WEST ORANGE, NJ — Last month, USA Today published a list compiled by the magazine and American Institute of Architects of New Jersey’s 25 must-see buildings. Thomas Alva Edison’s West Orange estate, Glenmont, made the cut and was included on this distinguished list.
“It is fitting that America’s greatest inventor of mass-produced technology should reside in a house designed by Henry Hudson Holly, AIA, one of America’s most successful purveyors of mail-order house plans,” USA Today wrote of the Edison estate. “Glenmont is a handsome Queen Anne house in Llewellyn Park, thought to be America’s first planned residential community. Edison purchased the house in 1886 and adapted it for his blended family when he moved his ‘Invention Factory’ to West Orange. Constructed in 1880-1882 for Henry C. Pedder, an executive with the Arnold Constable department stores, Glenmont sat empty and completely furnished following the revelation that Pedder had built it with embezzled funds. Shortly after purchasing the estate, Edison married Mina Miller, the daughter of Lewis Miller, a prominent Methodist businessman and co-founder of the Chautauqua movement. Thereafter the house became associated with Edison’s second family, much to the chagrin of the children from his troubled first marriage. A notorious workaholic, Edison spent relatively little time there even during the last decades of his long life, often falling asleep at his desk at the factory. Glenmont is now part of the Edison National Historic Site operated by the National Park Service.”