(As Remembered by LUCY HUGER)
Not many groups are privileged to hear the daughter of their Acres' first occupants tell of her early childhood on their land and see old black and white photos taken fifty or sixty years ago of her home that still stands on lot #19. We could and we did. Here in glimpses is "Lucy's Legend".
The first family to live in Bellerive Acres (then Glen Ridge) was that of Mr. and Mrs. John Fursten berg. They bought a brand new three story stucco home from Mr. Louis Nicolhaus (the latter's wife said it was too big). Lucy and her family moved there in the fall of 1918. The only other home on the grounds belonged to the caretaker (lot #45) Mr. Karl Krupp, a member of a very famous German family.
The road up to the new home was a country lane. Sheep grazed on the pasture land to the right. This road circled around the entrance by a little roofed well in the center island then down into the two car garage which is still in use today. A large open porch on the east side of the home faced Bellerive Country Club. Here the family watched fireworks on the Fourth of July, and watched caddies walking to Carson Road on their way home.
It was a good life. A gardener took care of the formal grounds that covered lots #19 and #17. A chauffeur took the children to City House to school. The maids and a cook helped Mrs. Furstenberg give elegant lawn parties. After school the children played with the many animals they owned, and wandered the woods; sometimes losing cousins they didn't particularly like just in fun and returning home without them. Past the big house, on lots #23 and #28 were vineyards. Frankel's and Brockmeyer's hills were covered with white and blue grapes. Mr. Furstenberg loved apple trees and planted orchards everywhere. Digging for oil was popular, so a well was drilled on lot #43 (lucky for Mike and Hugh it was a dry hole!). It was a happy, rural life.
In 1923 Mr. Furstenberg decided to subdivide the grounds. In doing this he designated the 21 acres around the edge as a bird sanctuary, never to be changed. We enjoy his farsightedness today. He called his subdivision "Bellerive Acres" after the club next door, which in turn was named for Captain Louis Ange de Bellerive, a French Commandant. The first homes to be built for speculation were #10 Reed's, #14 Edmiston's, and #30 Tierney's.
The Furstenbergs moved to Liberal, Kansas about 1928 but Lucy moved back to the Acres in 1944 as Mrs. Huger into #15. She remembers prizewinning dahlias grown by the Glass family in #4, and her husband helping put up the fence between the Acres and Bellerive Country Club in the late 40's.
The Hugers wanted more acreage so they moved to St. Albans, but Lucy remembered wistfully: "The area had such a lovely rural atmosphere then and it still does now."