A much-admired treasure now is an official holding of the township of Parsippany. At the Sept. 20 Town Council meeting, Mayor James Barberio issued a proclamation givng the township's official thanks to Anita Baldwin. The longtime Parsippany resident, whose family has lived here since 1733, is moving to California and selling the Smith-Baldwin residence, known as the Baldwin House, to the town.
Barberio referred to the dwelling's "intriguing legacy" as he announced the sale, which will be funded with open space dollars. Baldwin, who was part of the local historical preservation society and served on the Planning Board, said she and her sister, who are both childless, are selling the home because there is no new Baldwin generation to take over the house.
The 19-room residence sitting on more than two acres had been on the market since 2009 with a selling price of about $800,000. There had been concern that a sale would lead to the destruction of the home. With the purchase by the municipality, that threat dies.
"This makes everyone in Vail Cemetery happy," Baldwin said. “This house has been in my father’s mother’s family since 1831. ... It's a little easier leaving it knowing it's left in good hands."
Baldwin lived in the house for her entire life, she said, save for her years at New York's Ithaca College. Built in the 1820s, the house was first owned by her ancestor Hiram Smith Jr., who served in the American Revolution, she said. and was an honorary pallbearer at George Washington’s funeral.The mayor thanked Baldwin for her family's devotion to the township.
"You have always been kind--kind to me and to the citizens of Parsippany," he told her before handing her the official, framed proclamation and a large, gold-colored key to the city.
The sale is expected to close in mid-November, according to township Grants Administrator Gabe Yaccorino, who said the agreed upon price for the property is $672,750.
Despite the building's age, its history and the esteem in which it is held throughout the town, the Baldwin House is not registered as an official historic place. Yaccorino said such a registration is under discussion, along with the possibility of using the site for township meetings.