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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

The seven recipients of the 28th annual New Jersey Historic Preservation Awards were honored at a ceremony on June 7, 2018 held at The Hamilton Club in Paterson, 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.

The award-winning 2018 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.

“The 2018 award recipients show distinct dedication to historic preservation in their varied projects, and it is our privilege to recognize their outstanding efforts,” said Katherine Marcopul, Historic Preservation Office Administrator and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer. “Sustaining our state’s heritage and architecture is deserving of all New Jersey citizens’ thanks and admiration.”

The 2018 New Jersey Preservation Awardees are …

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, and featured two 16 inch MkII M1 guns and necessary support facilities. It was officially decommissioned in 1974.

During its vacant years, the elements took their toll on the structure. 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 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 into an inactive structure, and provides an educational and heightened visitor experience of the importance 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 New Jersey Historic Trust and the U.S. Department of Transportation, a Phase I Project was undertaken in the 1990’s 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 Equity 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’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties throughout the comprehensive scope of work. It was accomplished through perseverance on the part of several contributing entities, and an unwavering commitment by the funding authorities. Because of these commitments over an extended period, the East Point Lighthouse is now 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-SF 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 the 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.

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 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.

The project brings this fascinating piece of New Jersey cultural history to the public and illuminates the potential of the ground beneath our feet to hold archaeological insights. Morven’s horticultural history is brought vividly to light in this unique display which conveys two decidedly outdoor activities, gardening and archaeology, both centered on digging, into the confines of Morven’s galleries.

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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-nineteenth century Stony Brook Floodplain Bridge. All three 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 eighteenth 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 – has 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, and provided a large amount of historical documentation, including extensive research reports, photographs, and some 40 different architectural drawings of ten 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 ever-present support of community members who provided housing for the graduate students during their field research and town meetings. The nomination was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on March 29, 2018.

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