Historic Trust Grants Awarded Across County
By Jane Primerano
Morris County’s history is on view on main streets and secluded byways and the county’s commitment to preserving the evidence of its past is well known.
The Board of Chosen Freeholders recently announced the historic preservation grants awarded on the recommendation of the Historic Preservation Trust Fund Review Board.
Roxbury Township historic sites are beneficiaries of all three categories of grants: restoration, acquisition and planning.
The Lake Hopatcong Foundation received $192,500 toward the mortgage and restoration of the Lackawanna Railroad Station at Landing, purchased by the non-profit in November, estimating $450,000 would be needed to pay off the loan and restore the building. About $150,000 was already raised toward that goal, according to Donna Macalle-Holly, grant coordinator for the foundation.
The station is set to be used for meeting and display space as well as providing roomier offices for the Foundation, Board President Martin Kane said at the first board meeting held there.
“We’re really glad the county had the confidence in us to award the grant this cycle,” Kane said, calling the old station an “iconic structure.” He said restoration work will begin by the end of summer. Structural problems with the station will be addressed first.
In addition, the station is on the Morris Canal Greenway.
The other grant recipients in Roxbury Township are in the Ledgewood Historic District.
The King Homestead will receive $95,648 for foundation repair and repointing, siding restoration and floor framing reinforcement. It is an 1881 Queen Anne style residence constructed for the proprietor of the King Store, a general store that served early Ledgewood. The store, the King House and the Silas Riggs Saltbox house (which was moved during the construction of the former Ledgewood Circle) are adjacent in the historic district.
Scott Fullerton of the Roxbury Rotary which has been working on the buildings in the Ledgewood District for about 20 years said the grant would be used for the front porch. The porch is original to the house, he said. About 10 years ago the Rotary structurally supported the porch and replaced some spindles and rails, Fullerton said. He said the paint on the porch floor is original.
The work on the porch will be done by Douglas Schul, a painting contractor, at no charge. Matt Oras of the local Sherwin-Williams store will donate the paint.
Fullerton said a lot of people from the township, Rotary Club members and historical society volunteers, will help with the project.
The Ledgewood Baptist Church, also on Main Street, is receiving a grant to complete construction documents relating to the reconstruction of the belfry. That grant is $12,400, according to the county’s press release. The Gothic Revival church was built in 1917 by the Gallo Brothers.
The borough of Florham Park received a similar grant in 2014 to prepare documents for reconstruction of the roof of the Little Red School House, the borough’s symbol. This year, Florham Park received $74,000 toward the roof replacement, according to Patrick Dolan of the borough Historic Preservation Commission.
The schoolhouse was built in 1866, Dolan said. As a one-room schoolhouse in a poor, rural area a far cry from the Florham Park of today, it would have had a cedar shake roof. A replacement was put on at least 30 years ago, Dolan said, and it is dry, brittle and cracked.
“We’re worried about leaks,” he said. The building is operated as a museum by the Historical Society.
“The new roof should last 40 years,” he said, adding, “there is huge variety of cedar shakes, the grain, how they are prepared and pre-treated.” The roof will need occasional maintenance, something that was neglected on the old roof, although the borough Department of Public Works does generally does a good job maintaining the municipally-owned site.
The historical society maintains its collections and the garden club does plantings and Christmas decorations, Dolan said.
The schoolhouse is open once a month and on special occasions.
“Our current mayor considers it his duty to maintain the school,” Dolan said, noting the borough had to come up with a 20 percent match.
The schoolhouse is on the borough’s flag, police cars and everything that says “Florham Park.”
“It ties to farming and our simple, rural roots,” Dolan said. “It wasn’t remuddled, it has grass surrounding it in an area with little green space.”
On the other side of the county, the Obadiah LaTourette Grist and Saw Mill in Washington Township received $52,000 to continue a long-term restoration project.
The mill is on Route 124 in the center of Long Valley’s National Register Historic District. The money is to complete a preservation plan update and construction documents. The documents relate to spillway arch repair, siding and window installation, exterior painting and completion of the flooring on the second and third floors.
The county awarded a total of $3.5 million in grants this year with others going to such county icons as the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts in Madison.
Morristown received the most money, $900,087 spread over 10 different projects, the county’s press release revealed. These were: Acorn Hall, Church of the Assumption, Church of the Redeemer, Loyola Gate House, Macculloch Hall, Morristown Community Theater-two grants, Moses Estey House, South Street Presbyterian Church and Willow Hall.
Other grants went to Denville, Harding, Kinnelon, Mine Hill, Mountain Lakes, Morris Township, Mt. Olive, Netcong, Parsippany, Rockaway Borough and Wharton.
Historic Trust Grants Awarded Across County