Visitors to the Cranford Community and Recreational Center, located at 220 Walnut Avenue, are greeted with an endless supply of users of all ages, large and small conference rooms, a media room, a TV room, pool tables, a full gym with basketball courts . . . . . “What more could you ask for,” you may think. Well, how about a beautiful, historical, tiled fireplace?
The fireplace in question was made by the Flint Faience & Tile Company, and its intricate tile design depicting a barnyard scene was actually listed in the company’s 1926 catalog. The fireplace, once a centerpiece of activities for children in kindergarten who gathered around it while teachers read aloud, is believed to possibly be the most complete and intact work of its kind currently in existence. And it was almost destroyed.
The fireplace originally stood within the old Roosevelt School in Cranford, which was recently torn down to make way for an athletic field. Thankfully, the Cranford historic preservation board, the Cranford Historical Society, and the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage, had the foresight to check the building and its history before its demolition. The fireplace was found and preserved, thanks in part to a grant from the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund. The actual removal work was done by Larry Mobley Tile Restoration, Preservation and Relocation.
So it is only fitting that such a found treasure be sponsored by a treasure hunt. In an effort to raise money for the fireplace relocation to the center lobby of the Community Center, the Cranford Historic Preservation Advisory Board and the Junior League of Elizabeth-Plainfield are hosting a fundraiser for all to enjoy. On Tuesday, September 3rd, from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM, participants can enjoy sweet treats, including desserts and cheeses, from a number of participating local businesses. There will even be doggie treats at Just 4 Pooches! There will also be face painting, arts and crafts, and a “historical scavenger hunt,” complete with prizes, including a $75 gift certificate to Kilkenny House! Tickets are $10.00 for adults, and $5.00 for children ages 3 – 10, and they are available at www.jlepnj.org, or at local business Cheese…Please, at 26 Eastman St. Tickets will also be sold that day in front of The Jumble Store, at 110 Walnut Avenue.
What a fun family event, that will help out your community. Just think, in the future, whenever you enter the Community Center and see that beautiful, old fireplace in the lobby, you can smile, knowing that you had some small part in getting it there. Make a family memory, and preserve history at the same time.