Holiday House Tour '08 raises $7,000 to help maintain Old Franklin School


In 1842, the Old Franklin School was repaired and renovated for a total of $500.  In 1906, $800 in contributions from residents and the President of Princeton University enabled the Borough Improvement League (BIL) to purchase the property and guarantee its preservation.  If you attended the Holiday House Tour this past Sunday, you were among the 400 participants who helped contribute to the $7,000 raised to keep our prized landmark in good shape.


Six houses from four different centuries, the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st, were included on the tour. Volunteers, some in period regalia, were on hand to provide interesting facts about the holiday-decorated homes.

According to BIL president Tyreen Reuter, homes are chosen when BIL members "snoop around the neighborhoods, knock on doors, and ask A LOT of people.  Many people won't do it, some want to but can't certain years (so we put them on the "call again" list).  Only occasionally do people actually reach out to us.  We get a lot of suggestions, and there are a lot we would like have, but it is hard for many people to open their homes to the public.  That is why we are so appreciative of those who do."


Two Franklin Square homes enabled residents and veteran tour goers the opportunity to meet some new neighbors and take a peek inside two of our most recent residential additions.  On display were signed, original artwork from regional artist Frankie Busch and a hand-crafted train table and wood cutouts of famous Metuchen landmarks (on loan from the Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce).  The two families hosting this leg of the tour were instrumental in founding F-Squared (Friends and Families of Franklin Square), a grass-roots organization committed to social activities geared toward building a greater sense of community within the 105 units of this residential neighborhood.  They have already accomplished the construction of a playground in the square.   


35 Hofer Court, on sale and to be featured this week in our real estate feature segment, is one of the oldest homes in the Metuchen area.  With five fireplaces, sections of original wide-plank pine flooring, and collection of notable antiques, it was a journey into Christmas past. Guests were treated to cider and cookies and a beautifully decorated dining room table, courtesy of Southern Living at Home.


A 1955 split level on Clive Hills Road in Edison treated visitors to a tranquil, peaceful and beautifully decorated home.  Eight master bedroom closets, a Japanese style deck to the upstairs bedroom, and a guest room with ceiling to floor windows overlooking the spacious and attractive yard, coupled with updated granite bathrooms and a sunroom-turned-kitchen space with glass walls and a partial glass ceiling, surrounded by new garden beds outside and hand painted Irish countryside scenes inside, highlighted a comfortable and gracious lifestyle.


On Eileen Way in Edison, a home with more visible Christmas-spirit than most places you may ever see, visitors were treated to 100's, if not 1,000's of Christmas decorations, collectables, antique dolls, player pianos, movable and musical clocks, and an enclosed porch that is Christmas-ready all throughout the year.  A model train, complete with a whistle, helped to make this experience complete.


Built in the late 1880's, 55 Hillside Avenue, a three-story residence with nooks and crannies filled with art, crafts, books, antiques, world travel souvenirs, and this family's history, originally  included a good deal of land behind the house - its original garage was on Washington Place.  In 1959, it was a Rectory for the "White Fathers" of the Society of Missionaries of Africa.   It was at this time that sinks, for the religious in residence, were installed in three of the bedrooms.   Each of the two staircases provided their own exploration into art, architecture, and wonder.


Local florists, E&e Flowers and Gifts, Inspirations Floral, Bella Floral, Roberts Floral, Creative Crafts, and Landscape Design Strategies  provided seasonal decorations for the homes.  Eleven local businesses contributed gifts for a raffle


"The Borough Improvement League was thrilled with this year's large turnout, and is extremely grateful to the six homeowners who made it all possible.  By graciously allowing all of us into their homes, the homeowners not only spread a great deal of holiday cheer, but also helped the BIL continue to preserve the Old Franklin School for future generations" said Mrs. Reuter. 


For information on renting the Old Franklin School for your events, visit the BIL online


My apologies for the incorrect wording - you are absolutely right.

55 Hillside did not have a "garage," it had a carriage house, and that carriage house is now incorporated into the house at the corner of Robins & Washington.

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  • Tyreen Reuter: My apologies for the incorrect wording - you are absolutely read more
  • Anonymous: 55 Hillside did not have a "garage," it had a read more

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