Old House Verona: 44 Afterglow Way

By on August 4, 2016
44 Afterglow Way, early in the 20th century. (Image courtesy Stanton & Co. Realtors.)

44 Afterglow Way, early in the 20th century. (Image courtesy Stanton Realtors.)

Scratch an old house, and you are likely to find a lot of old–and interesting–stories.

Earlier this month, MyVeronaNJ.com published a feature on all the Verona houses built before 1900 that are still standing. Since then, many current and former Verona residents have been telling us the stories of their old houses.

John Quattrocchi, whom many people know as the president of the Verona Board of Education, lives in a fairly old house, and he has become its historian-in-chief.

Quattrocchi is particularly proud of his work modernizing the old house's windows. "Not bad for a desk pencil-pusher, eh?," he says.

Quattrocchi is particularly proud of his work modernizing the old house’s windows. “Not bad for a desk pencil-pusher, eh?,” he says.

The residence at 44 Afterglow Way is tucked on a side street exactly on the Verona/Montclair border. According to Quattrocchi, Daniel Ely acquired the land in 1910 from a Mr. Tierney, who owned much of the land in the Afterglow area. (No, we do not know how that section of Verona got its curious name.) Quattrocchi found the survey map used in that sale at the Hall of Records in Newark and has a framed copy in his home. Ely, a bond financier, had the home built and it was completed in the spring of 1911. Quattrocchi also discovered that Ely’s wife Harriette was a direct descendent of Colonel Israel Shreve, who served under General Washington in the Revolutionary War. (You can read a letter that the general wrote to Col. Shreve here.)

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Alas, the Elys did not live in the house long. Quattrocchi found that it was sold to a Mr. and Mrs. Batten in 1915. Mr. Batten was involved in the breeding of racing greyhounds. The Battens didn’t own it for long either: Mr. and Mrs. Rumsey Scott bought the house in 1919. Quattrocchi found that Mr. Scott held many mechanical patents regarding the elevator industry and his wife, the former Eugenie Jefferson, was the granddaughter of Joseph Jefferson, one of the most prominent stage actors in the late 1800s.

Quattrocchi, whose attention to the details about his house is as minute as his attention to the finances of Verona’s public schools, even discovered that a fly fishing reel that Rumsey Scott gave his future grandfather-in-law made it all the way into the hands of a president. “Joe Jefferson was somehow friends with President Cleveland,” Quattrocchi says, “and he left the reel to the President when he passed.” Quattrocchi unearthed a curious article written by Eugenie Jefferson Scott for a sports magazine in which she detailed the history of the reel and requested that it be left to her son in the President’s will. “Not sure if he gave it back nor how it’s for sale today,” Quattrocchi says.

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After the Scotts, the home changed hands a few more times, before being bought by the Lehmann family in 1993. “One of their children, Caitlin, was a superb athlete on the MKA swim team, leading them to acclaim,” Quattrocchi notes. “Sadly, Caitlin passed at 19 years old after a short and difficult battle with Synovial Cell Sarcoma.”

The Quattrocchis bought the house in 2001 and have so far restored the garage, exterior, roof, kitchen, basement, electrical, plumbing, and about half the windows, installed central air, and restored the small fish pond in the yard. Quattrocchi is particularly proud of his work scraping and modernizing the windows. “Not bad for a desk pencil-pusher, eh?,” he says.

What old stories does your old house hold? Let us know.

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