Oswald J. Nitschke House, NJ, is an example of the modernist style. It is located in Kenilworth, NJ, on 8 acres that were once owned by John Wiley Price. The house was built in 2014 and has 5 bedrooms, 5 baths, a 1/2 bath, living/dining room, media room, sunken conversation area with wet bar, kitchen with breakfast nook, laundry room, bar area with walk-in cooler, mudroom/laundry room with utility sink and folding table. There are hardwood floors throughout the first floor of the house. The second floor has carpeting that is much thicker than that of the first floor for sound insulation purposes. Also on the second floor is a master bedroom with en suite bath, two additional bedrooms with a shared hall bath, and a room that is currently being used as an office. The exterior of the house features extensive landscaping including stone walls and ponds, pavilion over outdoor kitchen next to pool, outdoor shower near cabana area, several outbuildings (barn-style garage main barn/woodshop, potting shed, guest house), and two stone bridges over ponds. It is currently valued at $3.2 million dollars ($532 per square foot).
Oswald J. Nitschke was the mayor of Kenilworth, NJ, from 1912-1914 and 1917-1923. He was the grandson of one of Kenilworth’s founders, Peter Nitschke.
The house’s significance stems primarily from its association with Oswald J. Nitschke (1867-1934), a historically significant local pioneer and political leader who arrived in Kenilworth (formerly known as New Orange) in 1899 as a young German immigrant at the height of the area’s first major building boom. Nitschke was deeply involved in the community’s early formation, and he was notably influential in this regard. In 1905 he bought the Nitschke House.
The Nitschke House restoration effort has received widespread support at the local, county, and state levels for illustrating the importance of historic preservation and helping the community as a whole. The project was recognized by the State of New Jersey with a 2008 New Jersey Historic Preservation Award shortly after the Kenilworth Historical Society finished restoring the house exterior and installing basic utilities, and it was recently highlighted as one of six “Success Stories” in the 2011-2016 New Jersey Historic Preservation Plan, “Preserving New Jersey’s Heritage: A Statewide Plan.”
Overall, the house’s architectural significance lies in how it illustrates the evolution of Kenilworth’s development and its association with Kenilworth’s founding family.