It’s time to explore the history of another one of our beautiful neighborhoods…
Roosevelt Manor comprises the area in the northern part of Cranford, bordered by Orange Avenue and Union Avenue in one direction, and by Manor and Riverside Drive in the other direction, in the Orange Avenue School district. Some homes boast a beautiful view of the Rahway River, it lies just behind Memorial Park, and is very close to the Cranford center of town and shopping district.
Created in 1894, Roosevelt Manor was pretty much the first real “development” to pop up in Cranford. It was developed by J. Walter Thompson, who named the development after his brother, Roosevelt. Many of the homes definitely retain the “summer mansion” look and feel that was common for the area at the time. Once the railroad tracks were completed over Newark Bay, connecting this area easily to New York City, Cranford became a place to “summer” for the elite of the big city. As commuting became an actual concept, more city workers began to think about settling here full time, and travelling daily to work by train. In fact, the original brochure advertising the new development homes boasted the fact that the development offered “streets, sidewalks, electricity, and a good NYC commute.” At the time, all of these things were considered luxuries. The brochure also pointed out that it offered “200 of the best building lots on the high ground of Cranford,” although that was before the term “flood zone” was commonplace.
The original development homes were designed by Frank Lent . . . the same designer of the Cranford Casino, the Opera House, and other landmark Cranford buildings. Walter Thompson, a well known advertising executive of the era, helped fund the project, and ultimately moved into one of the homes himself.
Today, Roosevelt Manor remains an upscale neighborhood, very conveniently located to everything Cranford has to offer. While newer homes have certainly cropped up over the years, the neighborhood has a definitive past era feel to it, with many old, stately homes still standing proudly. And the residents of today are still enjoying all of the perks that the original settlers of yesteryear did, as the rest of an entire community has built up around it. You might say that Roosevelt Manor is, in many ways, the cornerstone that the Cranford residential community was built upon and around.