Five Greater Morristown sites land Morris historic preservation grants

The Acorn Hall Carriage House in Morristown. Photo courtesy of Morris County Freeholders
The Acorn Hall Carriage House in Morristown. Photo courtesy of Morris County Freeholders
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Editors’ note: Although litigation has halted historic preservation grants to local houses of worship, five other Greater Morristown sites are among recipients sharing nearly $3 million in county funds this year.

Morristown sites are the Acorn Hall carriage house, Willow Hall, the Historic Speedwell waterwheel, and the Schuyler Hamilton House. In Morris Township, the Willows at Fosterfields will receive funding.

The Morris County freeholders approved the grants last month.

Here’s more about the program, from the Morris County Freeholders:

PRESERVATION BOARD RECOMMENDS 29 HISTORIC PRESERVATION GRANTS TO MORRIS COUNTY FREEHOLDERS

Projects in 18 Towns Would Get $2.9 Million in 2019 Funding

The Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund Review Board has recommended $2.9 million in county grants from the county’s 2019 Preservation Trust Fund to help preserve, restore, or protect 26 historic sites in 18 towns across Morris County.

Recommendations made recently to the Morris County Board of Freeholders include grants ranging from $10,175 for construction documents for the Acorn Hall carriage house in Morristown to $70,833 towards roof replacement on the Union School House in Washington Township, and $480,000 towards acquisition of the historic Richards Block property in Dover.

The freeholders were briefed on the projects by Review Board Chairwoman Nita Galate. They will vote on approved the grant recommendations at their July 10 public meeting in Wharton.

The grant money comes from the voter-approved Morris County Open Space, Farmland, Floodplain Protection and Historic Preservation Trust Fund. All 29 applications received this year received grants.

Projects recommended for awards are located in Boonton, Chatham Township, Denville, Dover, Florham Park, Hanover, Madison, Mine Hill, Morristown, Morris Township, Mount Olive, Netcong, Parsippany, Pequannock, Randolph, Rockaway Township, Roxbury, and Washington Township.

View the recommendations recipients here.

Of 29 recommended grants, 11 are construction grants while the other 18 are for non-construction purposes, such as planning or construction documents.

“The restoration, rehabilitation, and preservation efforts that are aided by this voter-approved grant program allows us to get a hands-on understanding of our county’s history and maintains important links to our past, ’’ said Freeholder Stephen Shaw.

“The dedicated people working to maintain our history, providing lessons for the present and ensuring an inheritance for the future, deserve our sincere thanks,’’ said Ray Chang, historic preservation program coordinator for Morris County.

“Their efforts, supported by these grants, ensure that our county’s heritage and architectural legend are sustained.”

Awards are recommended for projects that meet program evaluation criteria in categories of construction, preservation planning, and creation of construction documents.

Criteria include historic significance, relationship of the project to community revitalization, preservation of the built or natural environment, and heritage education and tourism.

Other factors are the degree to which projects promote preservation activity, represent innovative design, reach new audiences, offer significant contributions to advancement of historic preservation; and restoration, rehabilitation, and adaptive use plans of historic buildings and cultural landscapes.

Review Board Chairwoman Galate said all projects were thoroughly reviewed, including site visits, and that funding decisions were made after lengthy discussion. She highlighted two projects recommended for funding this year:

Richards Block, Town of Dover

  • The 1869 Richards Block is a key contributing resource in the Blackwell Street National Register Historic District.
  • Erected by the town’s first mayor, George Richards, it represents one of the largest and most distinct examples of the district’s eclectic character.
  • $480,000 acquisition funding is recommended for Dover, which closed on the property last year.

Mount Vernon School, Township of Chatham

  • The circa 1860 building served as a school and Sunday school until 1928. It later was a community center and later, a town hall, until it finally became a local history museum.
  • This would be the first site in Chatham Township to receive historic preservation funding.
  • $22,800 in funding is recommended to the Historical Society of the Chatham Township to provide for the completion of a National Register Nomination and a Preservation Plan.

Other projects recommended for grants, and the towns in which they are located, include, Boonton, Boonton Train Trestle and the Stone Arched Bridge; Chatham Township, Mount Vernon School; Denville, Ayres Farm Tenant House; Dover, Arthur Condict House and Richards Block; Florham Park, Little Red Schoolhouse; and Hanover Township, Whippany Burying Yard.

Madison, Museum of Early Trades and Crafts; Mine Hill, Bridget Smith House; Morristown, Acorn Hall Carriage House, Willow Hall, Historic Speedwell Waterwheel, Schuyler Hamilton House; Morris Township, Willows at Fosterfields; and Mount Olive, former Baptist Church.

Netcong, Growing Stage; Parsippany, Smith-Baldwin House and Richardson History House; Pequannock, Martin Berry House; Randolph, Friends Meeting House; Rockaway Township, Ford-Faesch House; Roxbury, Lafayette School, Morris Canal Plane 2 East, and Lake Hopatcong Train Station; and Washington Township, Union School House.

County voters in 2002 approved an amendment to the county’s Preservation Trust Fund to include the acquisition and preservation of historic sites and facilities.

Since 2003, when the first grants were awarded, 103 sites or resources in 32 Morris County municipalities have received funding assistance.

Read more about Morris County’s historic preservation program.

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