As they hammered away, repairing the gaping hole created when a falling tree ripped through the roof, the three carpenters knew this was not just any other home repair.
On the floors below were murals painted by celebrated Nicaraguan/Mexican artist Robert de la Selva, a student of the Mexican artist Diego Rivera. And the murals, painted by de la Selva during a summer stay in the 1920s, had to be protected before rain did any further damage.
Just as this was not just simply any other house, these were not just any carpenters. The three– John Deleski Jr. of Metuchen, Todd Bariso of Butler and Salvador E. Ramos of North Plainfield– are all instructors with the New Jersey Carpenters Apprentice Training and Educational Fund who volunteered their time this summer to fix the roof.
They worked on the house for several days, following up on initial repairs made in the spring as part of the program’s training for apprentices in the union’s educational program.
“We appreciate all the time and effort put in by the many volunteers here at the Deserted Village,” said Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski.
“Many of our treasured historic buildings would be lost for future generations to enjoy if not for the individuals and organizations who give of their time to help out,” Kowalski said.
“The carpenters really came through for us on this project and their work is deeply appreciated,” said Freeholder Chairman Chris Hudak.
“Stabilizing and rehabilitating The Deserted Village is a major challenge, both in the work that is required and the funding that will be needed for the restoration work,” Hudak said. “But it is an irreplaceable historic site in our County and we will work to see that the Deserted Village remains a place for future generations to visit and learn about our past.”
While the carpenters addressed some of the needed emergency repairs, the County is looking for funding to restore House No. 7, following the restorations of Masker’s Barn and the Church/General Store.
The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the New Jersey Historic Trust, the Union County Open Space, Recreation & Historic Preservation Trust Fund; and other contributors help the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation maintain the Deserted Village of Feltville/Glenside Park and all its history.
The Visitor Center in the Church/Store Building at the Deserted Village is open weekends to the public, featuring exhibits of artifacts, photographs, maps and paintings explaining the history of the Deserted Village of Feltville since the settlement of the area in 1736. The Visitor Center will be open on Saturdays and Sundays and holidays, year-round, from noon until 5:00 pm each day.
The Deserted Village is located within the 2,142 acre Watchung Reservation, the largest of 36 parks in the Union County Park System. The site is listed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
Photo 1: John Deleski Jr. (center), Todd Bariso (right), and Salvador E. Ramos (back row) join Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski (left)
Photo 2: Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski (purple shirt) watches work on building 7 by carpenters.
Photo 3: Portion of the de la Selva murals.