May is National Historic Preservation Month: Two Local Sites Receive Preservation Awards

Each May the National Trust for Historic Preservation conducts a national campaign that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and their communities. The campaign is called “This Place Matters”.

This year two local historic sites have received “This Place Matters” awards from the Morristown Historic Preservation Commission and the Morris Township Historic Preservation Commission. The sites are Acorn Hall in Morristown and the Washington Valley Schoolhouse in Morris Township. Both sites were placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1973.

Everyone has places that are important to them and Acorn Hall and the Schoolhouse rise to that level locally. Acorn Hall, an example of the Italianate Victorian style, was built in 1853 as a residence for the Schermerhorn family. Later it was altered and enlarged by the Crane and Hone families, then donated in 1971 as a historic house museum. Today it is also home to the Morris County Historical Society and open to the public.

The original 1813 Washington Valley Schoolhouse was destroyed by fire. The existing building, a period one-room schoolhouse, was built in 1869 and is celebrating its 150th anniversary. The Washington Valley Schoolhouse is owned by the Morris School District and is rented for $5 per year to the Washington Valley Community Association as a community center.

The Morristown and Morris Township Historic Preservation Commissions “make this award to organizations and homeowners who see the connection between place and preservation, and even though they’ve taken a sometimes tougher route, we commend them for preserving outstanding examples of our local historic fabric”, according to Ken Miller, chair of the Morristown commission.

Morris Township Mayor Jeffrey Grayzel said, “The Washington Valley Schoolhouse is a hidden treasure in Morris Township. We appreciate the recognition. I laud the efforts of the Washington Valley Community Association for maintaining the building in such pristine condition. I agree that this place matters”.

Take a picture of a historic site that matters to you and share it with the hashtag #ThisPlaceMatters


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