Eighth Grade Mt. Arlington Class continues work of famous local Lotta Crabtree

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The eighth grade Mt. Arlington class under the instruction of Julie Crawford, Gateway Enrichment Teacher is seeking to continue Lotta Crabtree’s work in the area of agriculture.

Attol Tryst In2Lotta Crabtree (1847 – 1924) was an American actress, entertainer, and comedian. She achieved the height of her success in the 1870s and 1880s Known as “The Nation’s Darling,” she was the highest paid actress in America, earning up to $5,000 per week at the time.

With her childhood experiences in the rough hills of the California gold mines and her travels across the United States as city centers developed, Lotta gained an understanding of the importance of education, preservation of agriculture, land development, and entrepreneurship.

Mount Arlington Summer Home (Lotta Crabtree Historical Site):

Attol Tryst In1In 1885, Lotta's mother had an 18-room summer cottage built in the Breslin Park section of Mount Arlington on the shores of Lake Hopatcong New Jersey, which was called Attol Tryst. Lotta gave parties, rode horses, and pursued her painting when she stayed in Mount Arlington. Her home, Attol Tryst was designed in an ostentatious Shingle/Queen Anne style by noted architect Frank Furness.

The home remains a major focal point of the Mount Arlington North Park Historic District, a neighborhood that began as a resort community for wealthy vacationers from Jersey City, Newark, Brooklyn, and New York in the late 1880s into the 20th century.

The Philanthropy Work of Lotta Crabtree:

Lotta Crabtree was a significant philanthropist, on September 25, 1924, Crabtree, died and in her will, dated October 5, 1922, she created eight charitable trusts. The stated purpose of the largest trust, the agricultural fund trust, is to provide loans to graduates of what is now the University of Massachusetts, as well as financial assistance to needy and meritorious students for their studies at the university.

Mount Arlington Students seek to continue the work:

Julie Crawford, GATEWAY ENRICHMENT TEACHER for the Enrichment Classes Class of 2019 and Class of 2022, is seeking to continue her work through the borough’s new community garden and wrote the agricultural fund trust seeking support (actual letter).

Dear Trustees of the Lotta M Crabtree Agricultural Trust:

As part of our student research, we recently completed a detailed presentation on Lotta Crabtree. We were amazed by her philanthropic efforts to support agricultural efforts as well as other charities. We have enclosed a copy of our research on her travels and post-theater retirement, which focused on her interests for veterans, animals, and agriculture.

Our borough is currently constructing a large community garden and is seeking funds to help support the garden. We believe Lotta Crabtree, who understood the value of investing in agriculture from her cross-country travels, would have definitely supported this project.

We would be most interested in speaking with the trustees about a grant to support the garden and would, of course, acknowledge a donation with a memorial sign in her legacy. The community garden is located near our school and will be a working laboratory for our plant studies. We recently received funding at our school from the NJ Sustainable Schools program to construct three small greenhouses so that students can grow seedlings for the community garden. We are asking for $3,000 to purchase the following support equipment and tools:

  • Wheelbarrows
  • Shovels
  • Hoses
  • Spray Nozzles for Hoses
  • Watering Cans
  • Wood to construct a compost bin
  • Memorial Bench with Placard Acknowledging Lotta Crabtree Trustees Donation

The Lotta M Crabtree Agricultural Trust foundation is expected to review the letter and the students request at their annual meeting in June.

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