Double-Diamond Design

Double-Diamond Design

There are two phases of design work: to define a problem and develop a solution. Each phase has a diverge and converge element. Defining problems begins by understanding of space and the awareness that all problems can't be solved. Then it converges on how to best serve customers in a...
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Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and the New Economic Development Audience

Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and the New Economic Development Audience

Today the results from the Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Rural Communities Pilot Program were released. Main Street America has positioned itself well at the center of these important discussions, continuing many years of excellent work with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Several important findings were shared. Acknowledge and address imbalances...
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Kremer Family Garden – 2023

Kremer Family Garden – 2023

Note: the story of how our family garden came to be is here. Below are brief updates from the garden. 2023-Feb-26: We started a new grow operation with approximately 300 seeds of 12 different varieties. These included favorites that we re-plant from seeds collected, year after year. There were also...
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How the Progressive Republican who Named Metuchen, New Jersey, ‘The Brainy Borough’ was Run Out of Town

How the Progressive Republican who Named Metuchen, New Jersey, ‘The Brainy Borough’ was Run Out of Town

Truman Pierson, 1906. For the man who named Metuchen the Brainy Borough, there is a little-known story about how this newspaper reporter, turned utility superintendent, turned postmaster, turned Republican committee member, turned real estate and insurance agent, took on the bosses that led the Republican Party in New Jersey and...
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Gregory Costa Building, 416 Main Street – Metuchen, New Jersey

Gregory Costa Building, 416 Main Street – Metuchen, New Jersey

Gregory Costa The 1915 Census of the State of New Jersey shows Gregory Costa, his wife, two sons, and a maid living at 416 Main Street. They were all born in Italy. Costa’s occupation was confectioner. Costa had paid $2,000 for the lot which was the largest price ever paid...
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Robins Hall, 401 Main Street – Metuchen, New Jersey

Robins Hall, 401 Main Street – Metuchen, New Jersey

In 1873 Nathan Robins built the prominent three-story Robins Hall on Main Street that also bore his name. The first floor was used for business purposes, including the post office that was located here from 1877 to 1885. The second floor served a variety of functions at times as a...
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How We Neglected Public Space in the US, and How to Make it Better

How We Neglected Public Space in the US, and How to Make it Better

Blame Vitruvius. In his treatise De Architectura around 27 BCE, the three elements critical to architecture were utilitas (function), firmitas (stability), and venustas (beauty). While so easy to articulate, in practice this harmony in buildings and places was and is so hard to achieve. Fast forward to Colonial America. Many...
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Americans Return to Main Street – Review of Main Street’s Comeback by Mary Means

Americans Return to Main Street – Review of Main Street’s Comeback by Mary Means

By Isaac D. Kremer To purchase: Means, Mary. Main Street’s Comeback: And How it Can Come Back Again. HammonWood Press. 2020. The story of the revival of historic downtowns across the US is inextricably tied to Mary Means. In her role as Field Director for the National Trust for Historic...
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Noah Brown of Amelia County (VA) and Metuchen (NJ)

Noah Brown of Amelia County (VA) and Metuchen (NJ)

Portraits of Noah Brown and Lelia Anderson The origins of Noah Brown are not entirely clear, though a marriage record from 1888 gives a birthdate of 1860 in Amelia County, Virginia. Of interest in the same record is how his parents were listed as father “Johnson” and mother as “Betsy...
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Metuchen National Bank, 406 Main St – Metuchen, New Jersey

Metuchen National Bank, 406 Main St – Metuchen, New Jersey

Metuchen National Bank Early drawing of Metuchen National Bank building at 406 Main Street, April 1911, likely by Aylin Pierson, architect.[1] One must look to a neighboring building to find the roots of the Metuchen National Bank. After they received their charter in 1905 they opened in the Kellogg Building...
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Voorhees Building, 410 Main St – Metuchen, New Jersey

Voorhees Building, 410 Main St – Metuchen, New Jersey

Old address 537-538 Main St. 1876 Atlas shows nothing on the block between the Pennsylvania Railroad and Union Street (later Hillside Ave) Voorhees Willroy Voorhees is shown living in Metuchen in the 1885 Census with his mother Julia, and siblings Julia and Benjamin.[1] Willroy Voorhees was proprietor of the South...
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Truman Tertius Pierson Building, 397 Main St, Metuchen, New Jersey

Truman Tertius Pierson Building, 397 Main St, Metuchen, New Jersey

Portrait of Truman Tertius Pierson, ca. September 1909.[1] The building at 397 Main Street in Metuchen is tied with one of the most interesting figures in the early 20th century business and political history of Metuchen. Truman T. Pierson (1884-1967) was the oldest of three sons and four daughters of...
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John Noble Pierson & Sons

John Noble Pierson & Sons

John Noble Pierson (1855-1930) was an accomplished terra cotta modeler and architect. He attended the Cooper Institute, the Boston school of Art and the Boston School of Sculpture. Museum of Fine Arts, Copley Square, Boston, Massachusetts. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston was founded in 1870 and initially located...
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Ellis Frazer Ayers House, 428 Main St – Metuchen, New Jersey

Ellis Frazer Ayers House, 428 Main St – Metuchen, New Jersey

Following the death of John Hampton, Sr., a major landowner in this area, a large amount of real estate came to market and for sale May 15th, 1855. Ellis Frazer Ayres bought property fronting Main Street and built his residence between Hillside Ave (then Union Ave) and Middlesex Ave. Highland...
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Danford’s Corner – 478 Main Street, Metuchen, New Jersey

Danford’s Corner – 478 Main Street, Metuchen, New Jersey

Everts & Steward Map, 1876 A grocery store, boarding house and hostelry were once situated on this corner. As far back as 1876 the Everts & Steward map shows a “Gro. Store” on this corner. The wear and tear on this earlier building were evident. A newspaper article from April...
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Krämer Family Farm – Westphalia, Michigan

Krämer Family Farm – Westphalia, Michigan

"Outline Map of Clinton County, Michigan" in Atlas of Clinton County, Michigan, 1873 The arrival of the Krämer family in Michigan followed a common path of immigration starting in Prussia, crossing the ocean, traversing the Erie Canal, and settling in Buffalo. From there families moved westward in search of land...
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How COVID-19 Will Leave Main Street Forever Changed

How COVID-19 Will Leave Main Street Forever Changed

This is the News From New JerseyOut my window a skinny young man in a black hoodie races to the front door of a house across the street, plops down several flimsy plastic bags, taps a few clicks on his phone, then runs off at full speed through the steady...
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Fairmount Park, Section 2 – Metuchen, New Jersey

Fairmount Park, Section 2 – Metuchen, New Jersey

Earlier we recounted the development of Fairmount Park and the key people involved in real estate development in Metuchen, New Jersey, in the early 20th century. Then we gave a tour of the neighborhood looking at the Robinvale neighborhood anchored by a depot that Wright Robins had built for $25,000...
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Robins Park – Metuchen, New Jersey

Robins Park – Metuchen, New Jersey

Earlier we wrote about Wright Robins, the train station he built near Grove Avenue and Henry Street, and his role in the development of the Robinvale neighborhood of Metuchen between Grove Avenue, Woodbridge Avenue, and Jonesdale Avenue. Wright Robins owned the primary house south of Woodbridge Avenue. David Trumbull Marshall...
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Uplands – Metuchen, New Jersey

Uplands – Metuchen, New Jersey

Papers glowingly reported in July 1897 how Mr. and Mrs. Holden Spear “gave a lawn party for the entertainment of their numerous friends. More than 150 guests were present from Metuchen, this city, and other places, and they were charmed with the splendid hospitality extended to them.”[1],[2] Tragedy befell them...
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