Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hidden Plainfield: June 19 property ID

The Gilbreths are listed at 711 Ravine Road in the 1912 City Directory.

Hey! 60% of those taking a crack at yesterday's Hidden Plainfield got it right: 711 Ravine Road.

Awright, so there were only five checking in -- after all, it WAS Father's Day, and folks had important stuff to do (I hope).

As to whether I was right or wrong about the Gilbreths living there, all I can say is I checked the City Directories at the Plainfield Public Library and they are listed at this address in the 1912 directory.

The biographical information for Frank Jr. says he was born in Plainfield in 1911, the fifth child and first boy of Frank Sr. and Lillian. The Gilbreths appear in the City Directory for 1912; by 1913, they are gone.

The Gilbreths seem to have been quite peripatetic, at least until they moved to Montclair around 1922. Though I can find no birth place for the oldest child Anne, born in 1905; Mary Elizabeth, the second child (who died aged 5 from diphtheria), was born in San Francisco County, California; Ernestine, the third child, was born in New York City in 1908.

Plainfield seems to have been a temporary perch for this still-growing family.

A Realtor® who lives in the area tells me that the family who lived in the house at 711 Ravine for years had a framed, signed letter from one of the Gilbreth daughters attesting to their having lived in the house.

Where shall we go next week?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

711 Ravine Road
Plainfield, N.J.

I lived there as a child in the late fourties and early fifties. There were seven children in our family.

The front entry had two foyers to either side and a fireplace in the back. One exit to the left rear of the hall was an entry to the dining room with its own fireplace. The dining room was then connected an alcove with a sink and then to the kitchen. To the back right of the hallway was a stairs and a short corridor under the stairs to the kitchen.

The stairs to the second floor ascended from the front hallway to a landing and was joined from the back stairs from the kitchen to the same landing.

The second floor had bedrooms off the hallway and a bathroom. My room was on the third floor which had four rooms and a bathroom. My bed was the top bunk of a bunk bed where I could reach up and touch the rafters.

The driveway from the front of the house wound around to the detached garage in the back left of the property. In the backyard next to the back fence we dug an underground fort and covered it with boards.

My brother Dave forwarded this blog.

Jim Reynolds

Craig Tomkinson said...

This house was built by William Chamberlain in 1907. The Gilbreth family only owned it about a year, c. 1912 then sold it to my grandfather, Charles Cookman Tomkinson, who lived there with my grandmother, Mary, until 1954 when he passed away. My grandmother had died in 1948.The house then passed to the Reynolds family which owned it from 1954 to 1961 when it was purchased by Gerome Mendel. Mendel passed away in 2009 and at this point I don't know if the house is still in the Mendel family or was sold.