FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 25, 2009



“Preserve Union County” matching grants for local projects


Elizabeth, NJ -- The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has announced that a total of $550,000 in matching “Preserve Union County” grants will be distributed to help repair and restore twelve historic buildings, many of which date back to the Colonial era.  The projects were proposed by local preservation groups and governments in eleven municipalities throughout Union County.

Funding for Preserve Union County comes from the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, established by popular referendum in 2000.

“Union County has played a pivotal role in American History since colonial days, so it’s all the more important to preserve historic sites that provide education as well as recreation,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.  “The citizens of Union County who voted overwhelmingly to establish the Trust Fund deserve all the credit for their foresight in providing a reliable means to help fund these important projects.”

The Preserve Union County program was initiated by Freeholder Deborah P. Scanlon in 2003.  It provides matching grants for historic preservation projects owned by developed by local non-profit organizations, municipal governments, or the county.

“Preserve Union County brings the vision, energy, and know-how of local citizens together with the combined financial resources of Union County, to the benefit of all,” said Freeholder Scanlon, who is chair of the Freeholder Board’s Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Committee.

Union County has been a major international transportation hub since Colonial days, growing from wooden sailing ships and horse drawn carts to modern container shipping, airplanes, railways, and trucking.  During the American Revolution, New Jersey was the scene of early key battles and years of cat-and-mouse warfare as General Washington husbanded the American army and its meager resources for the final, decisive push through the state to Yorktown.  The murder of Hannah Caldwell at her doorstep by British troops in present-day Union Township helped to unite the colonies and crystallize public sentiment in favor of independence.

The 2009 Preserve Union County awardees are:

  • Cranford Historical Society, $20,000 for Hanson House (updates to the electrical and HVAC systems, window installation, and ceiling repairs).
  • Old First Historic Trust, $118,000 for the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth (conservation of cemetery markers).
  • Borough of Fanwood, $50,000 for Fanwood Station/Museum/ Community House (architect services, and work on storms and screens, leaders and gutters, foundation, basement floor, and attic rafters).
  • Kenilworth Historical Society, $31,000 for Oswald J. Nitschke House (installation of lighting and repairs to staircase, walls and ceilings).
  • Historical Society of Plainfield, $52,200 for Drake House Museum (archaeological work, construction of accessible ramp and porch, restoration of porch roof).
  • Fanwood-Scotch Plains Rotary Frazee House, $3,675 for Elizabeth & Gershom Frazee House (architect and engineer services).
  • Springfield Historical Society, $45,750 for Cannon Ball House (structural work and removal of possible asbestos material from cellar).
  • Fortnightly Club of Summit, $10,750 for Twin Maples (electrical upgrade in the Carriage House, installation of safety lighting, and repairs to drainage, sewer and chimney).
  • Reeves-Reed Arboretum, $21,125 for Reeves Reed Arboretum (repair/replacement of roof, windows, drainage, soffits, fascias, and shingles).  The Reeves-Reed Arboretum is located in Summit.
  • Liberty Hall Museum, $60,000 for the Carriage House (repointing of brick, repair of roof, and replacement of sheathing, deteriorated framing, and other building elements).  Liberty Hall Museum is located in Union.
  • Union Township Historical Society, $24,385 for Caldwell Parsonage (purchase of six heating and cooling units and six compressors, driveway replacement, and window work).
  • Westfield Historical Society, $100,000 for Reeve House (interior work).