In recognition of National Preservation Month, Preservation New Jersey, Inc. (PNJ) today announced its 16th annual list of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites in New Jersey. The 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites program spotlights irreplaceable historic, architectural, cultural and archeological resources in New Jersey that are in imminent danger of being lost. The act of listing these resources acknowledges their importance to the heritage of New Jersey and draws attention to the predicaments that endanger their survival and the survival of all historic resources throughout our state. The list aims to attract new perspectives and ideas to sites in desperate need of creative solutions.
Several challenges face properties included on this year’s endangered sites list, including neglect and deferred maintenance, weak or non-existent local preservation ordinances, and simple misinformation. But on this year’s list, the effects of an extraordinarily challenging economy are particularly evident: a dearth of funds, a lack of historically-sensitive and financially-capable buyers, and taxed municipal budgets are just a few of the difficult issues with which not only those sites on this year’s list, but historic properties throughout New Jersey, are currently grappling.
As we acknowledge each year, selections to the 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites list are based on the likelihood that solutions can be found and historic buildings and places can be brought back to useful and productive life. Proudly, PNJ points to many properties previously listed among the 10 Most Endangered that have now been saved, preserved and brought new life.
The 2010 List:
The 1759 Vought House
34 Grey Rock Road, Clinton Township, Hunterdon County
- An 18th century farmhouse threatened by deterioration and funding challenges
The Blue Chapel (Monastery of the Perpetual Rosary: Sisters of St. Domimick)
605 14th Street, Union City, Hudson County
- A circa 1914 monastery threatened by deterioration, vacancy, and lack of protection
Bridgeton Free Public Library
150 East Commerce Street, Bridgeton, Cumberland County
- A library threatened by municipal budget cuts
Intersection of Linwood and Maple Avenues (within Graydon Park), Ridgewood, Bergen County
- A natural municipal swimming pool threatened with demolition and replacement
Historic Diners of New Jersey
- An emblem of mid-twentieth century culture, classic diners are being abandoned, demolished, and relocated out-of-state at an alarming rate
- Threatened by misinformation, stemming in particular from incorrect energy efficiency tax credit literature, that encourages window replacement
Kendall Park, South Brunswick Township, Middlesex County
- An 18th century house threatened by neglect and deterioration
679 Mount Kemble Avenue, Harding Township, Morris County
- A turn-of-the-century McKim, Mead and White designed estate threatened by neglect and deterioration
The Plume House
Newark, Essex County
- Newark’s second oldest building, threatened by continuous degradation from highway traffic
Trenton Central High School
Trenton, Mercer County
- A monumental historic public school threatened with neglect and demolition
Detailed descriptions of the sites listed this year are attached, and can also be viewed at www.pnj10most.org. As always, selections to the 2010 10 Most Endangered Sites list are based on three criteria:
- historic significance and architectural integrity,
- the critical nature of the threat identified, and the likelihood that inclusion on the list would have a positive impact on efforts to protect the site.
This year’s announcement was held at Trenton’s Old Barracks Museum, a state-owned historic site for which funding has been eliminated in Governor Christie’s proposed budget. The current threat to the Old Barracks is representative of multiple state-owned historic sites facing uncertain financial futures.
Founded in 1978, Preservation New Jersey is a nonprofit organization that helps homeowners, organizations, public officials and citizen advocates working to preserve the historic neighborhoods and sites that are important to our families and our communities. Preservation New Jersey produces this annual list of New Jersey's 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites in addition to other advocacy programs; provides educational conferences and training workshops; publishes a quarterly newsletter, interactive website and online magazine; maintains a resource library; serves as a resource for technical assistance and general advice for the public, and addresses legislation and public policies that impact New Jersey's historic places and communities. The 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites program is funded in part by the PNC Foundation.
For details about National Preservation Month, visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s website at www.nationaltrust.org/preservationmonth/index.asp.