When Nutley Historian John Demmer wanted to get some help identifying local homes, he went to the best source possible…social media. He is interested in identifying as many Lambert built houses as possible in Nutley.
Lambert, who was a prominent builder and influential Nutleyite, lived and worked in town. It is believed that there are more than 500 homes and buildings that were designed and built by Lambert and his ‘Nutley Realty company’. “Lambert is sort of an unsung hero in Nutley” Demmer said. “He not only built homes to sell for profit, he actually took an active role in the community’s well being. He served on many boards and was involved in most things related to Nutley’s growth as the ideal home town”.
Lambert for the most part, started developing in Nutley around the early 1890s. His first book ‘ Modern Suburban Architecture’ (1894) has many drawings and photos of completed and proposed houses for Nutley residents. Lambert had a particular fondness for turrets and witch hat roofs in those early days and many of his homes share similar details. He had a real estate office in NY and one here in Nutley at 11 High Street. The train station that was across the street from his office was remodeled by his company during the heyday of Nutley’s first building boom.
“I had always wanted to identify the location of the various homes and buildings in his books and in other publications” Demmer said “Back in the early days houses were not numbered so even if a house was identified in his book, it would only be done so by street name or the name of the home owner”. With the few clues he had Demmer needed help in finding these houses. “ I knew I could not scour every street personally looking for these houses so I turned to Face Book”. Demmer runs a Nutley Town Historian page on the popular website and the followers of that page did not let him down. “Within 24 hours of posting the first set of pictures the Nutley sleuths were on the case and had almost half of them identified” he said. “Not only were they finding houses, they were providing me with owners names, stories and most importantly the house numbers”
Demmer has since been scouring through his collection of photos, post cards and Nutley books to find more images to post. His goal is to identify as many Lambert built home as possible and compile them into a file available to the public. He is also looking to hear from owners of known Lambert houses so that he may include their houses on the list. “Lambert was ignored for many years even though he accomplished so much for the town” Demmer said “Now people are starting to appreciate his architectural designs and his dedication to the people of Nutley. Even the area where his office was located has been designated as ‘Lambert square’ which is a very appropriate tribute to a very special Nutley citizen”.
If you want to view the ongoing “Lambert project” just visit Demmer’s town historian page on Face Book https://www.facebook.com/NutleyHistory/ and if you believe that you have a Lambert home Demmer can be reached via email at TwnHstNut@aol.com