A boy climbed the greenhouse (shown in the back) at Van Vleck and fell through on Wednesday, July 9.


A 7-year-old boy climbed on top of the greenhouse at Van Vleck House and Gardens and fell through the glass, sustaining injuries on Tuesday, July 9, police said. 

The boy, a Nutley resident, was visiting the gardens at around 4:45 p.m. when he apparently went off the path and began to climb the greenhouse. 

The boy fell through three panes of glass and fell about six feet, said Van Vleck officials.

A man visiting the gardens from Denmark rushed to help the boy, got him out of the greenhouse, gave him first aid and asked people to call an ambulance, according to a witness.

Montclair Police responded to Van Vleck on a report of a juvenile who had fallen through a greenhouse glass window.  

The juvenile was transported by medical personnel to a nearby hospital for treatment, police said. Details on the boy's condition were not provided, only that he "sustained two lacerations to his lower body."

The man from Denmark also sustained a cut to his heel.

Van Vleck Executive Director Charles Fischer said they were very concerned with the health of the boy following the accident, and he urged parents to supervise children when visiting the gardens.

“We are not a park,” Fischer said. “We are a house and arboretum that was once someone’s home. People need to stay on the paths for their own safety.”

The greenhouse is located behind the visitor and education centers, and near a butterfly garden, but is roped off with a cable. The greenhouse was built in 1920 and much of the original glass remains. It is still used today to grow vegetation by the gardeners who maintain the Van Vleck arboretum, Fischer said. 

The main house on the Van Vleck grounds was designed and built in 1916 by Joseph Van Vleck, Jr. His son, Howard Van Vleck, followed in his father’s footsteps and pursued a degree in architecture and a passion in the arts and horticulture. 

In 1993, the heirs of Howard Van Vleck placed the property in the hands of The Montclair Foundation and later became a not-for-profit arboretum. 

On Friday, the man who helped will receive a commendation at police headquarters for his assistance during the accident.