HISTORIC PRESERVATION AWARDS HONOR STATE’S BEST AND BRIGHTEST
(10/P48) TRENTON -In recognition of Historic Preservation Month, the Department of Environmental Protection’s Historic Preservation Office and the New Jersey Historic Sites Council today honored historic sites and those who are committed to preserving them during ceremonies at the State House Annex.
“These Historic Preservation awards honor the best and brightest – those sites that have come to embody New Jersey’s rich history and those people who are passionate about seeing our past preserved,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said. “Among those honored are efforts that saved Thomas Edison’s laboratory complex in West Orange from deterioration, a Newark planner’s passion for preserving her city’s great buildings, and a simple barn in Readington that serves as a trailhead for lovers of the outdoors.”
Other projects, including restoration of the Trenton Masonic Lodge and a Camden bank, were honored for merging green technologies in preservation of old buildings. “Old is the New Green” is the theme of this year’s national celebration of Historic Preservation Month. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, historic preservation supports sustainability and is inherently green.
The awards program increases public awareness of historic preservation, recognizes volunteer contributions to preserve historic resources, acknowledges projects of excellent quality, and recognizes the contributions by individuals, organizations, and agencies to preserve and advocate for historic preservation.
Historic Preservation Award Winners
- Thomas Edison Laboratory, West Orange, Essex County
Edison’s Laboratory was one of the most productive research and development laboratories in history. By the 1990s, the buildings in this complex had fallen into serious disrepair and only a fraction of its artifacts were on display. As a result of the efforts of the National Park Service and its partners, the Charles Edison Fund and the Edison Innovation Fund, the laboratory is now one of the most well-preserved industrial sites in America.
- Michele Alonso, Principal Planner/Acting Historic Preservation Officer, City of Newark, Essex County
Newark is a city of great buildings and places. Michele Alonso is dedicated to preserving them, involving city residents in the process. She brought together students and teachers of the Graduate Historic Preservation Program at Cornell University with local developers to look at vacant private and city-owned historic property to prepare rehabilitation feasibility analyses.
- Reno Barn, Pidcock Farm, Readington Twp, Hunterdon County
Barns are one of the last and most important structural reminders of New Jersey’s and America’s agricultural past. But they are disappearing rapidly. Readington Township had the vision to preserve the Reno Barn, ensuring the accuracy of every detail of the simple structure. The historic barn is preserved as a nature center and gateway to preserved agricultural land and nature trails.
- Security and Trust Building, Camden City, Camden County
Camden area preservationists struggled for years to save a few of the remaining grand buildings from Camden’s days as an industrial juggernaut. The Security & Trust Building, once on Preservation New Jersey’s list of most endangered historic sites, will now provide affordable housing and commercial space. The project team preserved the bank vault, historic flooring and the interior vestibule of a building that had generally been viewed as beyond saving. The building includes high-performance windows and insulation and other features that will make it Camden’s first LEED-certified building.
- Restoration of the John Frederick Peto House & Studio, Island Heights Borough, Ocean County
The John Fredrick Peto House in Island Heights is a monument to the life and work of renowned still-life painter Frederick Peto. Through an anonymous donor, the house was restored using historic photographs. Extensive interior and exterior paint analyses revealed a palette of vivid and contrasting colors that complimented the colors found in Peto’s many works. The landscape has been designed as a turn-of-the-century garden.
- Restoration of the Thomas Ludlam Jr. house, South Dennis Township, Cape May County
The early, heavy-timber frame houses of southern New Jersey are one of the state’s most important but often overlooked architectural styles. Architectural Historian Joan Berkey and her husband Scott Smith have restored the house, preserving its historic integrity by maintaining its floor plans, room sizes and stair configuration. Smith became a blacksmith and made many of the wrought-iron latches and sliding bolts in the house.
- New Offices for Clarke Caton Hintz at Trenton Masonic Lodge, Trenton, Mercer County
At the turn of the 20th century, fraternal organizations such as the Freemasons were at their zenith, their success manifested in large, handsome buildings built to impress. But preserving these large buildings in the face of declining memberships became a challenge. Architectural planning firm Clarke Caton Hintz preserved the neo-classical Trenton Masonic Lodge by rehabilitating the large open attic to LEED Gold Standards as office space for the firm. The Masons will continue to use the building. The undersides of the steel trusses of the roof are exposed with new skylights. The mezzanine was expanded to house the library, and work space.
- Structural and architectural investigation of the sanctuary plaster ceiling at Bloomfield Presbyterian Church on the Green, Bloomfield, Essex County
Historic preservation may be about old buildings but the technology to understand them is cutting edge. At the Bloomfield Presbyterian Church on the Green, the desire to preserve a decorative plaster ceiling led to the use of advanced non-destructive investigation techniques including laser three-dimensional scan survey, moisture monitoring and infrared data gathering. The results were synthesized into a user-friendly document that helped the congregation understand that, while work was needed, the sanctuary remained safe for use. The church is currently raising money for the next phase of work.
- Petty’s Run Site archaeological explorations public outreach, Trenton, Mercer County
The Petty’s Run archaeological explorations were undertaken as part of the design of the proposed Capital State Park. Phase 1B of the park, just east of the State House, calls for a series of conserved foundations, restoration of flow to Petty’s Run, and the installation of an operational waterwheel in a 19th century paper-mill wheel pit to educate visitors about water-powered industry around the time of the American Revolution. The park design team realized the work, because of its location, would generate considerable attention. The team used the excavation itself to inform the public about the history of the site. Outreach included a web journal, an on-site interpreter, and periodic site tours and presentations.