The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

BREAKING: Historic Muhlenberg buildings named among NJ's most endangered

Front view of Tracy and Swartwout's 1903 complex.
(Postcard, collection of Nancy Piwowar.)

Another postcard view. (Collection of Nancy Piwowar.)

The original 1903 Tracy & Swartwout buildings are outlined in red.
Supporters of Plainfield's Muhlenberg Hospital were overjoyed this morning when Preservation New Jersey announced that the original 1903 complex on the Randolph Road campus has been put on the organization's list of 'Ten Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey' for 2011.

Fourteen local supporters, active in the 'Restore Muhlenberg' group attended the ceremonies in Trenton, according to Nancy Piwowar and Deborah Dowe, two who have worked hard on the nomination.

The case for Muhlenberg's listing was outlined in a Plainfield Today guest post this past December by Nancy Piwowar (see here). Preservation New Jersey already has its list up (here) along with the complete Muhlenberg citation (see here).

Though the designation does not guarantee the buildings are preserved from future harm, it brings considerable public pressure on any consideration of demolition.

A happy day for Plainfield, but I'll bet there is no joy on James Street today.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Pat Turner Kavanaugh said...

Dan: I wish Nancy and the others luck on any number of fronts, but I can assure you listing on the state's 10 most endangered feels good but means nothing. Several years ago we worked to get that distinction for Virginia Terrill's house, one of the oldest in the state. We got it. We were excited. End of that. And Virginia's house is on the state and national registers. Is Muhlenberg?

Anonymous said...

I think after Muhlenbury, Nancy is our most valuable treasure.

Thank you Nancy and Deborah for you unrelenting effort. I am sure I speak for all of Plainfield when I say you are truly heroes of Plainfield.

Preservation New Jersey said...

While unfortunately, inclusion on the "10 Most" list does not guarantee successful preservation, Preservation New Jersey proudly points to many examples wherein progress has been made after listing. Allendale's Fell House was successfully purchased by a local advocacy group in 2010 after listing in 2009. The Naugle House is currently slated for restoration by the Borough of Fair Lawn after listing in 2007. The Jersey City Powerhouse is currently being rehabilitated after listing in 2000. Trenton's Broad Street Bank building has been completely rehabilitated since listing in 2003. Restoration of the Hoagland-Clark House in South Brunswick, listed in 2010, will be complete this summer. The blog entry says it perfectly: "Though the designation does not guarantee the buildings are preserved from future harm, it brings considerable public pressure on any consideration of demolition." There is no "magic wand," but advocacy is one of the best tools we preservationists have. It does make a difference.