Ten Historic NJ Sites That are in Danger of Being Lost Forever
Irreplaceable historic resources in the Garden State are constantly in imminent danger of being lost forever, facing numerous challenges from neglect to Mother Nature's wrath.
Some spots, though, are more "endangered" than others. Preservation New Jersey, a nonprofit that works to save historic neighborhoods and sites in the state, has released its 2019 list of the sites of most concern.
"There's actually a couple of structures on the site that have been declared to be too dangerous to go in to," said Courtenay Mercer, the organization's executive director.
The list is generated from nominations by the public. The annual list includes new sites each year.
Mercer said the list has spurred action and success stories over the years — one of the most recent being the full restoration of the Apple Tree House in Jersey City, listed by Preservation New Jersey in 1996 and now featuring space for community and cultural-efforts use. It's one of New Jersey's oldest buildings.
10 Most Endangered Historic Places in NJ
East Point Lighthouse — Maurice River, Cumberland County
Built in 1849, the lighthouse is the second oldest in the state. It experienced a full restoration just two years, but is under the threat by the ravages of nature, according to the organization.
Many historic firehouses, built in the 19th century cannot fit modern emergency equipment. Communities often respond, the group said, by relocating stations or demolishing historic stations to make room for new ones.
Isaac Corwin House — Chester Borough, Morris County
Also known as Larison's Turkey Farm, a well-loved roadside landmark, the site is slated for demolition to help the borough meet affordable housing requirements. Preservation New Jersey says the situation with Isaac Corwin House is reflected of a larger issue that threatens other historic resources.
Lackawanna Train Terminal — Montclair, Essex County
Opened in 1913, the terminal has survived two previous demolition attempts. It's now under threat again from a developer who wants to demolish the platform sheds to double the size of the parking lot.
Lee Brothers Park Pavilion — Mount Arlington, Morris County
Located on Lake Hopactcong, the pavilion is a unique surviving example of lake-style recreational architecture in New Jersey. The pavilion has been largely unused and is showing signs of deterioration, the group said. The local Fire Commissioner recently forbade his firefighters from entering the building due to its instability.
Park Theater aka The Passion Play Theater — Union City, Hudson County
The building urgently needs repairs, as its been largely vacant over the years. It's the only theater owned by the Archdiocese of Newark, which is open to leasing the building to an outside organization. "Someone is needed to champion the cause," the group said, before the cultural treasure is lost forever.
Port Colden Manor — Washington Township, Warren County
An outstanding example of Greek Revival architecture, the site has served as a hotel, boarding school and professional offices. The current owner has made minimal repairs while plans aim to turn the structure into apartments.
U.S. Animal Quarantine Station — Clifton, Passaic County
Known as the Ellis Island for Animals, the station was developed between 1900 and 1907. Several buildings are actively getting use by the city, but there are remaining unused and underutilized buildings on the site that local citizens are rallying to save.
The Wildwoods — Cape May County
Wildwood, North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest and West Wildwood have been a popular short resort destination for over 100 years. Known for their Doo-Wop style motels, the Wildwoods are also home to many historic residential and commercial buildings. The Wildwoods are threatened by typical development pressures along the shore, the group said. A number of iconic motels and older single-family homes have been torn down to make room for condos and McMansions.
Van Ness House — Fairfield, Essex County
Likely built around 1760, the building has sat for vacant for years and is uninhabitable due to lack of maintenance. It's owned by the township, which has cited insufficient funds to properly maintain the structure.