I have the honor of being asked to give a talk on the life and work of James Betelle at the Durand-Hedden House and Garden Association, on April 29th, from 1-4 pm. All are welcome—and I promise to reveal stories, some of a scandalous nature, not yet shared on this site…
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.
I recently acquired a 20 minute reel of 16mm silent color home movies, shot in Maplewood, New Jersey, in the 1950s-60s. In it are typical scenes of a family’s life; Church, Christmas, Halloween, hanging out at the pool, etc. Interspersed with this are scenes around Maplewood that any resident will easily recognize. Cars and clothes have changed, but the buildings and landscape remain much the same.
The filmographer apparently loved Guilbert & Betelle’s Maplewood Municipal Building, which is featured heavily (Columbia High School also makes a brief appearance). I’ve added some music and edited the film to focus on these aspects. Enjoy.
Marcia Worth at Patch, on Columbia High Schools wonderful auditorium that is in desperate need of restoration:
But like an old home that has been lived in for generations, the auditorium is due for some renovation. The South Orange-Maplewood Education Foundation‘s fundraiser “A Night on the Towns,” scheduled for Sunday, May 23, has designated the auditorium as the recipient of the event proceeds. The evening is part of “Take a Seat,” SOMEF’s campaign to raise extra funds to complete the district’s planned renovation of the auditorium.
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 astronomy or the infamous “egg drop” experiment, but in general it is off limits. Studying the building in detail in relation to my James Betelle research, time and again I’ve read about the great telescope, the sometimes-working clock and rumored mysterious spaces.
Alan Levin, head of the Science Department, was kind enough to indulge my curiosity and meet me on that cool, clear morning to lead me up all those steps. He was full of interesting trivia and observations, which I will pepper throughout. At the end I’ll have a few bonus tidbits. Continue reading →