NEW JERSEY HISTORIC PRESERVATION PROJECTS HONORED
(11/P67) 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 projects and groups that are working to preserve the state's history.
The projects being recognized included a restored Depression-era movie theater in Vineland, a preserved 19th century Middletown farmstead, the rehabilitated Calhoun Street Bridge in Trenton, a preserved the entrance to the Jewish Community Center pool in Ewing, and a rehabilitated and preserved section of Ellis Island.
"The people who have worked to preserve these pieces of our past prove that the spirit of preservation is alive and well in New Jersey," DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said. "Because of their efforts, important snapshots of our heritage and our architectural past have been preserved for future generations to learn from and enjoy. I commend all who worked on these projects for their dedication and vision."
The awards program, held at the Trenton Masonic Temple, 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. The theme of this year's ceremonies is "Celebrating America's Treasures."
Historic Preservation Award Winners
Louis I. Kahn Bath House and Day Camp Pavilions, Ewing, Mercer County
The building that serves as the entrance to the swimming pool at the Jewish Community Center in Ewing was designed by architect Louis I. Kahn, one of the leading post World War II architects. The structure shows the first hints of Kahn's modernist use of ancient geometric forms that would become his signature. Susan Solomon, an architectural historian from Princeton, advocated for the preservation of the structure. Donna Lewis, Director of Planning for Mercer County, helped put together the project with acquisition funds from the DEP's Green Acres program and restoration funds from the New Jersey Historic Trust. The pool still serves the community's recreation needs.
Kennedy-Martin-Stelle Farmstead, Bernards Township, Somerset County
This picturesque farmstead, that was part of a local government land purchase more than a decade ago, is rich in history. Its first known uses date back as far as 1740 as the home of Nathaniel Rolfe, one of the area's first settlers. The site later served as the home of Colonel Ephraim Martin, a patriot who served in the Continental Army and was later elected to the newly created New Jersey State Legislature. Using a well-planned phased approach, the early English barn and farmhouse have been restored. The farmhouse is operating as an arts center. The barn will be a venue for performing arts and crafts.
Huber Woods Environmental Center, Middletown, Monmouth County
The Monmouth County Parks System restored the wood and stucco cladding of the 1929 grand Alpine cottage of Catherine and Hans Huber and made many other improvements to the house, which today serves as an environmental center. The county has a long history of stewardship of historic resources. Led by architects Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, the county preserved the character of the house, including undulations in the roof that were intended to give the appearance of a roof that is considerably older than it seems.
Landis Theater, Vineland, Cumberland County
Opened in 1937, the art deco Landis Theater had been abandoned for years, and was even threatened with demolition in 1995. Through the efforts of concerned local residents, the theater was listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Sites in 2000. A decade later, Hans Lampart and the Landis Theater Foundation, working with J.W. Pedersen Architects & Lori Dimateo Fiocchi LA Design, restored the theater as a cornerstone to revitalization of downtown Vineland.
Calhoun Street Bridge, Trenton, Mercer County
Opened in 1884, the wrought-iron Calhoun Street Bridge over the Delaware River is noted for its relatively light visual character that resulted from the engineers' advanced understanding of design tolerances, which allowed the use of lighter and thinner pins and columns than earlier bridges of the type. The bridge also has an unusual level of architectural detailing and ornamentation. The rehabilitation project, completed last October, was carried out by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Authority, which engaged the public in deciding to close the bridge for the entire summer in order to shorten the overall construction.
Ellis Island, New York Harbor
Ellis Island is the portal though which millions of immigrants entered America. The lesser known south side of Ellis Island included hospital buildings, isolation wards, and was central to the development of public health policy in America. Save Ellis Island has worked tirelessly to promote preservation of the South Side of Ellis Island since the U.S. Supreme Court decided that it belonged to New Jersey. The Powerhouse and Ward G presented unique challenges: how to conserve the most compelling spaces in a state of arrested decay while rehabilitating structures for new government/non-profit partnership use. Architect Jan Hird Pokorny Associates is working with engineering firm Robert Silman Associates on a plan to achieve this balance.
Vail House, Morristown, Morris County
Stephen Vail, proprietor of the Speedwell Iron Works, purchased the 18th century Kinney family house in 1830. His son, Alfred, later lived in it as he worked with Samuel Morse on the development of the telegraph at nearby Speedwell Village. The Morris County Parks Commission restored the house to its appearance in the middle 19th century. The home boasts original furnishings, period antiques, and portraits of Stephen and his first wife Bethiah, painted by Morse in 1837.
Prison Warden's House Rehabilitation, Mount Holly, Burlington County
Burlington County carefully researched and implemented the rehabilitation of the 1888 Victorian warden's house connected to the Historic Burlington County Prison Museum. The county reopened the house this year after make numerous structural repairs, repairing porch decking, re-pointing bricks, and rebuilding mahogany shutters to prevent rot. The county originally constructed the house for the warden and his family. Today the house is used primarily as an art gallery and meeting place.