On Saturday, October 5, from 1 to 4 p.m., the Montclair Historical Society will host the grand reopening of the Crane House at 110 Orange Road, Montclair. The house has been closed for two months in preparation for a new look and focus that reflect a broader history of the town, as seen through the eyes of the occupants of the house in its 200+ year history. The history includes the Crane family who were descended from the early English settlers of the region, the African American women and girls who knew this building as the YWCA from 1920 to 1965, and the enslaved people and domestic servants who lived and worked in the house. Admission is free on opening day, and the public is invited to attend.
“The mission of the Montclair Historical Society is to share the stories of the people who have shaped Montclair,” says Jane Eliasof, executive director of the Montclair Historical Society and a Verona resident. “With this new interpretation and our new “Many Voices” tour, we have expanded the focus of the house to tell the stories that are organic to it – the stories of the extended Crane family as well as the girls and women who were part of the YWCA.“
This town landmark now more comprehensively reflects its different periods of occupation, much like each chapter in a history book talks about a different time period. in time.
The work on this project began more than three years ago, with extensive research on the house’s YWCA period, a scholar’s advisory panel, and interviews with women who were active in the YWCA. A documentary titled “A Place to Become: Montclair Through the Eyes of the Glenridge Avenue YWCA (1920-1965),” based on these interviews premiered at the 2014 Montclair Film Festival. Copies of the DVD will be available in the Montclair Historical Society museum shop.
The Crane House and Historic YWCA will be open most Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. through December. Appointments for group and/or private tours may be made by calling 973-744-1796 or sending a note to [email protected] to arrange a mutually convenient time.