorian building near the main gate. The clerk […]

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The Ghost of New Rochelle High School

July 5th, 2007 · 59 Comments · Architecture, Diary

My first exposure to New Rochelle High School was a series of photographs in a 1932 article on school architecture written by James Betelle. While I had been pretty familiar with the traditional English Gothic and Neo-Classical designs of his schools, this one stood out as unique; it had a style unlike any other. Towers, […]

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More Newark, More Schools

May 10th, 2007 · 1 Comment · Architecture, Diary

Last week I headed down to Newark to learn more about James Betelle’s tragically short-lived partner, Ernest F. Guilbert. I scored quickly by finding Guilbert’s obituary at the library, which painted a pretty good portrait of his life and career. With that done, I was off to chase down a number of schools I hadn’t […]

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