The Arnault/Bianchi House
111 First Street
Wood Ridge, NJ 07075
I recently visited the Arnault/Bianchi House for a historic lecture by an actress who portrayed Amelia Earhart. It was an interesting afternoon of listening to the actor keep in character and describe her life just before her flight around the world. After the show, the actor was available for conversation with the audience and there was a light lunch after the performance. I thought this was a nice touch to end the afternoon.
The second time I visited the house, it was for the 125th Anniversary Celebration and the Society had all sorts of artifacts out on display. They had the history of the schools, fire department and the police department. They had old council pictures as well as pictures of World War II veterans who fought in the war who lived in town.
There was a also a nice display of the Curtis Wright Plant that once stood at the edge of town and its part in the war effort. There were all sorts of pictures and documents on display of the factory when it was in full function.
After walking the three rooms of artifacts, there was a light reception with cookies, tea and coffee.
The History of the Arnault/Bianchi House:
The town of Wood Ridge, NJ, where the Arnault/Bianchi House is located has made a commitment for the house to be used for cultural events and hands on programs such as poetry readings and author visits.
The house was built in the 1880’s by one of Wood Ridge’s founding father’s, French wine merchant, Fridolin Arnault. The Frenchman used to sell his Bordeaux blends on Fifth Avenue in New York City. His relatives, Rudolphe and Annick Proust, traveled from Paris last year to visit the ‘country house’ of their uncle (The Wood Ridge Historical Society).
The second owner was designer Joseph Briggs, Louis Tiffany’s right hand man. Briggs is responsible for the stained-glass window designs at the Church of St. Paul’s and Resurrection in Wood-Ridge. He eventually sold the house to the Bianchi’s . Not much is known about the Bianchi family (The Wood Ridge Historical Society).
The inside of the house.
The backyard features gardens, meticulous landscaping, enough lawn space for a a grand social affair reminiscent of the Great Gatsby, benches, decorative stone and the exterior buildings the outhouse and carriage house. The second and third floors are not open to the public and are used for storage and the home still needs some repairs. In most of the lower floors are period furnishes and art work (The Wood Ridge Historical Society).
Please watch the papers and the town’s website for future events.