Dorothy Greengrove Is a Dedicated Historian

Who Heads Trust to Restore Kingsland Manor

By Mary Dominski,
The Nutley Sun, July 3, 1979

One of Nutley’s most active historians is Dorothy Greengrove, president of the Historic Restoration Trust of Nutley. Her belief, “If you have no past, you have no future,” and, “You’ve got to have it (a past) to compare it with what’s ahead of you,” carries over to her work on the town’s historic mansion, the Kingsland Manor.

Mrs. Greengrove became interested in the Manor when it was first purchased by the town in 1971.

“I always wanted an old house,” Mrs. Greengrove said. “My husband thought that I would see all the problems of an old house and not want one anymore if I worked on the Manor. It didn’t work that way.”

One of 15 citizens who originally decided to help in the restoration of the late 18th century mansion, Mrs. Greengrove’s main goal is to make the house a cultural center in Nutley. Recently named a New Jersey Historic Landmark because of the speakeasy in the basement (bars where bootlegged liquor was sold during the Prohibition era), the house has a number of other interesting features that Mrs. Greengrove wants to utilize.

A 30 by 40 foot ballroom will be used for small musical chamber concerts and display art shows. One room upstairs will be a museum room and the rest of the rooms will continue to be toured by school children and interested persons.

The Manor presently conducts tours and an open house on a monthly basis.

“We’re trying to encourage youth in Nutley to take an interest in the town and its history,” Mrs. Greengrove emphasized. “They’re the ones who are going to be taking over.”

Mrs. Greengrove, who is serving her second term as president of the Trust, explained that the different rooms m the mansion are being restored to different periods so that one can get the flavor of what it was like to live during each particular time. For instance, the kitchen area is being restored to the 1700’s period, while the ballroom is to be furnished ala the late 1800’s.

Kingsland Manor needs $300,000 to be completely restored. Mrs. Greengrove noted that the effort has been completely supported by residents. Funds for the Manor restoration are earned through country fairs, art shows, circuses, cocktail parties and speakeasy parties. It is hoped that large industries in the area will soon consider taking on the restoration of an individual room.

The history enthusiast, who enjoys refinishing furniture, sewing and crafts, said she has been a bit disappointed with the lack of support of the townspeople and town government.

“On the priority list, we’re the last in town.” she said. “The Manor might not service many people, but it’s so important to me, and it’s hard for me to understand why there’s no money for it.

“Nutley is changing,” Mrs. Greengrove continued. “People are different, you can’t get the same kind of volunteer help anymore.”

Mother of four and an active member of the Girl Scouts and Bethany Lutheran Church, Mrs. Greengrove would like to move out of town into an older house in which she could pursue her favorite hobby, restoration.


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