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Monday, December 05, 2016

The "Watcher" House....A Historical Home Faces Demolition

The "Watcher" House........Could It's Fate be Politically Affected?
The Westfield Planning Board will convene tonight and could possibly decide the fate of the "Watcher" house owned by Derek and Maria Broaddus.
The Broadduss are seeking to demolish the "historic" home and construct two new homes on the property.
Tonight's planning board meeting is the last meeting of the year and is expected to feature a significant turnout in opposition of the Brodduses attempt to sub-divide the property which would require a variance.
A search has revealed that the "Watcher" house is located in one of Westfield's historic districts.  (See below information.)
Former Westfield Town Councilman, and local attorney, Jim Foerst, has been retained by Derek and Maria Broaddus to represent them before the Westfield Planning Board.
Could politics be in play?  Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky and Jim Foerst have served together, on the town council, and the mayor appoints members to the planning board.

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.


  1. Where's Davey in all this?

    Surely he pitched in somewhere.

  2. Hope Jewish lightning doesn't stike

  3. it will interesting to watch and see what happens

  4. Last I heard, CRTU is already conducting surveillance.

  5. Foerst is no better than a lobbyist in this scenario - shameful and it's too bad someone on the planning board didn't advise him as such.

  6. this bears watching

  7. Zod won't do anything there is nothing in it for him