Status: Lost Forever
Despite intense efforts by citizens of Madison and preservation advocates, Sunrise Development Corporation demolished the Carriage house in 2003.
Originally known as Bellwood Stables, the Bayley-Ellard School’s Carriage House is an imposing, U-shaped building located on a 35-acre estate. It was built over a four-year period from 1898 to 1901, the work of well-known architects John M. Carrere and Thomas Hastings, who also designed the New York Public Library.
This brick-and-limestone building, essentially a group of connected pavilions arranged around a central courtyard, was designed according to contemporary standards of efficient stable management. In 1902, its plan was used to illustrate a typical stable in an issue of Architectural Review.
Its owner, the Diocese of Paterson, has poorly maintained the property for thirty years. Since the diocese feels it cannot afford to restore the deteriorating building, it is trying to sell it. When a proposed adaptive reuse failed to receive a necessary zoning variance, the diocese began looking for buyers willing to tear down this exceptionally beautiful building. The current prospective developer wants to raze it to build an assisted-care facility.
The Carriage House is an outstanding reminder of the estates of the Edwardian era. There is widespread agreement that it is worthy of preservation, and appropriate new uses exist. But the owner lacks the will and/or the resources to restore it, and the stakeholders in the community have not found the creativity to zone flexibly and adapt this extraordinary building.
If the threat of demolition were removed, perhaps an imaginative preservation plan could be developed, and grants sought for restoration.