The Charles Shultz House is representative of the new wealth flowing into Montclair during its railroad era transformation in the late nineteenth century from a predominantly farming community to a prosperous suburb. It is an illustrious example of Victorian taste and lifestyle. Le Brun achieved architectural interest and coloration at Evergreens by utilizing an eclectic mix of building materials.
It was the arrival of the railroad in Montclair in the 1850s that made Montclair much more accessible, initiating interest in the town as a summer home community. As the railroads gradually improved, it became a desired location for main residences. Rail service afforded Montclairions working in urban locales such as Newark, Hoboken, or Jersey City the opportunity to live in a rural setting where land was more readily available, and far less expensive. The railroad also enabled them to reach a city within the generally accepted commuting time of one half-hour.
The Charles Shultz House is grand in scale, with its irregular L-shaped plan measuring roughly seventy feet wide and eighty feet deep. The house incorporates a medley of architectural styles, including Tudor, Craftsman, and Japanese influences, as well as Queen Anne details popularized by the architect Richard Norman Shaw (1831 – 1912) in England during the 1860s and 1870s. Michel Le Brun was also known to have had a copy of Shaw’s Architectural Sketches from the Continent, a High Victorian sourcebook first published in England in 1858. Le Brun drew on some of Shaw’s ideas in his design for Evergreens, incorporating a number of details considered to be characteristically “Shavian,” (i.e., from Richard Shaw), including the bold gables, the tall molded chimneys, the steeply sloping hipped roof, the multi-window bays, the stair towers, and the small-paned leaded glass windows.
While most houses of this period and of this scale have undergone changes and updates, the Shultz House has remained virtually untouched, which is an unusual phenomenon in an upwardly mobile community such as Montclair.