Monday, July 6th, 2009

The Morris County Board of Freeholders has approved spending $2.1 million from the county’s Historic Preservation Trust Fund to help preserve 30 historic sites in 21 towns. The freeholders approved the grants based upon the recommendation of the county’s Historic Preservation Trust Fund Review Board.

Of the grants approved, 13 were for construction or restoration projects and 17
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 largest construction grant, $426,040, was awarded to Madison for the continued rehabilitation of 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.

Rockaway Township received a $300,368 construction grant for masonry and structural restoration of the Ford-Faesch House, built in 1768. The home was occupied by John Jacob Faesch, an ironmaster whose iron products, including ammunition for the Continental Army, were critical to the Revolutionary War effort.

A non construction grant totaling $76,825 was awarded to the Passaic River Coalition for a historic structures report for Willow Hall, built in 1848 in Morristown 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 property has been acquired by the Coalition, which plans to use Willow Hall as its headquarters.

Other projects receiving historic preservation grants for construction were the First Presbyterian Church & Congregation of Dover, $36,000; the First Presbyterian Church of Hanover in East Hanover, $98,379; the Community of St. John Baptist in Mendham Township, $150,382; the Oscar A. Kincaid Home of History, $100,000; the Ayres Farm House in Denville, $40,009; the Schuyler-Hamilton House in Morristown, $33,136; the Parsippany Presbyterian Church, $142,691; the Glenburn House in Riverdale, $88,979; the First Presbyterian Church of Rockaway, $203,651; the King Homestead Museum in Roxbury, $18,800; and the Union Church Ruin in Washington Township, $39,999.

Grants for non construction projects were approved for the Boonton Holmes Public Library in Boonton, $33,400; the Butler Railroad Station, $15,160; the Community Presbyterian Church in Chester Borough, $12,800; the Mendham Historic District in Mendham Borough, $5,000; the Washington Valley Schoolhouse in Morris Township, $12,128; the Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, $18,000; Morristown National Historic Park Museum Auditorium, $42,820; and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown, $78,037.

Other non construction grants went to the Woman’s Club of Morristown, $12,640; Stephens Homestead in Mount Olive, $8,880; the Growing Stage in Netcong, $10,960; the Bowlsby-DeGelleke House in Parsippany, $16,000; the First Reformed Church of Pompton Plains, $26,600; the Hibernia Library in Rockaway Township, $10,840; the First Presbyterian Church of Succasunna, $23,400; and the King Homestead Museum in Roxbury, $5,000.

Since the program began, 60 historic sites in 30 communities have received grants totaling more than $10.4 million.

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