On summer days, she’d wait with friends and her brother, Benjamin Jones Jr., for a treat from the ice man on the back porch. Like the milkman, he’d climb down from his horse and wagon to deliver a block of coolness.
“All the kids would gather there, and he‘d chip a little ice and let us all have a chip,” Crandall said.
In front of the house at 580 Prospect Street, they roller skated and played roller hockey. Walking to and from nearby Tuscan Elementary School wasn’t a problem, either. Nobody ever bothered them when they left the Queen Anne style home, a Victorian era design known for its circular towers, steep roofs, porches and decorative gables.
“It gave me a sense of security, but it didn’t’ make me feel any better than anybody else,” Crandall said.
Now 95 and residing in New Providence, Crandall moved out last year after her husband, Charles, to whom she had been married 70 years, died in 2017. She returned last weekend to the home where she and Charles raised four children when realtor Robert Northfield held an open house.
The home’s sale has generated a lot of intrigue, and profiles on local news sites like The Village Green in Maplewood.
More than 1,000 curious visitors were there, too. They flocked to get a peek at the renovations and the grand structure that had never been on the market. Crandall’s family had been the only owner since it was built by her father, Benjamin F. Jones, between 1897 and 1899.
“I was thrilled with what they did,” Crandall said of the renovations.
Northfield said JTC Enterprises LLC, a developer in Pottstown, restored the home after Crandall sold it last year. The sale price now is $1.3 million.
“Never in 21 years in real estate sales have I seen such a turnout,” Northfield said. “It’s an exceptional home.”
With an exceptional history from the family that lived there.
Crandall’s father, a former judge and state Assembly speaker, built the six-bedroom home after getting into real estate to develop sections of Maplewood.
“In the early 20th century there were many men who were successful and they would often put money into development of their community,” said Maplewood Township historian Susan Newberry. “They wanted to help shape the community. They were buying land, laying out streets and dividing up lots.”
“They didn’t want to see a pregnant doctor walking around the school,” she said.
After her first child with Charles, whom she met in medical school, Crandall returned and graduated in 1950. Her husband, a World War II veteran who also became a doctor, graduated the same year.
“They were a power couple and supported each other,” Newberry said. Her husband, a preservationist and devout Boy Scout volunteer, often attended Maplewood township meetings to speak about town issues.
“The Crandalls always worked for a cause,” Newberry said.
Crandall is proud she lobbied for the Maplewood pool to be built and that she was on the committee that established the South Mountain YMCA.
“I always understood that a lot had been given to me and it was up to me to give a lot,” said Crandall, who worked in the public and private sector.
Among her many positions, Crandall was the physician for the South Orange-Maplewood School system and medical director at Prudential Insurance Company and chief medical director for the American International Group.
Crandall was too busy to ever contemplate leaving home. As the family grew, her mother became the babysitter. Her husband set up a practice in the house like other homes in the neighborhood. He was also on the medical staffs of the Hospital Center at Orange, East Orange General Hospital and St. Barnabas Medical Center,
“Life sort of rolled along,” she said.
There were good times. And, there were bad, times, too, when family members died in the home.
“My mother, husband, my mother’s sister, my father’s sisters,” Crandall said. “I put all of these people to rest.”
Living there meant a lot, and Crandall is amazed to be here to tell the home’s story. Although her eyesight is limited, Crandall is healthy, swimming 20 laps a day in the retirement community where she resides.
“The house is as good as the crowd in it,” she said
There was a good group of people at the open house that day, and Crandall left with a positive vibe about them.
“You know,” she said. “It still feels like good old Maplewood.”