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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2006

 

Contact: Elaine Makatura (609) 292-2994
Darlene Yuhas (609) 984-1795

 

$2-MILLION RESTORATION PLANNED FOR HISTORIC BATSTO MANSION

(06/61) TRENTON - Demonstrating commitment to preserving New Jersey’s history, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced the DEP will invest $2 million in capital funding to begin a long-delayed restoration at Batsto Mansion, the centerpiece of a former iron works and glassmaking village nestled in the Pine Barrens.

Part of the 2007 state budget Governor Jon S. Corzine signed in July, the capital-funds appropriation will pay for major repairs and improvements of the mansion’s interior and exterior, including the foundation, roofs and chimneys.

“Governor Corzine’s leadership has given us a good start toward rectifying years of neglect at Batsto Mansion,” Commissioner Jackson said. “Unfortunately, the mansion is just one of many New Jersey treasures now in desperate need of care because the state lacks a reliable source of funding for maintenance and capital-improvement projects. Come November, voters will have a chance to change that.”

On Nov. 7, New Jersey voters will be asked to consider a constitutional amendment that would provide a dedicated source of funding - $15 million a year until 2015 and $32 million annually beginning in 2016 - for maintenance and capital improvements at historic sites, state parks and wildlife areas. Without requiring any new taxes, Public Question 2 would allow revenues already generated through the Corporate Business Tax Fund to be used for maintenance and capital-improvement projects.

Voters' approval of Public Question 2 would guarantee a stable source of state funding every year for maintenance and capital improvements at New Jersey’s parks, historic sites and wildlife areas. If voters reject the ballot proposal, these projects will receive minimal or no state funding annually.

Situated in the heart of Batsto Village, the 32-room, wood-frame mansion dates to the late 18th century and housed generations of ironmasters. Soon after Philadelphia businessman Joseph Wharton purchased it in 1876, the mansion was expanded and remodeled in the elegant and then-popular Italianate style of architecture. One of its most striking features is a square, four-story tower. Fourteen rooms, including the parlors, dining room, library and bedrooms, are currently open to the public for tours.

Restoration work, set to begin in the spring of next year will include repointing of the brick chimneys, cleaning and repair of the wood-shingle roof as well as removal and replacement of metal roofs over the mansion’s tower and main porch. Sections of wood clapboard siding will be removed and replaced; exterior trim, windows and shutters will be repaired, and the entire mansion will get a fresh coat of paint.

The project also features restoration of interior finishes including walls, ceilings, wainscot, trim, windows, doors and wood floors. Also, a new geothermal heating and air-conditioning system with humidity control will be installed to protect historic elements and artifacts.

Batsto Village, a bog iron and glassmaking center from 1766 to 1867, comprises 33 historic structures, including a gristmill, sawmill, general store, post office and workers’ dwellings and Batsto Mansion.

Listed on both the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, the village is located within Wharton State Forest, which spans Atlantic, Burlington and Camden counties and is the largest single tract of land within the state’s park system. Wharton State Forest boasts a wealth of recreational opportunities, including hiking, canoeing in its rivers and streams, cycling, horseback riding and watching wildlife.

To learn more about Public Question 2, visit www.njsos.org.

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Last Updated: October 26, 2006