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Four Centuries

Each year in the autumn, Twin Maples opens its doors to the public as a featured site on Union County's Four Centuries in a Weekend.

Scan the QR code to take a self-guided tour

Welcome to Twin Maples

Twin Maples was built in 1908 by well-known Montclair architect Alfred Norris. It is listed on both the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.

Twin Maples is a three-story Colonial Revival estate house and a well-preserved example of early 20th century domestic architecture in Summit. The front facade has a full-height portico supported by Ionic columns, in a Neoclassical style similar to our nation’s White House.

 

In 1949, the house was purchased by The Fortnightly Club of Summit and serves as their headquarters. In 2008, Twin Maples was completely renovated for the Centennial Show House. A recent Eagle Scout project restored the namesake “Twin Maples” by planting two new maple trees to replace the ones that are no longer on the property.

Tour of Twin Maples

First Floor

Entry Hall. The large size and lavish decorative details of the main hall show how important it was to have an impressive public entrance in homes of this period. This was a room to receive guests, some of whom would not go beyond to the more private living spaces in the home.

 

The Ballroom is to the left of the entry hall. This main meeting room was originally three separate rooms: a library, a dining room and an open porch. The large elliptical bay window and built-in closets from the original dining room remain today. The Steinway piano dates back to 1907.

 

The Butler’s Pantry connects the original dining room (now the ballroom) to the kitchen.

 

Ladies’ Secret Bath. Our “Harry Potter” room under the stairs was originally a coat closet and converted to a powder room around 1918 when the house was bought by the Collins family.

 

The Kitchen was originally two separate rooms: a smaller kitchen and the maids’ dining room. A wall was removed between the two rooms and an opening was created to the main living area. The servants’ stair originally connected the maids’ dining room to the floors above and below.

 

Toward the rear of the house, the Mudroom and Powder Room enclose what was originally the servants’ open porch.

 

The Dining Room was originally a Drawing Room where guests were received and entertained. The entry is marked by Ionic pilasters and free-standing Ionic columns. The most prominent feature is a full-height fireplace surround that echoes the design of the door surrounds with Ionic pilasters. The chandelier was donated by a former Fortnightly Club president.

 

The Sun Porch was added prior to 1914 when the house was pictured in a brochure of “Summit’s Distinguished Houses”. The tile floor and glass doorways are from the pre-1914 design.

 

Proceed up the Main Staircase. This is a two-story half-turned staircase that leads to a landing with a large leaded glass window ensemble topped by an elliptical fanlight. The glazed door once provided access to a balcony overlooking the rear yard, which has since been removed.

On the wall is a large oil painting of “Anthony Taking Leave of Cleopatra”, done around 1850 by a painter of the French Academy of Art. This painting was donated to The Fortnightly Club by a Summit resident in memory of his wife.

 

The Gentleman’s Powder Room which is located off the staircase landing, steps up a small lavatory.

 

Second Floor

Hallway and Sitting Area. The spaciousness, highly decorative windows and banister indicate that this was a semi-public area that was used as a gathering space. A glazed door flanked by two tall windows opens to a balcony at the front of the house.

 

The first room at the top of the staircase is the Gentlemen’s Sitting Room. It has a white tile fireplace with a carved wood surround that is decorated with a garland of flowers. These small bedroom fireplaces would not have been used to burn wood, but would have contained stoves for heat.

 

The Bride’s Powder Room connects the two bedrooms and retains its original mirror.

 

The Bride’s Room has a yellow tiled fireplace with a wood surround embellished with thin Ionic colonettes supporting a simple mantle.

 

Across the sitting area is the Board Room. This was originally the master bedroom and has an elaborate fireplace with a carved surround. The mantel has a fan flanked by garlands and is supported by Ionic columns.

 

The Master Bathroom originally had a large bathtub which was replaced by a glass shower.

Through the master bathroom is the Quiet Hide-Away Room. This a very small room that was originally used either as a dressing room, a nursery, a sick room, or a room where a servant slept in case someone in the family was ill on the second floor and needed constant attention.

 

The Back Staircase leading to the third floor and kitchen downstairs was originally used for servant access. The third floor housed the servants’ living quarters and is now used for storage. No visitors are permitted above the second floor due to fire safety restrictions. Please do not enter the back staircase.

 

Lower Level Rooms

Proceed down the main staircase and into the kitchen to the servants' stairway. Carefully proceed down the servant's stairs to the lower level. 

Wine Tasting Room, Movie Viewing Room, Powder Room, Laundry Space were renovated for the Centennial Show House. The cellar originally housed a boiler room and coal storage.

 

Teen Space is occupied by Area Baby Center, a nonprofit organization that provides diapers and baby supplies to disadvantaged families in the Summit community.

 

Carriage House and Grounds

Proceed upstairs to the kitchen and exit through the mudroom to the outdoor grounds. The Carriage House originally held horse-drawn carriages in the left side bay and horses in the right side bay. Above was a hay loft which has been converted into a one bedroom apartment. Please do not enter the carriage house. Feel free to enjoy the gardens on the grounds.

To learn more about the history and architectural significance of Twin Maples, please see the About page

Thank you for visiting!