St. Johns’ Ave at Park Place
The highest point on the hill at 700 feet above sea level, the air is pure and invigorating, and the thick growth of oak and chestnut trees that tower far above make its shade delightful to the residents.
In the center of St. James’ Park sits the original stone water tower that supplied water to the Mount Tabor summer community. The rubble stone water tank has a 12-sided roof with a cupola. It has a circumference of 90 feet and a height of 28 feet. This image shows the original height of this tank at 12 feet before it was extended in 1885 and again in 1892. Metal girding bands and cross-shaped iron anchor beams support the curved walls.
Water was pumped into the reservoir from springs at the east end of the grounds and then gravity fed to the town. The newer, supplemental water tower on the right was removed in 1987 when the town was connected to the municipal water system.
This cottage facing St. James’ Park at 47 North Place was owned by Richard Grant, Esq., of Jersey City. It was surrounded by a quarter acre of beautifully laid out flowerbeds and a lawn richly set with shrubbery. A wall was later added to the front of the property formed of rich conglomerate pudding stone. In 1881 it was reported in the Mt. Tabor Daily Record, “Improvements about Mr. Richard Grant’s cottage, on St. James’ Park, are of yearly occurrence and grading and landscape gardening are progressing there now. A profusion of flowers, and a rich lawn upon which pea fowl spread their glorious plumage, are among the out door attractions of the place.”
The Grant Cottage greets you at the top of the Golden Stairs, and it is centrally located between Trinity Park and the Tabor Field Club atheltic grounds just over the hill. Mr. Grant led the push to erect the Mount Tabor entrance arch sign and was instrumental in establishing the athletic fields.
August 1881: “A new street has been opened from the main road up to St. James’ Park, to be known as St. John’s Avenue. It is forty feet wide.”
The intersection of St. John’s Avenue and West Park Place offers a street view towards Strowbridge Avenue. Number 50 St. John’s has a beautiful expansive circular porch still a feature today, perfect for viewing parades and entertaining. The property slopes gently down through to Ridgewood Avenue offering fine views over Pleasure Park and the golf course from the rear elevation.
The property of 46 St. John’s Avenue, shown in an early photograph, also extends through to Ridgewood Avenue below offering advantageous views of the golf course to the rear and St. James’ Park to the front. This cottage is a delightful example of the exuberant detail of the millwork and gingerbread of these Carpenter Gothic cottages.