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2018 Historic Preservation Awards

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28th Annual New Jersey Historic Preservation Awards graphic

Historic Preservation Awards: This Place Matters

Six recipients of the annual New Jersey Historic Preservation Awards were honored at a ceremony on May 11, 2017 held at the Burlington County Olde Courthouse in Mount Holly, New Jersey. Celebrating May as National Historic Preservation Month in New Jersey, the Department of Environmental Protection’s Historic Preservation Office and the New Jersey Historic Sites Council presented the competitive awards honoring projects, groups and individuals dedicated to preserving the State’s architectural, archaeological,and cultural history. This year, New Jersey commemorates the 27th anniversary of these prestigious awards.

The award-winning 2017 candidates illustrate valuable historic preservation work on state and local levels. They incorporate significant community reinvestment in New Jersey’s towns, and demonstrate high standards in how significantly historic properties impact our modern world.

“These awards are our chance to honor the many private individuals, organizations and corporations; and state, county and local governments who work hard to preserve New Jersey’s historic places,” said Katherine Marcopul, Administrator and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer. “It is inspiring to see citizens taking action to preserve New Jersey’s historic resources!”

The 2018 New Jersey Historic Preservation Awardees are …

The 2018 Preservation New Jersey Awardees are …

2018 Historic Preservation: Project Awards
Battery Lewis Restoration

Atlantic Highlands Borough, Monmouth County
Photo Credit: Gail Hunton

Secluded on a hillside in Atlantic Highlands sits one of the country’s critical first lines of defense in the protection of New York Harbor during World War II. Completed in 1943, Battery Lewis is a 600-foot-long reinforced concrete and steel structure covered with earth that featured two 16-inch MkII M1 guns and necessary support facilities. It was officially decommissioned in 1974.

During the structure’s vacant years, the elements took their toll. In the fall of 2014, a full condition assessment and restoration documents were prepared for the Battery.

The unique construction methods of the Army’s coastal defense program are an important part of the significance of Battery Lewis, and the project team worked closely to develop a restoration program, using the original design documents, that ensured deficiencies were properly addressed with the lightest touch possible on the historic structure. Alterations were made to control moisture levels, yet required zero modifications to the building. Concrete repairs were performed early in the project, allowing them to age to the point where they are now invisible. Doors and gates were carefully freed up, cleaned, and painted, and missing or broken parts replicated using the originals as templates.

Both of the original guns were lost for scrap metal decades ago. The gun now on display was originally mounted on the USS New Jersey during WWII and was restored and repainted to match the correct 1940’s Army specifications.

The importance of the Battery Lewis restoration lies in the reintroduction of viable programming and a visitor awareness of the significance of these batteries in protecting American ports during the war.

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East Point Lighthouse (Phase II Project)

Maurice River Township, Cumberland County
Photo Credit: Michael Calafati

East Point Lighthouse, built in 1849 at the mouth of the Maurice River as it empties into Delaware Bay, is the second oldest lighthouse in New Jersey. It became operational in September 1849, but was blacked-out during WWII and later decommissioned by the Coast Guard, at which point deterioration quickly set in. Due to the concern of local residents, the Maurice River Historical Society was founded with the goal of restoring the lighthouse, but in July 1971 the lantern and roof were destroyed by fire, although the interior suffered limited damage.

Through funding from the New Jersey Historic Trust and the U.S. Department of Transportation, a Phase I Project was undertaken in the 1990s to begin the restoration process, but despite these measures, the building languished and its condition declined. The Phase II Project, begun in 2000 with funding again from NJHT, USDOT and NJDOT, as well as the Transportation Enhancement Act, emphasized the lighthouse’s restoration. Critical to the restoration were the remediation of the water damage and moisture levels, an all-encompassing masonry restoration, and construction of a barrier-free ramp, as well as sensitive installations of electrical and mechanical upgrades.

The project adhered to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties throughout the comprehensive scope of work. It was accomplished through perseverance by several contributing entities, and an unwavering commitment by the funding authorities. Because of these commitments over an extended period, the East Point Lighthouse is open and available to the public to be enjoyed as a historic site.

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Hahne & Company Building

City of Newark, Essex County
Photo Credit: Frederick Charles

The historic 1901 Hahne & Company Department Store, once one of the nation’s largest retail stores and located in the heart of Newark, is symbolic of a grand era in Newark’s history which saw the city as a major shopping and entertainment hub. The 400,000 square-foot building was abandoned after Hahne’s closed in 1986.

The adaptation of the building to include residential, retail, commercial, and cultural use was begun in 2013 and completed in early 2017. The greatest design challenge was incorporating program elements required for a financially feasible project without compromising the building’s historic integrity.

Significant design features include the creation of a central courtyard providing light and air to residences, and the painstaking restoration and relocation of the monumental original skylight over the new two-story public arcade. A central organizing feature, the arcade provides an indoor civic space and pedestrian connections between Broad and Halsey streets, with direct access to retail and commercial office space, apartments, and a newly expanded Rutgers campus. The building’s ornately detailed masonry and limestone exterior was meticulously restored, and a new contextual residential building built on a nearby empty lot offers connections to the arcade and below-grade parking garage.

The project represents a successful collaboration between development and design teams who carefully reprogrammed and restored the building, making it a model for urban revitalization and a generator of economic development in and around Newark’s growing University Heights neighborhood.

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Building 101 / Roebling Lofts

City of Trenton, Mercer County
Photo Credit: Clarke Caton Hintz

The rehabilitation of Building 101 and its adaptive reuse as Roebling Lofts represents the product of a near decade-long effort beginning in 2009. Building 101 was part of the historic 6.8-acre Roebling Complex located in the Chambersburg neighborhood of Trenton. The Roebling Company is best known for its work on the Brooklyn Bridge, and supplied wire rope and cable to most of the major suspension bridges built in the United States during the first half of the 20th century.  Building 101 was erected in 1917 and specialized in light- and medium-gauge wire rope such as that used in aircraft manufacturing.

Building 101 sat vacant and in disrepair until commencement of the renovation project. Improvements included environmental site cleanup, extensive masonry restoration, complete roof replacement, new windows to match the original steel windows, and the repair and replacement of existing heavy timber tongue and groove structural flooring. Historic details have been retained throughout the building, and modern electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems, rooftop photovoltaics, bamboo flooring, low emitting finishes, and recycled materials have been incorporated into the re-use design.

Roebling Lofts includes 138 market-rate rental loft apartments and is the first phase of a larger mixed-use development comprised of residential loft apartments, commercial space, and restaurants and retail space arrayed around a large public open space. The project is seeking LEED Gold Certification, and one of the most interesting aspects of the project was the goal of reconciling the sometimes-conflicting requirements of LEED and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

It is the development team’s vision that Roebling Lofts and the following phases will be a catalyst for change and urban renewal in the Trenton Industrial Corridor.

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“A Gentleman’s Pursuit: The Commodore’s Greenhouse”

Historic Morven Inc., Princeton, Mercer County
Photo Credit: Jesse Gordon

In February 2018, Morven Museum & Garden opened A Gentleman’s Pursuit: The Commodore’s Greenhouse, a fascinating exhibit highlighting the horticultural history and archeology of mid-19th century Morven, the ancestral home of the Stockton family. The display blends recent archaeological discoveries on the Morven grounds with the practice and philosophy of Victorian gardening in the Middle Atlantic region. Artifacts and archaeological documentation, paintings and drawings, books and treatises, plants and tools – are all appealingly interwoven to tell the story of the Stockton family’s gardening habits. The culmination of the exhibit is an impressive indoor reconstruction of a portion of the Stockton greenhouse, based on historical data and remains recently unearthed. 

During archaeological testing for proposed modifications to the main parking area, the team encountered surprisingly intact remains of Robert Stockton’s greenhouse.  The greenhouse, built circa 1852-1854, is an exceptional resource for Mid-Atlantic garden history, and coincided with the Victorian interest in horticulture and new botanical species.  The character of the archaeological remains lent themselves to a program of public involvement in the form of workshops about archaeological methods and significance. Plans were then formulated for an exhibit that would combine the remains with the archival records, and a selection of original illustrative materials and typical gardening tools, to make an unusually evocative, informative, and relatable display for Morven’s visitors.

Morven’s fascinating horticultural history is brought to light in this unique public display, and illuminates the potential of the ground beneath our feet to hold archaeological insight into New Jersey’s cultural history.

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U.S. Route 206 Bridges Over Stony Brook

Princeton, Mercer County
Photo Credit: Arora & Associates, P.C.

The Stony Brook Stone Arch Bridge represents a landmark within the Princeton, community, a vital component of New Jersey’s transportation network, and a historic resource recognized both locally and nationally. Built in 1792, the Stony Brook Stone Arch Bridge is the oldest roadway bridge in New Jersey that is still in use. At the southern end of the bridge is Worth’s Mill Ruin, built in 1714, and the earliest mill erected in the Stony Brook drainage of the Millstone River. Connected to the south end of the Stone Arch Bridge is the late-19th century Stony Brook Floodplain Bridge.  Both bridges and the mill are contributing resources to the National Register-listed King’s Highway Historic District.

The bridge project was triggered by the collapse of a portion of a stone parapet on the Stone Arch Bridge in February 2016.  Another goal of the project was to coordinate the replacement of the Stony Brook Floodplain Bridge, which was in poor condition.  Being adjacent to each other, a combined project was undertaken to accelerate the project and limit the time needed for detours.

A final objective was the sensitive consideration and treatment of the Worth’s Mill Ruin wall which stands adjacent to, and predates, the Stone Arch Bridge, and was also in need of repair and stabilization.

The Stony Brook Bridge Project has resulted in historic and scientific research that benefits our understanding of 18th century stone bridge design and historic grist mill technology. The collaboration of the diverse group of stakeholders supported a strong project design that was developed in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, and led to significant archaeological discoveries, along with the context-sensitive design and preservation of New Jersey’s oldest extant stone-arch bridge.

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Mauricetown Historic District National Register Nomination

Mauricetown (Commercial Township),
Cumberland County
Photo Credit: UD-CHAD

The small village of Mauricetown, located in Cumberland County, has a rich maritime history and features striking Victorian-era architecture.  Yet this picturesque village – dotted with houses built by sea captains and shipbuilders – had never been recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. While documenting Mauricetown’s architecture for a University of Delaware Capstone class, a graduate student noticed this omission and garnered widespread support from community, as well as state and county preservation officials to initiate a nomination as part of his Capstone project.

A grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission allowed a group of students and staff to launch the nomination project.  The project fostered a sense of community, historical awareness, and pride of place among the property owners of the village.  It also provided a large amount of historical documentation, including extensive research reports, photographs, and some 40 different architectural drawings of 10 historic properties in town, which have now been donated to the Mauricetown Historical Society. 

The nomination process spanned five years (2013-2018), including two years of intensive effort by the students and staff. At least 2,500 hours were volunteered by students during two weeks of field study in Mauricetown and two semesters of researching, writing, and drawing for Capstone courses.  It also included a wide-ranging collection of people who participated in the project, and the support of community members who provided housing for the graduate students during their field research and town meetings. The Mauricetown Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on March 29, 2018.

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Preservation New Jersey: Leadership Awards
Armed Forces Heritage Museum

New Preservation Initiatives
Photo Credit: AFHM and Lynch Exhibits

The New Jersey Military Mobile Museum project was born out of the AFHM mission to “Preserve, Honor, and Educate all on the history of the military in New Jersey and the surrounding areas.” The original aim was to build a fixed museum on the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst that would fa-cilitate public access currently not available due to Base security access restrictions. This fixed museum approach encountered difficulties in ob-taining the necessary regulation considerations for its development. Con-sequently, Armed Forces Heritage Museum (AFHM) decided to pursue a mobile museum approach in bringing New Jersey’s military history to the public.

Through the donation of a mobile stage trailer that was being replaced by Ewing Township leadership, the AFHM was able to refurbish and retrofit the unit into a set of displays within its 32-foot-long exhibit area. The exhib-it “stories” were developed by a dedicated team of AFHM members and brought to reality through the vision of Lynch Exhibitors in Burlington, New Jersey.

Since its launch in June 2017, the New Jersey Military Mobile Museum en-joyed a successful inaugural season with displays at nine events. Future plans include the design and development of a larger, 53-foot mobile unit that will house an array of interactive exhibits covering at least the past 200 years of New Jersey military history that will travel state-wide.

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Plainfield Historic Preservation Commission

Historic Preservation Commission
Photo Credit: Plainfield Historic Preservation Commission

The Plainfield Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is one of the oldest active commissions in the state, having been enacted by ordinance in 1981 and continuously serving as a leader or “model” local commission in the state since. One of Plainfield’s best assets is its vast stock of historic homes and properties that are the envy of Central New Jersey. Once known as the “Wall Street Suburb,” Plainfield has some of the finest examples of turn-of-the-century Victorian, Colonial, Craftsman and Romantic house styles in the area, and is home to 10 local historic districts and 19 individual landmarks.

The HPC fosters civic pride in the accomplishments of Plainfield’s past by promoting the use of historic districts for the educational, cultural, and rec-reational welfare of its residents, and helping to insure the harmonious and efficient growth of the City. To accomplish this mission, the HPC has nine members and two staff professionals who attend all meetings and present an amazing array of talent, including three architects, two planners, two lawyers, and a veteran Historical Society leader. Members of the HPC serve on the Architectural Review Committee, present lectures at state confer-ences, lead walking tours, host a history fair, and interact very effectively with the other local land use boards.

Plainfield’s HPC and its professionalism have been at the forefront of New Jersey historic preservation planning for many years. The commission has participated in preservation legal issues involving federal statutes and county parks, enacted a robust design guidelines booklet (now translat-ed into Spanish), and provided other technical assistance, including spear-heading local surveys, National Register nominations and wood window workshops.

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Princeton Battlefield Society

Visionary Stewardship
Photo Credit: Princeton Battlefield Society

The Princeton Battlefield Society is a n onprofit organization managed by volunteers that was formed in 1971 with a broad mission of preserving, protecting and promoting the Princeton Battlefield State Park and the her-itage of the American Revolution’s Battle of Princeton. The historic park became a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and in 2012 was designated as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. .

Since 2003, the Princeton Battlefield Society has legally challenged the In-stitute for Advanced Study’s (IAS) efforts to build faculty housing on land identified in a National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Pro-gram grant-funded study to be Washington’s Charge Site, i.e. the area of the battlefield where General George Washington boldly rallied his troops, and for the first time defeated British regulars to establish his military lead-ership. In 2015, the Civil War Trust formed a partnership with the Princeton Battlefield Society in this preservation and protection effort, and assisted with national fundraising, marketing and media initiatives. Efforts to save the Washington Charge Field occurred while the Princeton Battlefield Society continued to plan programs and services of education, volunteer in-volvement and living history demonstrations. A compromise with IAS was won in 2017, with the acquisition of 15 critical acres that expanded the park.

Through the years, Princeton Battlefield Society has planned and organized on-site living history programs for families, historic educational programs, Park Cleanup Days, studies to reinforce the battle’s significance and the site’s cultural landscape, restoration efforts on behalf of the Thomas Clarke House, and cooperative ventures to purchase adjoining historic properties (most recently the D’Ambrisi and Gigliotti properties).

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William Schroh, Jr.

Visionary Stewardship
Photo Credit: Libery Hall

William “Bill” Schroh, Jr. and the Liberty Hall Museum have been vital in upholding an outstanding partnership in helping build Heritage Tourism for Elizabeth and the State of New Jersey. Mr. Schroh has been a catalyst in building the historic segment for the City’s tourism office by paving the way for a collaborative approach to museum visitation across multiple Elizabeth historic sites. He has made a significant public impact on the community by leveraging rich historic assets to drive visitation to the area that enhances tourism as a driving force of economic development.

Mr. Schroh has led a team of professionals, demanding and delivering cus-tom tour experiences, providing a unique approach to programming, and drawing domestic and international audiences from all age levels. Some of the many tours and programs Mr. Schroh has curated and executed in-clude: hosting a Toast to America in conjunction with the Portuguese Con-sul General; highlighting the new Madeira Wine Exhibition at Liberty Hall; organizing tours for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line as part of the Elizabeth, NJ Excursion Experience; hosting a regional Yelp vendor event; and working with Premiere Stages at Kean University to create plays based on unknown pieces of New Jersey history.

Mr. Schroh brings heritage tourism to an unprecedented level in provid-ing tourists a quality historic attraction that incorporates a modern tech-nological approach. Some examples include: working with Kean University students on developing exhibits using augmented reality and online expe-riences; Room of Echoes: Seeing the same room over three centuries; Liberty Hall 360: The re-enactment of the 1774 wedding of John Jay and Sarah Living-ston; enhancing ADA experiences using iPad FaceTime capabilities for inac-cessible parts of the museum; and state-of-the-art drone and video footage promoting select historic tours.

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Camden High School PTO & Matthew R. Litt, Esq. Dr. Doris Carpenter

Mo'neke Ragsdale, and Vida Neil on behalf of PTO

President’s Preservation Advocacy
Photo Credit: Preservation New Jersey

Camden High School, known locally as “The Castle on the Hill” and con-structed 1916-1918, is an imposing three-story Collegiate Gothic structure that combines architectural terra cotta with smooth-dressed Indiana lime-stone and rough-textured brick. It was designed by Paul A. Davis III (1872-1948), one the most influential of the city’s Beaux-Arts trained architects.

Despite restoring the building’s tower for $4 million dollars in 2009, the New Jersey School Development Authority (NJSDA), the State’s school construction arm, in 2016 announced plans to demolish the entire build-ing, including the newly restored tower, to build four small academies on the site. In response, the Camden High School Parent Teacher Organiza-tion (PTO) organized efforts to save the Castle on the Hill through grass-roots activism, public relations and fundraising campaigns, letters to the Governor, and coordinating an application for listing on the State Register of Historic Places (receiving a certificate of eligibility in January 2017). In 2017, Preservation New Jersey named Camden High School to its list of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey. Subsequently, the PTO filed suit in the US District and then Camden County Superior Court, pre-pared and argued by Matt R. Litt, Esq.

Demolition of portions of the structure began at the end of the 2016-17 school year, with an assurance to delay demolition of “more significant” portions of the structure pending the outcome of the lawsuit. Ultimately, the high school’s Register nomination was never heard by the State Re-view Board; and, legal efforts failed at Superior Court. Without sufficient re-sources for further appeal, the Camden High School PTO halted its efforts. While the Castle on the Hill was lost, the tireless effort put forth by dedicat-ed residents, alumni, students and parents are worthy of acknowledgment.

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Fred Carl

Sarah P. Fiske Legacy
Photo Credit: Archives of Fred Carl

Fred Carl began the effort to save Camp Evans in 1993 when its closing un-der base realignment and closure (BRAC) was announced. With the back-ing of Wall Township, Mr. Carl researched the creation of a science center, and presented The Marconi Reuse Plan in 1995. Mr. Carl built a consortium to preserve Camp Evans that incorporated in 1998 as a not-for-profit known as the InfoAge Science-History Center.

Mr. Carl researched the history of Camp Evans and was able to get it listed on the State Register of Historic Places in 2001 with hope of national recog-nition to follow. In 2002, Camp Evans was listed on Preservation New Jer-sey’s 10 of Most Endangered Historic Places; and with PNJ’s public relations assistance and Congressman Chris Smith’s intervention, it was listed on the National Register later that year. This paved the way for the Township to acquire the property.

Prior to the turnover, the Army stopped maintaining the buildings. In 2003, the Army removed the sanitary sewers and contractors cut the under-ground electrical feeds. It took intervention by Representative Smith and attorneys from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to rectify these actions. The buildings became infested with mold, and lead paint was also an issue. Mr. Carl obtained a license to remediate lead-based paint; and on his own time and at his own expense, he remediated nine buildings.

In 2006, eight buildings on 17 acres were transferred to Wall, but none of the buildings were ready for occupancy. InfoAge, with support from Wall and Monmouth County InfoAge, replaced the roofs, installed heat and added air conditioning to five buildings. In addition, nine restrooms were restored to service. InfoAge repainted the exteriors of the WW2 and satellite era buildings, and the entire interiors of seven buildings. Mr. Carl and his fellow volunteers continue the work of restoration as they raise funds and establish educational science-history programs.

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