James Betelle, Where Are You?

The Search for a Lost Architect

James Betelle, Where Are You? header image 1

It seems as though this masterly architect built his own career on an architectural plan—with everything in its proper place and dovetailing, with no part out of harmony with the other. — Fortune Story Magazine, October 1929

A Piece on Pipes

August 1st, 2011 · No Comments · Architecture

organ screen clean

From John Elwood, who has been leading an astounding—and successful—effort to restore a grand old pipe organ from a Guilbert & Betelle classic:

Some Guilbert and Betelle schools have unusual features.  We’ve seen the greenhouses, the swimming pools, the observatories, and even the airplane shops… but in terms of sheer lavish expenditure in a public high school, it’s pretty hard to beat a pipe organ.

Read more →

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Maple…wood school blocks?

May 15th, 2011 · No Comments · Architecture, Miscellaneous

Well this is interesting. A company in rural Pennsylvania called Firefly Landing appears to be in the business of making nothing but wood blocks die-cut in the shape of the schools and buildings of Maplewood, New Jersey. Talk about targeted marketing!

According to the site, “The vintage images are digitally printed, mounted to maple hardwood blocks, stencil-cut, and finish-coated.  Perfectly sized for display on desktop, bookshelf, or window sill.”

All of the Betelle schools are represented here in glorious 3D wooden-extrusion. The images seem to be taken from vintage postcards as best I can tell from the small images (there would be words if they took any of my photos…).  Marshall looks pretty good, but South Orange Middle, well, the less said the better (as is always the case with the “Pink Palace”).

I’m not sure who would actually want to purchase one of these, but I suppose the folk(s) at Firefly are Maplewood expats, so I wish them well in the endeavor.

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$100 Million For Newark Schools

September 23rd, 2010 · No Comments · Miscellaneous

From the Wall Street Journal:

Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old founder and chief executive of Facebook Inc., plans to announce a donation of up to $100 million to the Newark schools this week, in a bold bid to improve one of the country’s worst performing public school systems.

Potentially to be matched by funds raised by Mayor Cory Booker. I’d be interested to see if any of the funds will go to upkeep, renovation and/or restoration of Newark’s classic Guilbert & Betelle schools.

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St. Paul’s Peril

September 13th, 2010 · No Comments · Architecture, Miscellaneous

gc

Scouting New York:

Over the past few months, I’ve been getting letters from readers about an abandoned school in Garden City, Long Island, called St. Paul’s, on the verge of being demolished. Last Friday, I hopped the train with my bike and camera to have a look for myself.

This amazing 1879 Victorian pile—apparently in fine condition—is likely to be razed for no pressing reason. The article dismantles the logic of the demolition with stinging wit.  Another great one from SNY.

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Restored chandeliers installed at Washington Irving Intermediate School

May 31st, 2010 · No Comments · Architecture, Articles

Ten beautifully restored chandeliers were recently installed in the auditorium at the Washington Irving Intermediate School of Tarrytown, New York.

The school recently underwent a major renovation which included larger classrooms, an expanded library, a new art room, renovated music rooms, a new nurses station and renovations of the existing offices.

A wonderful restoration job from 2009. The article does makes a few errors; the Washington Irving school isn’t in “Betelle’s signature collegiate-gothic style”, but rather Georgian, and Guilbert & Betelle was located in Newark, NJ, of course, not NYC at that time (I know, I can’t help nitpick).

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