Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Holdrum Estate

The Holdrum Estate was located at the first turn in River Vale Road about 400 feet north of where the police station now stands. It was an older building than Blakeney's or Kessler's judging by its older architectural style. This place sat on the hill facing south looking toward the present DPW building and firehouse. During it's earlier days, it was facing the same direction, but at that time, overlooking Echo Glen Lake and the Holdrum Ice houses that stood on the south side of the lake. Immediately south of the ice houses was Holdrum's Gas Station and auto repair garage. This building is now the DPW building and the ice houses are long since gone. The main house, which was very visible by anyone traveling north on River Vale Road, had behind it several other buildings. One building years before had been a schoolhouse on Piermont Avenue for the few local youngsters in the township and then was moved and converted into a much needed firehouse for the area. There were other large buildings, also.

I remember the remains of a stable and another building which was a storage barn of some kind. At the end of these buildings was a most fascinating little building that was the workshop of Abe Holdrum, son of Garrett Holdrum*. Abe was about 15 years older than I was, but for many reasons he was surely "our hero." Abe could fix anything that was ever assembled by anyone. Within that little workshop he had constructed the only short wave radio in the area, at least that we knew of. I don't know who or where he ever spoke to, but we could hear the static and crackling from the outside while snooping around. Abe worked in the Holdrum garage for many years and was considered the foremost Packard mechanic in Pascack Valley. I cannot remember ever seeing Abe get mad or lose his temper although an auto mechanic in those days had every right to do either. The Holdrum garage was the very best place in the entire town where a young fellow could spend his idle time.

* full name: Garrett Samuel Milton Holdrum.

Holdrum Estate
This is a picture taken about 1927-28 looking at The Holdrum Estate from it front of our house on Echo Glen Road, looking North. You can see only the West side of the lake and you can see the bridge on River Vale Road. At the extreme right, you can just see the edge of one of the ice houses. To the right of that would be the present DPW building.

Holdrum Estate
The large estate became too much of an upkeep for the owner, Gary Holdrum, and was torn down and the property sold, probably sometime in the mid-40's. They didn't have garage sales in those days so they auctioned off all the excess furnishings as was the usual practice at that time. I remember the auction and even then I felt kinda sad knowing that this indeed was the end of an era. I've recently noticed that the big, old locust trees there were at the end of the footpath leading up to the big house are still standing in the same cluster that they were in 1935, and even before that.

There were several other large, well-cared for homes in town, but the three mentioned were the most impressive to me.


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