Felician University Notes 150th Anniversary
Rutherford, NJ, April 26, 2019—As Felician University notes the 150th anniversary of the Iviswold Castle origins, the University has taken steps to protect the integrity of the iconic Rutherford structure. Earlier this month, Felician retained the services of Heritage Consulting Group regarding two historic preservation easements with the State and Bergen County.
Constructed by New York newspaperman and land-developer Floyd W. Tomkins, the original structure called Hill Home was first occupied by the Tompkins family on April 15, 1869. Eighteen years later, American Book Company President David Brinkerhoff Ivison purchased the three-story stucco house and surrounding properties. He contracted with architect William Henry Miller to redesign and enlarge the structure into a “Gilded Age chateau-style country house,” and named it Iviswold, commonly known as the Castle.
Iviswold Castle changed owners several times until its incorporation into the campus of the then newly-formed Fairleigh Dickinson Junior College in 1942. Felician University purchased
the campus in 1997 and undertook a nearly $12 million renovation of the castle, a majority of which was financed by the University and its donors. The project took more than a decade to complete. The New Jersey Historic Trust and Bergen County each contributed to the renovation and hold historic easements on the property.
“Felician University is a proud steward of Iviswold Castle, so it is fitting that in recognizing this milestone, we highlight the extraordinary effort Felician University has taken to preserve this important and historic architectural structure,” said Maura DeNicola, Interim Vice President of Advancement. “After purchasing the campus in 1997, Felician championed the restoration to return the Castle to its original grandeur. Retaining Heritage Consulting Group ensures that we continue to preserve and take the appropriate next steps to protect Felician University’s investment and the integrity of Iviswold Castle.”
Heritage Consulting Group, a nationally-recognized advisor on federal, state and local historic preservation regulatory processes, was charged by the University to review the New Jersey Historic Trust and the Bergen County easements as they relate to the University’s application to construct a new Wellness and Recreation Center on its Rutherford campus.
The location of the proposed $12 million Wellness and Recreation Center establishes a pedestrian quad that includes Iviswold Castle. The facility will serve Felician students and the Rutherford community with recreational and cultural program opportunities. The placement of the glass entranceway to the new facility was designed to showcase the Castle to reinforce its position as the focal point of the campus.
Nick Kraus, a senior associate with Heritage Consulting Group, noted in his findings that the University’s easement with the New Jersey Historic Trust expires on September 27, 2042. The Bergen County Historic Trust easement agreement, Kraus explained, specifies that any work within the designated easement boundary must be approved before the start of construction. He further described that this approval could come from the New Jersey Historic Trust or the state Department of Environmental Protection’s State Historic Preservation Office. This easement expires on December 31, 2029.
Felician University officials have opened preliminary discussions with the New Jersey Historic Trust to establish an appropriate approval process following a Planning Board decision. The application is scheduled to return to the Rutherford Planning Board for a public hearing on May 16.
Mr. Kraus indicated that he has been impressed by Felician’s dedication to protecting Iviswold Castle, stating, “Felician University is as passionate about protecting Iviswold Castle as Rutherford neighbors and local preservationists. All parties seem to have the best interests of the community at heart. In my experience, when all sides work together, a wonderful balance is created between the preservation of valuable historical structures and the evolving needs of communities.”
About Felician University
Felician University engages over 2,300 undergraduate, graduate, and adult students through programs in Arts & Sciences, Business, Nursing, and Education. Universal Franciscan values of social justice, compassion, and respect for human dignity serve as an inclusive foundation for transforming the lives of tomorrow’s leaders. Felician University’s education is ranked 3rd best return on investment for private colleges in New Jersey 2018 by the PayScale.com College ROI Report and is ranked #1 safest college campus in the state by niche.com.