About This Site

A Message from Richard Polton

Uncovering the remarkable career of Fred Wesley Wentworth has been on my mind since  2006.

The work has now culminated in the publication of THE LIFE & TIMES OF FRED WESLEY WENTWORTH: THE ARCHITECT WHO SHAPED PATERSON, NJ AND ITS PEOPLE, published by Pine Hill Architectural Press and distributed by Rutgers University Press.

Richard Polton

Richard Polton

I have posted some of my research and writing here in order to develop interest in the project and get feed-back from other interested parties. I encourage you to contact me at repolton@gmail.com if you want to learn more about the project, arrange a presentation or are interested in any of related topics. I even more strongly encourage you to get a copy of the book!

This website features some of the most significant Wentworth designed buildings, but only includes highlights. There are dozens of other significant Wentworth buildings that I am researching.

How I Got Started

The project is the unexpected outcome of an EBay search. I was looking for maps and other memorabilia on Paterson and came upon a book — the Recent Work of Fred Wesley Wentworth.  I had never heard of the book or the author, Fred Wesley Wentworth but bid on the book. I didn’t win. It set me on my way exploring Wentworth, his clients and his times. I have become fascinated with Wentworth and want to share my enthusiasm with you.

In researching this project, I have traveled throughout New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire. It has been a labor of love and I have met numerous fascinating people who have helped me collect the information you see here. I am grateful for their generosity and cooperation.

 

Now for a little bit about me. I am a native of Paterson and went to public schools in the city. My family arrived in Paterson around the same time that Wentworth came to the city.  Wentworth designed many of the buildings that were the setting for my family’s life in Paterson.

I have a passion for architectural history, American urban history and most significantly, Paterson, NJ. After attending Paterson Eastside High School,  I studied American history at Columbia University, architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design and planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In my “day job”, I am a principal at Value Research Group, LLC., a real estate consulting and valuation firm where I specialize in affordable housing, urban redevelopment and housing market analysis.  You can find out more at www.valueresearch.com

I am active in real estate activities and worked as a developer, teacher, appraiser and consultant.

I am proud to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Hamilton Partnership for Paterson, the organization that is working diligently to foster the implementation of the Great Falls National Historical Park and insure that its impact has real benefits to the people of Paterson.

My goals for this project are simple. I hope to:

  • Foster an appreciation of the work of Fred Wesley Wentworth and the architectural tradition that makes Paterson — and New Jersey — a fascinating and challenging place.
  • Inspire efforts at preservation and revitalization
  • Promote additional research on Wentworth, his life and times.
  • Raise the profile of the City of Paterson — a place with an incredible history, a remarkable architectural heritage and an enormous potential to become a cultural destination to learn about the nation’s past and present.