Van Vleck House and Gardnes Wisteria

The Montclair Foundation

The Montclair Foundation


Initiated by George R. Harris, Esq., and funded by Mrs. Katharine Russell Lyman and Mrs. Edmund R. Stearns, The Montclair Foundation was created in April 1979. The founders, who were shortly joined by Mrs. Virginia Sawtelle, supported worthy not-for-profit organizations in the Montclair community. The organization was patterned after other successful community foundations, such as the New York Community Trust. The founders soon joined with other concerned Montclair individuals to form a board of trustees, which has grown in number over the years and whose commitment to the community has remained steadfast.

After his death in 1992, the Foundation was approached by the family of Howard Van Vleck as they tried to determine what to do with his property at 21 Van Vleck Street. Conversations with his family resulted in their gift of his house and gardens to the Foundation. The Foundation Board believed the acquisition of the property was consistent with its mission of enhancing the overall quality of life in Montclair and its environs and would help serve other non-profits by offering them the use of the property. This has proven to be a good decision and the Van Vleck House and Garden (VVH&G) is now well established in the community, attracting visitors and volunteers in unprecedented numbers and offering a lively and respected series of educational programs.

The VVH&G is managed by the Van Vleck Board of Management, which has attracted the support of hundreds of volunteers and donors and established the property as a vital community resource.