Westfield’s history runs deep. The downtown Westfield district started off as part of the Elizabethtown Tract back in 1720. Eventually, it incorporated in 1798. Westfield served as home base for several notable individuals, including actors, politicians, poets and playwrights. But did you know that Westfield was also the birthplace of cartoonist Charles Addams, the creator of “The Addams Family”?
Charles Addams – The Early Years
Charles Addams came into this world on January 7th, 1912. Young Charles earned a bit of a reputation as a rapscallion. His father encouraged his artistic side. His education took him to Colgate University, the University of Pennsylvania and, finally, the Grand Central School of Art in NYC.
The New Yorker began printing his sketches in 1932. His macabre drawings and wickedly dark sense of humor showed through. Eventually, “The Addams Family” was born. Several books, a TV series, movies and even a Broadway musical based on his characters entertained millions until his death in NYC on September 29, 1988.
Charles Addams and Westfield
You could say that the town of Westfield ran through Charles Addams’ blood. He depicted many local landmarks in his drawings, including the Rialto Theater. He was married to his third wife in a local pet cemetery. The Addams family homes on Elm Street and Dudley Avenue reportedly provided inspiration for The Addams Family’s cartoon mansion. So, you can imagine the intrigue created when the Addams’ Elm Street property went on the market in 2011. The home was eventually purchased by Ethan Schoss. Schoss began renovating the historic landmark last month.
Westfield’s Addams Tavern
Located just up the street from Charles Addams’ former childhood home is the Addams Tavern. This Westfield restaurant offers the best in farm-to-table dining using locally sourced ingredients. Three separate dining areas each provide a unique atmosphere for private parties. NJ.com just named it one of the “10 Hottest Restaurants” for January.
Even though he has been gone from area since he moved in 1985, Charles Addams remains Westfield’s native son. Wherever you go, you can see the influence Westfield had on this very talented cartoonist.