Craftsman Farms 1911-2011

By Mark Alan Hewitt, AIA

1905, FallGustav Stickley moves his publishing business from Syracuse to New York City and takes an apartment there; Craftsman showrooms established at 29 West 34th Street.

Homer Davenport, the Hearst newspaper cartoonist, prepares “Red Gables,” his country estate in Morris Plains, N.J., for year round occupancy; Stickley is among the first guests at the compound.

Stickley makes his second trip to California, visits Pasadena and sees the work of Charles and Henry Greene.

The Craftsman magazine changes its editorial direction to feature more articles on home products, decorative arts, architecture, gardening and do-it-yourself crafts.

1908, MarchStickley's account books indicate weekly fares between New York and Morris Plains on the Lackawanna & Western line as he looks to buy property in the area.

1908, JuneStickley pays $900 to Homer Davenport for 30 acres of land adjoining Red Gables in Morris Plains.

1908, July
A second purchase of 58 acres is transacted for $7,000; The Jerseyman reports that Stickley has bought three parcels of land in the area – one from Davenport, one from Condict and 10 acres from “Mary Tuttle and the Garrigus farm.”

1908, SeptemberFirst $500 payment made to realtor Harvey Genung for larger parcels north of Whatnong Mountain and Mount Pleasant Turnpike in Morris Plains; over $10,000 expended by March 1909.

1908, October
First designs for cottages at Craftsman Farms published in The Craftsman; articles follow on the club house and the house Stickley intends to build for himself; Stickley announces his plans for a farm school on the property.

Lumber, farm animals and supplies purchased from local Morristown merchants; account established with Daniel M. Merchant's Morris Plains General Store; Stickley pays Charles White, a New York employee, to manage his new agricultural properties.

1909Craftsman Homes published in New York, selling for $2.00; runs to three editions and sells more than 20,000 copies, according to the magazine.

1909, JulyConstruction of three cottages begins at Craftsman Farms; landscaping and farming enterprises increase.

1910, MarchConstruction of cottages finished; accounts with Voorhees Building Supply and Messlar Plumbing indicate major construction; further parcels of land purchased from Sister of Saint Elizabeth.

1910, AprilAccount books indicate “packing crockery goods to Morris Plains from Syracuse.”

1910, July
Gustav's wife Eda Stickley and daughters Mildred, Hazel, Marion and Ruth move from Syracuse to one of the completed cottages in Morris Plains.

Construction begins on the log house; invoices in account books indicate expenditures of over $3,000 from June 9 to July 31, 1911.

1911, JulyThe Jerseyman reports on a dance at Craftsman Farms attended by “sixty young people” and hosted by the four Stickley daughters then living at the farms.

1911, AugustLog house construction nearing completion; roof and interior finishing completed in the fall.

1911, November
Natalie Curtis' The New Log House at Craftsman Farms published in The Craftsman with first photographs of the Farms; Stickley family in residence on the property.

1915, March
Gustav Stickley forced to declare bankruptcy in New York; papers filed indicate a second mortgage of $50,000 on 24 New Jersey properties.

1917, SeptemberGeorge and Sylvia Weinberg (later known as Farny) purchase the entire 650-acre Craftsman Farms, including building and furnishings, for approximately $100,000. The Jerseyman reports that this is less than half of what Stickley had expended on the property.

By David W. Lowden

1983, October
Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills co-sponsors Stickley Day, a series of events which includes a tour of Craftsman Farms and an exhibition of Stickley family furniture from Craftsman Farms.

1984, Fall
Township nominates Craftsman Farms for listing on the New Jersey State Register of Historic places (listed in May 1985).

1987, January
Developer with contract to purchase Craftsman Farms files application for use variance to allow development of 52 townhouses.

1987, MarchTownship applies for $1.5 million in Green Acres Loan funds to buy Craftsman Farms (awarded in September 1987 and accepted in March 1989).

1988, April
Township, in conjunction with Morris County Trust for Historic Preservation, the New Jersey Historic Trust, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, commissions a feasibility study to determine appropriate uses of Craftsman Farms. The study recommended Township acquisition of Craftsman Farms and management by a nonprofit corporation.

1988, November
Parsippany voters overwhelmingly approve the establishment of an Open Space Trust Fund to fund the purchase of Craftsman Farms.

1989, JanuaryCraftsman Farms Foundation is incorporated.

1989, AprilTownship council authorizes acquisition of Craftsman Farms with Green Acres funds and Open Space Trust Funds.

1989, May
Craftsman Farms is placed on National Register of Historic Places and nominated for National Historic Landmark status (granted December 1990 and plaque presented October 1991).

1989, DecemberTownship takes possession of Craftsman Farms by eminent domain.

1990, AprilFarms opens to visitors with all-day seminars, evening event for Charter Members and Sunday open house.

1991, JuneFoundation and Township sign Operating Agreement.

1991, JulyNew Jersey Historic Trust Announces $100,000 Matching grant for Phase One renovation work, pursuant to the Historic Preservation Bond Program.

1992, NovemberFoundation organizes first major catalogued exhibition, Gustav Stickley – His Craft.

1994, AprilRestoration begins in Phase One project (roof).

1995, JuneNew Jersey Historic Trust announces second $100,000 matching grant for Phase Two renovation work.

1995, FallFoundation organizes second major catalogued exhibition, Innovation and Derivation: The Contribution of L. & J.G. Stickley to the Arts and Crafts Movement.

1996, OctoberNational Trust awards the Foundation, the Township and the New Jersey Historic Trust a National Preservation Honor Award.

1997, OctoberRestoration begins in Phase Two project (handicapped bathroom and interior work).

 1997, WinterCraftsman Farms appears on Antiques Roadshow. Restoration crews remove white paint in Main House.  Foundation installs 18 reproduction lanterns in the living and dining rooms and two exterior lamps, funded by “Adopt a Lantern” campaign. Foundation begins use of the name The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms. 
1999, Fall
Foundation acquires four acres of original Craftsman Farms property, including the dairy, silo, chicken coop, stable and milk house.  The Foundation now manages all but one of the extant original Craftsman Farms buildings.   Foundation successfully bids on the two original dining room corner cabinets, consigned by Barbra Streisand for auction at Christie’s, with funds raised through “I’m in Craftsman Farms’ Corner” campaign for $60,000 and $65,000. 
2000, Spring
Farms opens seasonally five days a week, with expanded hours. The White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a public-private partnership, designate Craftsman Farms as an Official Project of Save America’s Treasures.  Craftsman Farms gets first web presence ( Foundation restores garden retaining wall, dedicated to former Executive Director Nancy Strathearn, and steps in front of Main House and examines grounds to find original pathways. 
2000, September
Foundation registers new web domain 
2001, Spring
 Foundation launches “Adopt a Window” campaign to restore windows in the Main House. Foundation launches annual Craftsman Classic Golf Outing. 
2002, January
 Foundation completes important aspects of Phase IIb restoration, including installation of HVAC system and reinstallation of windows between living room and porch. The Foundation’s Board has its first national member, recognizing its national scope. 
2002, May
 In a special ceremony, Foundation unveils restored Girls’ Bedroom/Paul Fiore Room, the first fully restored room in the Main House. 
2002, September
Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills renews operating agreement and signs 17-year lease for the Main House with Foundation.  2003, NovemberFoundation commences Phase III restoration, consisting of stabilization of wooden elements, including logs, rafters, chinking, windows, doors and structural supports; installation of new electrical systems; and preservation and restoration of first floor decorative finishes, including brown finish to walls and floors, green finish to woodwork and olive green paint to the ceilings. 
2004, January
New Jersey Monthly includes a visit to Craftsman Farms as one of “52 Things Every New Jerseyan Must Do” (in between visiting Grover Cleveland’s birthplace and renting On the Waterfront). 
2007, May
Foundation sells four acres of Craftsman Farms, which it acquired in 1999 to the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, for $1.105 million, funded in part by a $828,750 grant from Morris County.  Township then leases that property to the Foundation along with the existing property (Main House, cottages, annex and office apartment) and extends existing lease and operating agreement until 2031 with Foundation having an option to extend for an additional 25 years.  Net proceeds, after payment of acquisition financing, used for restoration and establishment of an endowment fund.  
2008, Spring
Foundation unveils the refurbished North Cottage. Work commences on adaptive reuse of annex building, built after Stickley left, for use as lecture and activity hall and library. Foundation unveils conceptual plans for visitors’ center.  Boy Scout volunteers establish nature trails.  State chapter of American Institute of Architects lists Craftsman Farms as one of New Jersey’s 150 Best Buildings and Places.  
2008, Fall
Foundation launches Craftsman Farms blog.

Restoration of the master bedroom commences. 
2009, January
Foundation opens Craftsman Farms buildings to visitors year-round.  

2009, March
Master bedroom restoration is complete.

13 August 2020



August 12, 2020


The Museum and Grounds will be CLOSED as we recover from extensive damage caused by Tropical Storm Isaias. We apologize for any inconvenience. 


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