Charles Solomon Shultz (1839-1924), a President of the Hoboken Bank for Savings, and his wife Lucy Murrell Budd (1844-1905), bought a two and a half acre parcel on the southwest comer of Claremont and North Mountain Avenues on March 1, 1894. Purchased from lawyer Starr J. Murphy for $11,000, Shultz commissioned his good friend and New York architect Michel Moracin Le Brun (1856-1913) to build a mansion on this property.
This three-story Victorian residence was completed in 1896, and was inhabited by Charles, Lucy, and their three children. Also known as the “Evergreens,” the house got its nickname from the numerous evergreen trees existing around the property’s picturesque landscape. Its forty-foot height gives the house a commanding presence on the hill, and provides for a magnificent, unobstructed view of New York City.
The Evergreens was designed by one of New York City’s premier architectural firms, Napoleon Le Brun & Sons. The firm was known principally for its designs of Catholic churches, firehouses for the New York Fire Department, and commercial buildings. The twenty-one room house is one of the few examples of residential work on this scale by architect Michel Le Brun. It was Michel who built the still-standing Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower in New York City, which was the tallest building in America from 1909 until 1913. One of the reasons Le Brun received the commission for designing the Evergreens was because of his successful work with Shultz in designing the Hoboken Bank for Savings in 1890. While working on the design and construction of Evergreens, Le Brun’s heart was won over. He and his wife Maria Olivia moved to a house just one block away from the Evergreens at 8 South Mountain Avenue in 1896.
Charles Shultz’s wife Lucy passed away in 1905. Their children Emily, Walter and Clifford were given equal shares of the property at the time of their father’s death in 1924. On December 31, 1926, Walter and his wife Anna conveyed their one-third interest in the property to Clifford and Emily. In 1931, Clifford then transferred his one-half share in the property to his wife, Florence O’Neill Shultz. In 1952, Emily Budd Shultz transferred her one-half share in the property to Marian (Molly) Shultz. Molly therefore acquired the full share of the property at the time of her mother Florence’s death in 1962.
The Charles Shultz House remained in the family until it was bequeathed to The Montclair Historical Society in 1997 by Molly Shultz, who was also an active member. Having been home to three successive generations of the Shultz family, the house is a near perfect time capsule, representing an accurate record of late nineteenth century Montclairion society. Unlike other examples of late nineteenth century residences in Montclair, Evergreens retains nearly all of its original architectural detail, furnishings, and mechanical systems. Few alterations or additions have been made. In 1979, Evergreens was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.