Great Architects of New York: Henry J. Hardenbergh
F.P. Olcott Building
Address
25 Olcott Avenue
Bernardsville, N.J. 07924
Location
South side of Olcott Avenue between Anderson Hill Road and Childsworth Avenue.
Built
1904-1905
Use
Originally Bernards High School, now administrative offices of the Somerset Hills School District.
AIA Guide
N/A

This granite building was dedicated on Saturday, Sept. 9, 1905, just in time for the new school year. The words "Knowledge is Power" are inscribed above the main entrance. The construction costs of $100,000 were paid by Frederic P. Olcott, a New York banker and local resident and benefactor. According to W. Barry Thomson, the co-author of two books on local architectural history, four large classrooms occupied the first and second floors and a gymnasium and playroom were on the third floor.

Contemporary with the Plaza, though significantly less famous, this building shares similarities with other Hardenbergh works. The gables remind one of the Plaza, while the entrance arch is similar to All Angels' Church's. Note the red roof, reminiscent of Kingfisher Tower.

Hardenbergh lived in Bernardsville for a while, at an estate called Renemede, in the "Mountain" section of town some two to three miles northwest of this building. More information about Renemede is available in New Jersey Country Houses: The Somerset Hills, Vol. 1 by John K. Turpin and W. Barry Thomson, and in Images of America: In the Somerset Hills: The Landed Gentry by William A. Schleicher and Susan J. Winter.


Front, facing Olcott Avenue


The rear faces a large parking lot.


The east wing and its archers' windows.

The eastern facade faces a lawn.