Buzz Aldrin's home, a whimsical Queen Anne, an upscale commercial building and a virtual history series are the winners of the Montclair Township Historic Preservation Commission's Preservation Awards Program this year.

Awardees will be recognized at the commission’s upcoming meeting on Thursday, May 12.

Bricks & Mortar Preservation Award
25 Princeton Place – Buzz Aldrin House

“When the former childhood home of Buzz Aldrin (resident from 1930 to the early 1950s) changed hands in February 2021, after the previous, post-Aldrin owners had occupied the home for six decades, preservationists felt trepidation regarding whether historically insensitive alterations might befall the house,” the commission wrote in a May 10 press release announcing the awards. “A campaign to make the home an Aldrin house museum had not come to fruition, and an effort by the Township to designate the surrounding Oakcroft neighborhood as a historic district had not succeeded. This tangible link to perhaps Montclair’s most famous resident seemed vulnerable and uncertain. The heartening news is that the new owners, Elyse Moody and Jim Connolly, cherish the home’s Craftsman architecture and its history, and have carefully and sensitively burnished its defining features and made functional changes that are respectfully compatible with its original character. They are the good stewards this significant home deserves.”

Lisanne Renner nominated the home. Craftspeople and contractors who worked on the home include: Sally Ross, David Greene Construction, Peter Willcox, John Cosgrove, Mike McCue and Jimmy Hemmerich.

Residential Award
88 Grove Street

88 Grove St. (GOOGLE STREET VIEW)
88 Grove St. (GOOGLE STREET VIEW)
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Owners Jason and Laura Silver have taken a forlorn and highly altered Queen Anne Style house and returned it to its best self. They’ve removed aluminum siding to reveal whimsically shaped shingles, recreated the historic front porch, returned two-over-two windows and a welcoming entrance, and are in the process of painting it in a polychrome Victorian paint scheme. The work has brought life and pride to a busy intersection in the heart of Montclair,” the commission wrote in the release.

Caroline Kane Levy nominated the home and Gikas Contracting and Wilber’s Painting worked on the house.

Commercial Award
111-113 Grove Street

COURTESY HPC 111-113 Grove Street
111-113 Grove Street (COURTESY HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION)
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“This corner upscale commercial building enhances the neighborhood by using quality materials and simple details for interest to create this contemporary industrial architecture.  Overhangs surround the building using iron and to contrast the brick facade. Simple details add interest to the brick structure. A brick wall, wood fencing and stone walkways frame somewhat mature landscaping. We appreciate design and construction which celebrates Montclair historical neighborhoods,��� the commision wrote.

Linda Cranston nominated the building and architect Paul Sionas designed the renovations.

Preservation Service Award

Montclair History Center: History at Home series

“The Montclair History Center continued to fulfill their mission to preserve local history and share the stories of the people of the township who made it what it is today by offering virtual talks on various aspects of local history. The "History at Home" series offered 22 talks during 2021, educating the community to some well-known and some not-so-well-known topics during afternoon and evening hours twice a month, excluding the summer. The series featured topics such as the architecture of Montclair Heights, architectural styles, local train stations, Bloomfield Avenue, South Mountain Avenue, local cemeteries, iconic houses, the Nolen Plan and images of the past portrayed in a Magic Lantern slide show plus some interesting stories of the local population. All provided the audience with a better understanding of the many important people and architectural treasures centered in Montclair. Speakers included architects, historians. MHC trustees, a Montclair University professor, a curator of the Yogi Berra Museum and the township historian. The Montclair History Center offered an educational and informative outlet for their various audiences to combat the isolation brought on by pandemic restrictions.” the commission wrote.

Commission Chairwoman Kathleen Bennett nominated the History Center.

Residents can tune into the awards on May 12 at 7:30 p.m. via WebEx ( Connection information to join the meeting is available at montclairnjusa.org/hpc) and through the township’s YouTube channel