Not Your Grandfather’s Mill House
The new houses springing up in Cliffside may be shaped like the ones of yesteryear, but that’s where the similarity ends. Old cliffside houses didn’t have bricked in foundations, sheet rock walls, insulation, central air and heating, adequate lighting, and they weren’t built of modern, low-maintenance materials that last a lifetime.
Some of the new homes mix the old with the new. In the first of the new houses, owned by Marc and Janice Swing, the floors are maple planks from the old mill and one corner of the foundation contains a section of the old mill’s original bricks.
There were a few homes with central heating in years gone by. Awhile back Sue Brooks Frye bought the lot at 25 Reservoir Street (on the corner of E. 5th Avenue and Reservoir) where she and her husband Joe lived in the late ‘60s. It was the home of the Grover Haynes family in the ‘30s and ‘40s, and later of the Beardens. Cecil Houser contracted to build her a new home there. When his crew was digging to pour the footings for her new home, they hit a large metal object. Wondering what it could be, Cecil called Sue, who told him it must be the oil-fired furnace in the basement. They dug up the big old hunk of metal and hauled it away.
Sue, a widow since Joe passed away in 2000, sold off her property on Island Ford Road (it was “too much to keep up”) and moved back to the site in town because “it’s the prettiest lot in Cliffside.”