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Pathways to the Future. About Van Vleck House & Gardens. Home to the Van Vleck family for over 120 years, the 5.8 acre home was donated to the Montclair Foundation in 1993 in an effort to preserve the open space and natural beauty of the site for public use and enjoyment.

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about van vleck house gardens
About Van Vleck House & Gardens
  • Home to the Van Vleck family for over 120 years, the 5.8 acre home was donated to the Montclair Foundation in 1993 in an effort to preserve the open space and natural beauty of the site for public use and enjoyment.
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About Van Vleck House & Gardens
  • This tranquil open space provides a natural balance to the increasing urbanization of our town, creating a temporary place of sanctuary to encourage reflection, provide solace, and engender peace.
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About Van Vleck House & Gardens
  • Last year, more than 15,000 people visited Van Vleck House & Gardens to explore the gardens, participate in environmental education and horticultural programs, or attend seasonal festivals, concerts, and nonprofit events.
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About Van Vleck House & Gardens
  • The grounds are open free to the public every day from 9am to 5pm.
  • Hands-on workshops, lectures and educational programs are offered throughout the year for children, adults, seniors and families.
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About Van Vleck House & Gardens
  • Children’s education programs are especially popular as there are currently no other environmental education programs for children in Montclair.
a brief history
A Brief History
  • The Van Vlecks first settled in Montclair in 1872 when construction of the new Greenwood Lake rail line made commuting possible to New York City.
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A Brief History
  • Joseph Van Vleck purchased 5.8 acres of farmland and orchards to build a home for his wife Amanda and their 10 children.
  • Although he planned the original Tudor-style house for “comfort rather than show”, it became widely recognized as one of the town’s grand houses.
  • The original house remained on the property until the mid-1960’s.
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A Brief History
  • The current house, an Italianate villa built in 1916, was designed by Joseph and Amanda Van Vleck’s youngest son, Joseph Van Vleck, Jr.
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A Brief History
  • The last family member to reside here was Howard Van Vleck, who moved to the property with his family in 1939.
  • His interests reached beyond gardening and garden design to include the scientific aspects of horticulture.
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A Brief History
  • The signature feature of the property is the 68-year-old wisteria that Howard planted at the base of two Doric columns on the terrace.
our mission
Our Mission
  • Van Vleck House & Gardens is dedicated to preserving for public enrichment the spirit and beauty of this late-19th and early-20th century house and gardens. 
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About Van Vleck House & Gardens
  • In keeping with the Van Vleck family’s commitment to supporting the community, The Van Vleck House is available for the use of non-profit organizations and houses the offices of The Montclair Foundation, Turrell Fund and Schumann Foundation for New Jersey.
  • Continuing theircommitment to horticultural excellence, the gardens are open to the public for display, education and research.
our mission1
Our Mission
  • In 1995, the Foundation received a $500,000 Green Acres Grant from the State of New Jersey to begin the process of transforming what was once a private residential estate into a small public garden and center for non-profit organizations.
current needs
Current Needs
  • Over the years, storms and natural erosion have taken their toll on the gardens, pathways, access roads and other building structures on the property.
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Current Needs
  • In 2006, through a generous grant from The Helm Family Foundation, the Van Vleck Board of Management commissioned the development of a Master Garden Plan to guide the transformation of the property from a private home into a public garden.
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Pathways to the Future
  • In May 2007, the Van Vleck Board of Management commissioned a planning study to determine the feasibility of a capital campaign to fund Master Plan improvements.
  • The study found substantial interest and potential support for the campaign among community members.
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Pathways to the Future
  • In October 2007, The Montclair Foundation approved the Van Vleck Board of Management’s decision to undertake a campaign to fund implementation of the Master Plan.
current needs2
Current Needs
  • Implementation of the Master Plan will cost approximately $3 million, which includes:
    • Establishment of an Endowed Maintenance Fund to support the perpetual maintenance of the gardens and employment of a Staff Gardener.
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Pathways to the Future
  • To date, the campaign has raised more than $1.1 million in gifts and pledges.
  • Primarily from our Founders and Trustees.
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Pathways to the Future
  • Campaign contributions include:
    • Four lead gifts at the $100,000 - $250,000 level
    • A $125,000 challenge gift from The Montclair Foundation
    • A generous commitment from the Van Vleck Family
    • 100% participation by members of the Van Vleck Board of Management.
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Pathways to the Future
  • As a result of an early contribution to the campaign, we were able to begin renovation of the Tennis Court Perennial Garden earlier this year.
current needs3
Current Needs
  • Improvements include:
    • Horticultural Renovations to the Azalea Walk and Rear Garden, Formal Garden, Woodlands, Wisteria Courtyard & adjacent Borders.
    • New Gardens as a means to extend the garden’s season of interest a Winter Garden will be created as well as a Perennial summer and fall flowering garden.
    • Pedestrian Access Improvements through construction of a new Entry Path, Upper Loop Path and Van Vleck Drive Path, and the renovation of the House Entry and Parking Area.
    • New Classroom and Outdoor Learning Center for education programs for children and adults.
    • New Service Drive & Service Area to ease congestion on pedestrian pathways and provide vehicular access to maintenance, catering and education areas.