Mr. Clifford Charles Wendehack, Architect
The architect who designed what later became Bronxville Ridge Co-op, Mr. Clifford Charles Wendehack, was born in New York in 1886 and studied in Italy, France and England before returning to the United States to practice architecture. Wendehacks' practice included many prominent homes but he is most remembered for his design of golf course clubhouses. Mr. Wendehack maintained offices in the Architects Building at 101 Park Ave, New York. He designed many landmark clubhouses in the 1920s including Wingfoot, Bethpage and the Ridgewood Country Club
Wendehack traveled each winter with his family to South America where he also attained fame as a country club architect. Some consider the Caracas Venezuela Country Club, 1929, his masterpiece in the Colonial American Style. The grounds of the Caracas Country were design by the Olmstead Brothers heirs to Frederick Law Olmstead, the designer of Central Park, and is still in use today.
In 1913, Wendehack partnered with Frederick Squires to form the architectural firm of Squires & Wendehack with offices at 27 E. 22nd Street, New York. Squires & Wendehack are the architects of record for several loft buildings in Manhattan, public buildings and even a fraternity house at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Squires was an authority and author on the subject of Hollow Tile construction, a movement meant to build fireproof homes. Bronxville Ridge is an example of this form of construction.
Squires & Wendehack remained partners until 1923 when Squires moved to his native Illinois to go into the oil business.
Wendehack opened his own practice in 1923 located at 101 Park Ave, New York. By 1923, Wendehack had established himself as a country club architect and was much in demand designing suburban golf clubs opening around the country. Wendehack had a close association with A.W. Tillinghast who was the premier golf course designer of the early 20th century. Tillinghast and Wendehack were both proponents of public golf faculties and teamed up to design Beth Page Park, the premier public course in the United States.
In addition to Country Clubs, Wendehack designed many homes in Montclair New Jersey and several are today listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Pictured below.)
As far as research has been taken, Bronxville Ridge is the only apartment complex known to be designed by Wendehack.
Wendehack was also an authority on colonial Dutch
architecture and authored a book on early Dutch Architecture in New
Jersey. In the 1930s Wendehack was
active in the Better Homes movement, which sought to design homes more
conducive to family living. The first rise middle class suburbs at this time
was seen as a major social problem. Wendehack designed a Better Homes model
house that was built in a vacant lot on Park Avenue at 39th Street. Eleanor
Roosevelt was a major proponent of the Better Homes movement, and Mrs.
Roosevelt’s home at Val Kill is
an example of this way of living. Mrs. Roosevelt officially opened the
Wendehack-designed home in 1934.
Wendehack died at his home in Upper Montclair, NJ, in 1947. As seems to be common with famous architects, scandal followed Mr. Wendehack. In 1949, Wendehack’s widow, Daisybelle, was forced to contest his will in the Essex County, NJ, courts. It seems a new will was typed up by Mr. Wendehack's secretary shortly before he died, replacing an earlier will that had been drawn up in the formal manner by the family lawyers some years earlier leaving his estate to his wife. The new will left large sums of cash and his architecture practice to his longtime secretary Anne-Marie James and her seven-year-old son, Steward. The will was witnessed by an employee of the office and a Mrs. Kriel, a friend of Mrs. James. Some of the 1940's style legalese might leave one wondering just who Steward James' father was. Unfortunately for Daisybelle Wendehack, Mrs. James was good at her game and on appeal the court found for the secretary, Mrs. James, as her office-typed form of will contained all the proper elements.