Fred T, Warner Historic District, 1926-38

Catalpa, Sunset, Beverly, Cedar Lane

Architect and developer Fred T. Warner played a critical role in the planning of Teaneck's central area and contributed much to the character, scale and ambience of the township. His most unique contribution was made in a small subdivision of approximately 40 buildings lying to the northeast of the intersection of Cedar Lane and River Road. Here the architect devised an inventive mixed-use "village" of storybook houses, garden apartments and shops.

The Warner district is really a kind of diminutive recollection of Teaneck's architectural history - in it one finds austere Dutch sandstone buildings, clapboard courtyard apartments, tiny cottages in a myriad of "Colonial" period styles, and small winding streets graced by mature trees. But behind the quaint picture of an old-time village lies a very rational and forward looking plan for the accommodation of needed housing and commercial space in a town soon to be dominated by the automobile. Analogous to the contemporaneous Wright/Stein/Ackerman schemes for greenbelt towns such as nearby Radburn, the Warner subdivision utilizes inventive site planning, landscape development and disciplined design of housing types to create a dense but intimately scaled community. All socioeconomic and demographic units are recognized --modest frame houses for small families, duplexes for maximum land utilization, maisonettes for singles and the elderly, and larger homes for bigger families. The success of his design can be attested by the popularity of the houses and apartments among residents, and the care which is lavished upon them.

Warner purchased the tract from the Phelps estate shortly after it was opened for development, and began building just prior to the stock market crash. When the Depression threatened his venture, the Phelps estate beneficently stepped in to buy back the property and lease it to Warner until he could right himself financially. Building continued for twelve years, with the last plans for garden apartments on Beverly Road published in the Architectural Forum of 1938. Warner was one of nine original members of Teaneck's Planning Board when it was chartered in 1931 to provide a master plan for the township.