Three generations of Van Vlecks, a family of architects, built this beautifully proportioned suburban Italianate villa in Montclair, NJ, that features stunning collections of rhododendrons, azaleas, and other broad-leaved evergreens. We assisted the Montclair Foundation, current owners of Van Vleck House & Gardens, in the rehabilitation and management of the garden to continue the Van Vleck family’s commitment to community, education, and horticultural excellence.
1884: Van Vleck House & Gardens is a private estate for the Van Vleck family through three generations.
1916: The main house, recalling the classic architectural style of a Mediterranean villa, is designed and built by Joseph Van Vleck, Jr.
1939: Howard Van Vleck plants a Chinese wisteria that still exists and Howard Van Vleck begins work on hybrids of rhododendrons, several of which are registered and named for members of the Van Vleck family.
1993: Van Vleck heirs donate their home and gardens to the Montclair Foundation. The house is renovated and becomes a self-supporting, non-profit center.
1997: Established as preservation garden of the Conservancy.
1999: The Friends of Van Vleck Gardens is formed to help support the general operating cost of maintaining the gardens
2003: Sonia Uyterhoeven, a Garden Conservancy Marco Polo Stufano Fellow, renovates the formal gardens and documents the history of the gardens.
2006: A violent storm destroys the northeast corner of the garden, including historic rhododendrons, other shrubs and smaller plants, and a 100-year old tree.
2008: Restoration of the northeast corner is completed. A master plan for the gardens outlines the creation of new garden spaces for the property
2013: 5-year capital campaign successfully completed.