The Addams Family and Their Spooky New Jersey Origins

It is actually rather charming. But young Chas lived nearby, and would likely pass by this home every day, and eventually began to see its potential as a setting for ghoulish guffaws. Visitors cannot enter the private property, but are able to check it out from the street, and on the Charles Addams Walking Tour during AddamsFest.

Dudley and The James Ward Mansion

One of the more notable Addams and Addams Family history is “Dudley,” the 90-100-year-old life-size chalk and pencil skeleton drawing discovered on the wall of a barn adjacent to Charles’ childhood home. The East Dudley Avenue barn was a popular spot for graffiti by local kids, and curiously, the skeleton left unmarked in all its time there – until it was excavated in 2018, and preserved by the town. The style of the art has led to speculation that it was created by a 10-year-old Addams.

During AddamsFest, Dudley will be on display at the James Ward Mansion along with a showcase of Charles Addams work, never before seen in Westfield, “in a boutique exhibit generously on loan from the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation,” according to the festival press release.

The Addams Impact on Westfield

In recent years, Westfield has fully embraced Addams and The Addams Familylegacy within the town. As a result, homages to Chas can be seen all over the place. Unfortunately, the historic Rialto Theater (the setting for a memorable Uncle Fester cartoon) closed suddenly in August due to a tenant/landlord dispute. However, the Addams Tavern is home to a large mixed media Addams mural, and themed Addams Family cocktails (Morticia’s Goblet Martini; Gomez Manhattan; Uncle Fester’s Bermuda Triangle Punch).

Outta Hand Pizza has a Thing creeping along on a pizza in a window painting, and other displays are emblazoned with paintings and quips from Gomez, Morticia, and more Addams. Even the Westfield Police Department gets into the Addams act with Halloween themed vehicles.

Additionally, it is worth visiting artist Ricardo Roig’s Roig Collection Gallery on South Ave West. Known for his hand-cut prints, Roig has a Westfield art series, and has applied his talent to the AddamsFest poster that cleverly marries the town, Chas, and his iconically creepy creations.

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