The Chatham Borough Historical Society recently awarded Karen and Paul Franklin of 27 N. Hillside Ave. with a Historical Home Plaque, celebrating their efforts to research and record the history of their house.
Historical Society member Joyce Martinsen said the Franklins used material from the borough's Adopt-A-House program to research the history of the land around their home, the builder and previous owners. They found the following:
- In 1909, the mayor of Chatham Borough approved the petition for North Hillside Avenue to become a public road. At this time, there was considerable growth in the borough as it shifted from a farming community to a suburban town.
- George Carley, a local builder who lived on Hedges Avenue, bought several lots on Hillside Avenue. He constructed the house at 27 N. Hillside Ave. in 1912.
- The home was designed in the American Four Square style, with broad horizontal lines, asymmetrical design, overhanging eaves and a wrap-around porch. The interior features a simple floor plan high ceilings, gorgeous moldings and hardwood floors. This design style was popular for only a short period of time, but it allowed for roomy homes to be built upon small lots. In Martinsen's words, it was "perfectly suited for Chatham’s growing middle class."
- In 2002, the Franklins added an architecturally-sensitive addition and renovated the existing home.They painstakingly restored windows and moldings preserving the original architecture while bringing the home into the 21st century.
The Chatham Borough Historical Society launched the Dani McCulloch Historical Plaque program in 2010 to commemorate homes over 100 years old and promote the Adopt-a-House program.
Through these initiatives, the Historical Society hopes to foster a passion for local history among borough residents.
Homeowners with homes over 100 years old are eligible for the plaque and are encouraged to join the Adopt-a-House program. The Historical Society offers material for anyone interested in the program.