What, Where, and When in Old Kenilworth

The 27-room James Arthur Mansion remains the largest residence ever constructed in Kenilworth. It once stood at the northeast corner of Newark Ave. and Arthur Ter.
Arthur (1866-1931) came to Kenilworth from Philadelphia in 1899 to erect 100 houses in 100 days for the Baron de Hirsch Fund to house Jewish refugees fleeing persecution in eastern Europe. The refugees hoped to gain employment in new factories being built here.
Arthur later built more homes on the north side of town and then in 1906 began his own enclave of homes on the south side. He called it New Orange Park. There he built or moved 84 homes on the old sections of Newark and Passaic avenues, S. 23rd and S. 25th streets, and Arthur Ter. In 1909 he started his 7,000-square foot mansion that overlooked New Orange Park. In 1910 he, his wife, Mary, and their eight children moved into that majestic residence.
Members of the Arthur family were prominent citizens in the borough for half a century. They served on the fire department, the board of education, the borough council, provided religious leadership, and were dominant in early athletic competitions.
Valentine’s Day, 1929, the Arthurs left for vacation. It was a fateful night. While away fire broke out. Despite heroic efforts by the Kenilworth and Roselle Park fire departments the mansion was completely leveled. Later a large stucco ranch house with a Spanish tile roof was built on that site by son William Arthur. In the 1960s a local developer acquired and then demolished that residence and erected four homes where the mansion once stood. Although the mansion no longer stands, 82 of the 84 houses that made up New Orange Park remain.
Research and old post card provided by Walter E. Boright, Ed. D., historian, and Historic Signs, Inc. Persons with inquiries about this or other aspects of Kenilworth history may contact Dr. Boright at 908-246-5200 or via email at drbori@aol.com.