Boulevard Historic District

Westfield Town, Union County, NJ

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Historic District [1]

This area, centered on "The Boulevard" — a wide, grand street, consists mainly of large, turn-of-the-century revival style houses. Some notable structures in the district are the Squires Clubhouse (545 Boulevard), which is an 1890 Federal Revival house with an imposing semi-circular entrance portico and a 1906 Queen Anne/Romanesque house (317 Park Street) with a round Romanesque tower with conical roof.

Between 1866 and 1896, Chauncey B. Ripley was the principal developer of the section of the growing suburb south of the railroad tracks. He was a teacher, lawyer, and heir-by-marriage to the large estate of Gideon Ross, Esq. (1794-1861). Ripley expanded the land holdings, particularly along the railroad, between 1866 and 1869. In 1872 he filed a map laying out "Boulevard Ripley" on paper between South Avenue and the Clark line. After waiting out the depression of the mid-seventies, he and his estate resumed the purchase of lands from 1878 to 1901, beyond his death.

The 500 block of the Boulevard, together with the adjacent Park Street properties included in the Boulevard Historic District, was developed in the 1880's and 1890's. This neighborhood succeeded Westfield Avenue and preceded Dudley Avenue as the most affluent address in town.

The 600 block of the Boulevard (the name "Ripley" was dropped around 1900) was, for the most part, developed between 1900 and 1915 and carried on the tradition of tasteful, upper middle class elegance. As the Boulevard was developed in stages in the decades that followed, it maintained its high reputation by adhering to generous standards of setback and side yard, street side tree planting and spacious malls between curb and sidewalk that give the thoroughfare its distinctively "boulevardian" flavor. Today, fulfilling Ripley's 1872 plan, it offers a virtual architectural history of east coast suburbia in the 20th century.

Of the two blocks within the suggested boundaries, the 500 block is more threatened by modernization, but it still preserves much of its old charm. It is largely a block of spacious Queen Anne style houses. Numbers 503, 509 and 515 are especially fine examples of this vintage. No. 515 was once the residence of Henry C. Sergeant, a founder of Ingersoll Rand. No. 545 was the early residence of Charles N. Codding, the county and municipal Republican leader and a prominent attorney. Architect Charles Darsh, a disciple of Stanford White, remodeled the house along Federal Revival lines in the early 1920's. Darsh, who also remodeled No. 546, resided at No. 534.

  1. Town of Westfield, Planning Board Master Plan: Historic Preservation Plan, 2002,, accessed June, 2012.

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