Friday, June 27th, 2008

The Morris County Board of Freeholders has approved spending $2.1 million from the county’s Historic Preservation Trust Fund to help preserve 25 historic sites in 17 towns.

The freeholders approved the 25 grants based upon the recommendation of the county’s Historic Preservation Trust Fund Review Board.

Of the grants approved, 16 were for construction or restoration projects and 9 grants were non-construction projects, which may include acquisition and the development of plans for preservation.

Morris County voters approved the creation of the Historic Preservation Trust Fund in November 2002, allowing the freeholders to amend the county’s Open Space and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund to include the acquisition and preservation of historic sites and facilities. The funds come from trust fund monies that have been traditionally set aside for administrative costs and were not diverted from open space or farmland preservation.

The largest construction grant, $188,600, was awarded to Historical Society of Boonton Township for interior restoration work to the Oscar A. Kincaid Home of History, a circa 1785 house on both the New Jersey and national registers that is planned as a museum.

Madison received a $150,000 construction grant for interior restoration to the Hartley Dodge Memorial, the 1933 Neoclassical building that serves as the Madison Borough Hall, and which is a vital part of the Madison Civic Historic District. The project includes the restoration of the historic building’s fabric.

The largest non construction grant totaling $250,000 was awarded to the Passaic River Coalition to help the group acquire Willow Hall, a puddingstone structure in Morristown built in 1848 by George Vail, a noted New Jersey politician and the brother of Alfred Vail, a central figure with Samuel Morse in the development of the telegraph. The Coalition plans to use Willow Hall as its headquarters.

Other historic preservation grants for construction went to the First Presbyterian Church & Congregation of Dover, $175,699; the First Presbyterian Church of Hanover in East Hanover, $69,273; the United Methodist Church in Madison, $81,384; the Presbyterian Church of Madison, $110,640; the Community of St. John Baptist in Mendham Township, $150,000; the Trustees of the Ralston Cider Mill in Mendham Township, $67,924; Montville Township for the Montville Schoolhouse, $125,000; the Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, $35,700; the Washington Association of New Jersey for the Morristown National Historic Park Museum Auditorium, $115,047; The Woman’s Club of Morristown, Inc., $60,160; Mount Olive Township for the Former Baptist Church, $67,280; the Growing Stage Theatre for Young Audiences in Netcong, $126,914; Riverdale Borough for Glenburn House, $71,574; and the Roxbury Historic Trust, Inc. for the King Homestead, $80,000.

Grants for non construction projects were awarded to Rockaway Township for Hibernia Church, $28,160; Butler Borough for the Butler Railroad Station, $29,440; the Community Presbyterian Church in Chester Borough, $15,280; Florham Park Borough for Little Red Schoolhouse, $12,680; All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Long Hill Township, $27,000; the Flanders United Methodist Church in Mount Olive, $16,040; Long Hill Township for Millington Schoolhouse, $29,437; and the First Presbyterian Church of Rockaway, $15,000.

Since the program began, 53 historic sites in 30 communities have received grants totaling nearly $8.7 million.

More information about the Historic Preservation Trust Fund may be obtained by calling Ray Chang at the Morris County Department of Planning , Development and Technology at (973) 829-8120.