ENGLEWOOD — Once destined for a wrecking ball, one of the oldest houses in the city will be relocated 2 miles across town to be used as a center for historical and environmental studies.
"It's very exciting to be able to save a piece of Englewood's past," said Irmari Nacht, co-president of the Englewood Historical Society. "Once gone, it can never be replaced. It's so important to preserve our past of irreplaceable buildings for future generations."
The Englewood Historical Society and a local synagogue have been working on a plan since 2019 to disassemble the historic Taylor Bliss house, which is at the corner of Engle Street and Hudson Avenue, and move it.
Last week, the City Council approved a resolution to move the home.
The house will be reassembled on the property of Eleanor Harvey, the founder of the Englewood Historical Society, who died in 2007. Harvey bequeathed her entire property at 500 Liberty Road to be used as a passive park.
Since no city funds will be associated with the move, the Englewood Historical Society is working to raise funds to relocate the home and renovate it. Nacht said she hopes the move will begin in late fall.
Once moved, the building will be used as a multi-community facility for historical and environmental studies, Nacht said. She envisions it serving as "a meeting, exhibition, performance and archival space for all of the diverse community." The building will also feature photos, documents, ephemera, books, maps and other rare materials of Englewood’s past.
"As a visual reminder of Englewood’s historic heritage, we hope that in the future the Taylor Bliss Center will become a showplace and destination for Englewood, Bergen County and beyond," Nacht said.
History of the home
The Taylor Bliss house, which has three stories and a fourth-floor tower, is one of the few remaining examples of a Second Empire Victorian home in the county, Nacht said.
Built in 1876, the Taylor Bliss home has housed many important figures from Englewood's history. It was once the home of Delos Bliss, a vice president at Palisade Trust and Guaranty, which is now known as Bank of America. Ethel Bliss, Delos' daughter, was a national tennis tournament champion in 1906 and was married to Mayor Dan Fellows Platt.
The house was renovated in the 1980s and purchased by the Community Synagogue of Tenafly and Englewood, also known as Kehilat Kesher, in 2003. It was used for services when the congregation numbered about 50 families, but membership grew over the years. The congregation built a larger building behind the Bliss house in 2016.
The fate of the historic building looked bleak last year: The synagogue had received permission from the Englewood Planning Board to demolish the house, Nacht said.
The historical society is still working on getting a full estimate of the cost to move the home, but for now it is looking to raise $320,000 for the first phase of the project.
In 2019, Nacht estimated that it would cost more than $1 million to restore the home. That estimate did not include moving it.
Those looking to support the Taylor Bliss Center Fund can send a check to Englewood Historical Society, P.O. Box 8136, Englewood, NJ 07631. For more information, Nacht can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephanie Noda is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Historic Taylor Bliss home in Englewood NJ will be saved