I don’t actively research Betelle much anymore, but I do have automatic searches in place at a number of websites. eBay is the busiest, where occasional magazines and postcards pop up. I mostly ignore those, as it’s generally material I already have. But sometimes a unique item appears. This morning, I saw this:
It’s the envelope only, so not of specific interest. But who was Mr. August Sieder, Jr. of South Orange New Jersey? First, let’s see his house:
A pretty typical smaller suburban house. But what was Sieder’s occupation that Guilbert & Betelle would be writing him? A quick trip to Ancestry.com tells us:
An architect, of course. So a general Google search didn’t reveal much besides being listed with the AIA. The next stop is the New York Times obituaries where we get a bit more info. It would appear he spent most of his career with G&B. Attributing him to having designed the Betelle structures mentioned is probably a bit loose with the facts—a team of people would have designed those structures—but it does give us one more concrete link to the people who worked with Betelle.
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.
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.
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.
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).