Open doors and open arms await Cadwalader Heights home tour guests

Historic Restoration: This home on Whittier Avenue in Trenton has its own Instagram account to show off the ongoing renovations. The 1923 Colonial Revival is one of 11 houses at the Cadwalader Heights Historic House and Garden Tour on Sept. 23 from 12 to 5 p.m.

Written by Wendy Greenberg

Just northwest of downtown Trenton is the neighborhood designed by the preeminent designer of New York’s Central Park, the Biltmore Estates in Asheville, South Carolina, and the National Mall in Washington, D.C.: Frederick Law Olmsted.

For years, landscape and history enthusiasts have enjoyed a tour of Cadwallader Heights — the only neighborhood in New Jersey designed by the famous landscape architect — but the biennial tradition was disrupted by the pandemic.

Now, with the tagline “Welcome Back to the Neighborhood,” the first Cadwalader Heights Historic Home and Garden Tour since 2019 is planned for Saturday, September 23 from 12-5 p.m., and proceeds will support HomeWorks Trenton, a non-profit organization that operates free housing After School Program for marginalized girls in high school. The program complements public schools with the goal of developing community leaders.

“It’s an opportunity to say, ‘Welcome back,'” said Erika Knudson, co-chair of the tour with neighbor Tracy Patterson. “This is something we love to do, as it showcases the amazing vibrancy of the neighborhood.”

In fact, those opening their homes this year praise the neighborhood’s wonderful architectural details and its “open arms and open doors during the tour,” Knudson said.

Of the 75 homes, a sample of 11 are on this year’s tour. One such home is the Parkside Avenue Colonial Revival home built in 1916 for Mark and Helen Burley Solon, a Trenton businesswoman, volunteer, and civic leader. The house, which was renovated in 2020, features a 15-foot by 4-foot mural of Cadwalader Park, designed by the owner, showing the park at an imagined peak.

The house next door was designed in 1916 by Trenton’s premier architect, William A. Clement to Trenton dentist Dr. Frederick Collier and his wife, Edith. Features a beamed ceiling in the living room, floor and ceiling moldings, stained doors with egg-shaped glass door handles, Palladian transom windows, an original red slate roof, and a thoughtfully upgraded mid-century St. Charles New York kitchen.

This 1923 Colonial Revival house on Whittier Avenue has its own Instagram account
(@thewhittiercentennial), Which dates its restoration, and appears as a work in progress. The owners kept the Trenton tiles on the basement fireplace and in the foyer, as well as other details throughout the house.

The Knudson and Patterson homes are also on the tour. The Renaissance Patterson House in Belmont, built in 1911, was home to Mary Roebling, the first woman to take charge of a major American bank.

The home Knudson shares with her husband on Bellevue Avenue — with a grapevine approach — has what she describes as “an eclectic and colorful interior,” including “a bookcase that turns the library into a talking space,” school auditorium chairs from Brown County, industrial and a picture gallery. Dogs.

“We were looking for a house that had a large yard for our dogs, with indoor space to express creativity,” Knudson says. “What we found was a neighborhood full of friends in a city we love.”

Cadwalader Heights was home to giants of Trenton’s industries, government, educational and fraternal organizations. One of the area’s first residents was Philadelphia physician Thomas Cadwallader, who was elected as the city’s first mayor in 1746. His son, Lambert Cadwallader, served as a delegate to the Continental Congress (1784-1787) and two terms in the House of Representatives. (1789-91; 1793-95) when the nation’s capital was in Philadelphia.

It was his descendants who hired Edmund Hale to develop the property, and it was Hale who championed the park and collaborated with Olmsted.

More about the history of the neighborhood is in a book available for purchase during the tour, Cadwalader Heights, Olmsted history aliveBy Glenn R. Modica for $20.

Cadwalader heights email for details.

The tour is an opportunity to see this history up close. “If you haven’t toured the house, you will be surprised and delighted to find the work of the Olmsted firm in Trenton, and see the architectural diversity, the diversity of residents and occupations,” Knudson said. “There is a real community spirit.”

The tour also includes the City of Trenton Museum at Ellarslie, an Italianate villa built in 1848 and acquired by the City of Trenton. The museum includes the “Ellarslie Open 40” exhibition, which includes 150 pieces of art by 109 artists.

Tickets for the tour are $20 per person in advance on the Cadwalader Heights Neighborhood Association website at, or can be purchased on the day of the tour for $25 per person at the Ellarslie Rec Center, located in the heart of Cadwalader Park. GPS coordinates are 299 Parkside Street, Trenton.

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