The Enclosure Artists' Colony, Nutley, NJ

A walking tour

The Enclosure Artists' Colony

According to the Walking Tour of The Enclosure and Environs on Oct. 28, 1973, conducted and created by the Nutley Historical Society to support restoration of Kingsland Manor:


Mallaby House: 62 EncThe Enclosure Artists Colony, Walking Tour, Nutley, NJ, 1973losure

1840 Owned by the Mallaby family until the 1920s, the George Symonds lived there from 1882 to 1886. Mrs. Symonds was the former Isabelle Vreeland.

Arthur Hoeber House: 55 Enclosure

1891 A plaque over the living room fireplace proclaims "this house was built for Arthur and Mary Hoeber in MDCCCXCI". Mr. Hoeber, while primarily a landscapist, wrote several books on 19th Century painting and was a critic and/or editor for The New York Times, Illustrated American, New York Journal and others.

Abraham and Warren Vreeland House: 51 Enclosure

1836 Abraham, son of John (Vreeland Homestead), built this house on the present site of the First National State Bank. In 1924, while the house was being moved to its present location, it was cut in half to prevent damage to trees along the route. The carved stone front step was moved at the same time.

Earl Stetson-Crawford House: 41 Enclosure

1904 Mr. Stetson-Crawford was an artist who executed murals in the Albany State House, San Francisco and New York Libraries. His wife was a miniature painter.

Albert Sterner House: 40 Enclosure

1872 Originally built by Albert Sterner as a studio, the house over the years has been expanded to its present configuration. Sterner, a painter, etcher and lithographer, illustrated for Life, Scribner's, Harper's, and Century. The studio also served Charles W. Hawthorn, an American portrait and genre painter and founder of the Cape Cod School of Art.

John Hay House: 24 Enclosure

1853 This house was built by John Hay who wrote for Century. Containing five working fireplaces, it is a fine example of Victorian architecture.

Frank Fowler House: 16 Enclosure

1872 For nearly a century this house was home and studio to more artists than any other in The Enclosure. Frank Fowler, who built this first studio in The Enclosure, painted frescoes in the Luxembourg Palace and the Waldorf-Astoria. His wife was also a painter. At the turn of the 19th Century, Frederick Dana Marsh, famous for industrial scenes of laborers at work, and his artist wife took possession of the house. Their two sons, Reginald and James, were also artists. Next came Guy Pene Du Bois, artist, critic and editor. In the 1940s, the next Enclosure artist, Michael Lenson, came to work and live. Muralist, teacher and administrator, Lenson lived there until his death in 1971.

Baron Von Strom House: 5 Enclosure

1888 A Swedish nobleman and architect, Baron Von Strom built this Tudor style house for his own family. He also designed the Rector of Grace Church, the Goodrich home, the Prout home, the Platt house and Herbeling's Drug Store across from the Enclosure.

John Mason House: 19 Calico Lane

1812 Near this spacious stone house was a saw and grist mill and tannery belonging to Captain John Speer. This was later converted to a cotton mill by Mason. At the turn of the 19th Century the house was owned by James R. Hay, a real estate man who has been credited with bringing many artists to the area.

Duncan House: 401 Passaic Avenue

c. 1830 Originally part of Duncan Mills and residence of W. Duncan, this house was later converted into a factory to make rugs, an office of Public Service Gas and Electric and a gift shop. In the 1920s it was reconverted into a private home.

Vreeland Homestead: 226 Chestnut Street

1702 Belonging to the VanGieson family prior to the American Revolution, the house was lost to Captain Abram Speer who sold it to John M. Vreeland in 1783. The Woman's Club of Nutley used the homestead from 1912 to 2012.


Other Nutley artists with local ties, according to Nutley Historical Society research include:

Beda Zel Angle; Estelle Armstrong; William T.L. Armstrong;

Natalie Bain; Clinton Balmer; Frances I. Bennett; Virginia Bennett; Robert S. Bowden; Edward Bridges; David Bryant;

Ann Cole; Harry Chase; Brenetta Stetson-Crawford; Maureen Crost;

Charles J. Daidone; Francis L. Day; Paul Dougherty; June Driscoll;

Arthur J. Elder; William Eville;

Alfred Fanellli; Edward Loyal Field; Vivian Noyes Fikus; Mary Sargant Florence;

Michael Gabriele; Ralph Goddard; Harry Grabowski;

Tom Haas; Hamilton Hamilton; I. B. Hazelton; Alan Hewitt; Edith Hewitt;

Roy Imhoff;

Charles Kendrick; Richard Kramer; David Kwo;

Olimpia Lordi; Tom Lovell; Fernand Lungren;

Anne Steele Marsh; Adam Molarsky; Abram Molarsky; John Moore;

Marie Pupke;

Ruth Sawyer; John Schermerhorn; Carl L. Schmitz; Tacie Sergeant; Edgar Sergeant; Marie Spinning; Frederic Dorr Steele; William A. Stuart;

Roger Townsend;

Emmy Van Deven;

George Waldo; Murliel M. Woodcock;

William Yeager.


In 1873, 19th century land developer James Hay purchased the circa-1812 John Mason house located by Cotton Mill Pond, now known as the "Mudhole" in Memorial Park I. This house, which stands today, is of Federal design and is one of Nutley's most architecturally significant buildings. It is now part of the Enclosure Historic District that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Hay was instrumental in enticing scores of artists, authors and magazine editors to make the Enclosure and its environs their home.

Among the list of notables who lived in Nutley were painters Frank Fowler, Frederic Dorr Steele, Frederick Dana Marsh and his wife, Alice Randall, Albert Sterner, Arthur Hoeber, Earl Stetson-Crawford and his wife, Brenetta and Ferdinand Lungren; authors Frank Stockton, Henry C. Brunner, and editors of such prominent magazines as Puck, Century, Judge and The Railroad Gazette.

Even the famous sharp shooter Annie Oakley took up residence in 1892 in a house on Grant Avenue (since demolished). In 1894, she and Henry C. Butler, the editor of Puck magazine, with many other town residents, volunteered their services to produce the Nutley Amateur Circus on the grounds of the Eaton Stone Circus Headquarters on Kingsland Road to benefit the American Red Cross. Special trains arrived from New York bringing in people to witness the event.

Adapted from History of Nutley


A Brief Oral History


Additional Sources

Enclosure Historic District is a historic district located in Nutley, Essex County, New Jersey, United States. The buildings in the district were built in 1812 and were added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 31, 1974.

Enclosure Historic District - Wikipedia


Living Places - Enclosure Historic District

The History of Nutley, N.J. - The Jersey Tomato Press

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