50th Anniversary Celebration
October 6, 2018
The Kellogg Club: A Short History
James Colles (1788-1883), a New Orleans merchant who relocated to New York City for business, married Harriet Augusta Wetmore (1795-1868), a Morristown native, in 1821. They built “The Evergreens”, the only Greek Revival home in Morristown, as their summer estate. It was a large property in the Historic District found through Joseph Lovell, a brother-in-law and Colles’s business partner. A contract was signed on October 14, 1836 with noted architect, Martin E. Thompson, to design a mansion which cost approximately $10,000, and originally located on the west side of Farragut Place; it was completed in 1838. Their youngest son, George Wetmore Colles (1836-1911), also a New York lawyer, inherited the property. In 1885, George filed plans to subdivide the property into lots called “Colles Park” and moved the mansion to its present location. In 1890, he sold the mansion to Charles T. Lewis for $32,000. His widow, Margaret Lewis, later sold it to William and Frances Dell, who renamed it “Dellenord”.
In 1916, the property was purchased by Frederic R. and Cornelia Kellogg. Frederic, a prominent New York attorney, and his wife summered in and later moved to Morristown. When Cornelia died in 1967, she left the mansion and three-acre property to her daughter, Darcy Kellogg Thomas, who sold it to the Kellogg Club. When Mrs. Kellogg died local neighbors were concerned the mansion and grounds would be purchased for development and the house demolished. Interested in preserving the property and fostering a social community, a group of thirty Charter Members incorporated in July 1968 as the Kellogg Club and completed the purchase on October 7, 1968. Each Charter Member paid $1000 to join and yearly dues were $150-$300. The Club’s business and organization was and continues as an entirely volunteer endeavor.
A great part of that initial success was due in part to the Club’s first president, Garrett Hobart (1968-1971) who was a significant force in its establishment; the ballroom was named in his honor. Funding continued to be a cause for concern and in 1971 there was talk of selling the property. Members struggled but held on, but, by 1977, the Club was nearly bankrupt. The Club’s first co-presidents, Randy Schonfeld, Anne Yardley, and Ralph Gray, called a special three-part meeting to discuss a plan of action to save the Club and the crisis was temporarily averted. A $1000 line of bank credit was established, club members going forward would avoid conflicts of interest vis a vis work needed on the mansion and grounds, and the Club issued and sold up to four ownership certificates per member to generate money.
In 1978, “The Evergreens” was listed on the State and National Registers for Historic Preservation for its significant architecture and history. A major victory!
Our Greek Revival Mansion
Many repairs and renovations were made to the mansion over the years, which improved and strengthened its historic character. Highlights include the following:
· The kitchen was renovated in 1983.
· In 1987, the entire house exterior was repainted, and a major patching of the pool was undertaken.
· New storm windows were installed.
· The chimney was sealed.
· The floors were refinished.
· Front porch columns were replaced.
· Significant work on the portico and back stairs was made.
· In 2003, both main floor bathrooms received a minor renovation with updated wallpaper, new paint, shutters and framed mirrors.
· In 2007, a major renovation of the dining room was completed.
· The Hobart ballroom was renovated in 2009 as was a second renovation of the cottage.
· In 2015, the mansion received a full exterior paint job down to the original wood.
· The mansion front steps and walkway, and front sidewalk, were renovated in 2016.
Landscaping & Grounds
Over the years, many improvements were made to the grounds surrounding the mansion on the nearly three-acre property and the landscaping enhanced for our enjoyment. A “Spring Clean-Up Day” was established every year in April to prepare the property for the opening pool season and prepare new plantings. This yearly event is only made possible by members’ huge volunteer efforts. Some highlights include the following:
· In 1981-1982, a major renovation of the cottage was completed, increasing rental income.
· The pool house had its first renovation in 1984-1985.
· In 2009, a second renovation of the cottage was completed.
· The pool house bathrooms were completely renovated in 2012.
· In 2017, the east garden was beautifully re-landscaped, and a bocce court installed.
Membership Events & Activities
During the 1980s, the original owners’ certificates were converted to proprietary certificates, giving those members voting privileges. In the 2000s, these certificates were replaced, and all members had voting rights.
Early social events included such activities as Chuck Wagon breakfasts at pool opening, 4th of July picnics, lobster dinners, square dances, artistic events, lectures, New Year’s Eve parties, and Valentine’s Day festivities.
By the 1990s, the Club moved from financial uncertainty to fiscal stability, matured from just a pool club to a social club, emergency house maintenance to restoration and renovation, neighborhood membership broadened to community-wide, and a landscape gardening plan was developed and implemented.
In anticipation of the Club’s 40th anniversary in 2008, Lois Densky-Wolff and Heather Talarico compiled and organized the Kellogg Club Archives, and an extensive finding aid created.
An added benefit of membership was realized in 2015 when a reciprocal agreement was established with the Morristown Club, permitting our members to attend their private dining room and other events. WIFI was implemented in and around the pool area the same year. The Club automated all administration functions including member services and automated payments in 2016 via Club Express.
Member social activities continue to evolve and include events such as 4th of July Children’s Parade and Picnic, holiday and seasonal cocktail parties, Easter Egg Hunt, Porch and Patio Party, Ladies’ Night, Book Clubs (est. 2000), Kentucky Derby party, New Members cocktail party, and Oktoberfest. An annual Spring Clean-Up was initiated. These events change with the times as members contribute their enthusiastic ideas and volunteer efforts.
We are the Club!
Economic Affairs: Fundraising & Financials
Funds were very tight early on and remained so for many years. The Charter Members made personal loans and took back notes to construct the original 75’ x 25’ main pool, children’s pool and pool house. This was the primary focus before any restoration or long-term maintenance would be made to the mansion or grounds; only emergency repairs were undertaken.
On January 1, 1980, the Club’s bank balance dipped down to $50.27, relying on dues income, rentals, and limited fundraising. Membership numbers increased and fell. Once again, we were in trouble but through greater fundraising activity and a bit of luck, conditions slowly improved.
The first “Victorian House Tour”, a very popular fundraising event of the mansion and historic neighborhood, commenced in 1982 and lasted through 1997. This was followed in 1998 by the “Historic House Tour” up until 2004. “Yuletide Visions” was established between 1983 and 1987 during the holiday season, bringing Christmas cheer to the public. These successful fundraisers brought much needed income to our coffers and began to permit more extensive repairs and renovations to the mansion and grounds.
A big catalyst for these activities was “Mansions in May” held in 1986. An annual designer showcase sponsored by Morristown Memorial Hospital Women’s Association benefiting the hospital, the Club was gifted with its first major interior makeover and new furnishings for the mansion.
A “Black & White Ball”, the first fundraising Gala was held in 1997 to help support this effort and was a rousing success. It began the annual Gala tradition of today. Funds raised through the Galas have been used for substantial improvements to the mansion and grounds over the years. Universal Studio’s crew and stars for its film “One True Thing”, including New Jersey native Meryl Streep, came in 1997 to film on location on Farragut Place. The mansion was rented by the production company for the occasion to act as a storage facility and comfort zone. This significant rental permitted the refurbishment of the mansion’s first floor public areas.
With all the new improvements, membership began to rise again and today the Club usually maintains a waiting list of eager potential members!
Pool & Swim Team
The original 75” x 25” pool, children’s pool, and pool house were constructed and opened in 1969.
The KC Swim Team joined the Jockey Hollow Swim League in 1981.
1997 was a watershed year. Membership had dipped again, and the pool and landscape needed urgent renewal and improvement. Under President Tom Lanihan’s guidance, a yearlong process commenced between members, Board of Managers, and consultants to develop and implement a formal plan to completely renovate the pool and landscape.
This was a major undertaking and would be expensive. The membership voted its strong approval for a membership assessment and bank loan to fund the project, and the 1998 pool season opened with a brand new pool and pool deck.
When Dave May joined the Club in 2004, he enthusiastically volunteered to lead and develop the KC Swim Team through its many years of participation in the Jockey Hollow Swim League, culminating his service with the conclusion of the 2017 season.
We are winners!
Supporting Our Morristown Community
As the Club moved into the 21st century, its mission expanded to include greater outreach to the Morristown community and to support worthy non-profit organizations important to our members, such as Market Street Mission’s Coat Drive and “27 Dresses” (2009) benefiting Jersey Battered Women’s Services. A portion of the Gala’s fundraising efforts have supported Interfaith Food Pantry (2012), Homeless Solutions (2013), Cornerstone (2014), Deirdre’s House (2015), Good Grief (2016), Valerie Fund (2017), and Jersey Battered Women’s Services (2018).
In addition to direct donations, the Club has oftentimes assisted non-profit organizations in the use of the mansion at little or no cost. These beneficiaries have included St. Peter’s Choir, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Girl Scouts of America, Historic Neighborhood Association, Neighborhood House, Hanna Fund, Villa Walsh Academy, New Jersey Cares’ Annual Coat Drive, Project Graduation, Morris Museum, Morristown Garden Club, and Assumption Church.
We are good neighbors!
In 2018, the cornerstones of the Kellogg Club remain:
development of social relationships, and
commitment to the community,
. . . all of which are true to the spirit and legacy of its founders.
The legacy and growth of the Club in both the past and going forward would not be possible without the leadership of the Club’s Presidents and dedication of all our members whose outstanding volunteerism make it a reality. A big thank you!
Special thanks to the 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee members:
Please note that historical information is derived from The Kellogg Club: Its First 35 Years by Nancy Cantwell, et al [Morristown, NJ: Kellogg Club], 2003, and from information gathered in the Kellogg Club Archives.
List of Past Presidents
50th Anniversary Celebration Pictures 2018