Architecture History of the Cliffs at Eagle Rock: 1890 to present
In the early 1890s, Frederick Shrump, a young German immigrant arrived in America and settled in Pleasantdale, New Jersey, now West Orange, joining other tradesmen and stone cutters from Germany. Mr. Shrump purchased a 6.5 acre parcel of land on Eagle Rock Avenue and began to quarry the brown sandstone from the cliffs on the western slope seen here.
Mr. Shrump built a home for his growing family and a two story barn for his oxen and farm animals. The F. W. Shrump and Sons Quarry provided stone for homes and landmarks across New Jersey including St Mark’s Episcopal Church in West Orange which stand today as West Orange’s the oldest standing landmark. The property remained a quarry until 1950 when it was sold to the Lutheran Brethren of Norway.
The Norwegian Lutheran Brethren congregation occupied the property for approximately 50 years, converting the brownstone barn into a chapel for their religious services, and renovating the Shrump residence for their Lutheran minister and staff. In 2001, the property was purchased by the Baptist Home Society for the purpose of building a new facility for the elderly residents from the Baptist Home in Newark and the story of The Cliffs at Eagle Rock began to take shape.
When selecting an architect for this immense project, the Board of Trustees thought it important to find an architect who had both experience in designing a Senior Citizen complex but who also understood the uniqueness of the 6.5 acre site in relationship to these two historic buildings. Dave Danton of Kandelstein Danton Associates in Philadelphia fit the job perfectly.
Mr. Danton chose the Arts and Crafts Style of architecture for the overall design because it fit so harmoniously with the strong bold lines of both the historic Shrump residence and the renovated Brownstone Chapel. The design choice resulted in the construction of a stunning two-story structure containing 75 residential suites and incorporating both the Chapel and Residence in the total setting. The remaining brownstone cliffs still soar majestically above the structure and are visible from all Cliff’s windows facing west.
The Arts and Crafts style is equally evident in the common areas of the interior of The Cliffs, in the decor and furnishings, all carefully chosen to surround residents with warmth, graciousness, comfort, and a stirring sense of the remarkable history upon which it all sits. The Cliffs at Eagle Rock was completed in 2005 and won the “DESIGN AWARD for Senior Environments” in the same year.