Public Info

Freeholders Announce $300,000 in Historic Preservation Grants to 11 Historic Sites in Union County

Union County, NJ – Some of the most treasured historic sites in Union County will receive a total of $300,000 in matching grants toward restoration work and other upgrades, through the Preserve Union County program. The grant program is funded by the Freeholder Board through the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

“As a community that can trace its roots across four centuries, we in Union County place great value on sharing our history and preserving noteworthy sites for the next generation,” said Freeholder Vice Chairman Sergio Granados, who chairs the Trust Fund. “With assistance from the Preserve Union County program, our local historic preservation organizations and municipalities can groups can ensure that important restoration work continues.”

“Preserve Union County enables our local communities to focus on sites that are most important to them, and the result is an enriching, diverse range of restoration projects,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, the Board’s liaison to the County’s Cultural and Heritage advisory board.

This is the eighth round of funding for the Preserve Union County program. It covers 11 historic sites in 10 different municipalities.

Since its inception in 2003, Preserve Union County has awarded more than $3 million in matching grants to various historic restoration and preservation projects throughout the County.

The Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund was approved overwhelmingly by popular referendum in 2000. Since then it has preserved well over 300 acres of land for public parks, acquired and restored historic sites, and provided matching grants to municipalities and nonprofits for many local historic preservation projects.

The projects approved for the 2017 round of funding included exterior and interior restoration, needed to prevent water damage and preserve the buildings. Funding also went to the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit to replace the hot water boiler and gas heater, the First Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth to repair walkways, air conditioning, and security system, and the Garden State Community Bank in Elizabeth to repair and reattach the historic clock to the structure.

The 2017 Preserve Union County awardees are:

Berkeley Heights

Little-Lord Farmstead: Restoration of wooden exterior trim elements on half of the house (Township of Berkeley Heights and Historical Society), $10,000.00


Snyder Academy of Elizabethtown/Mid-town Historic District, 1st Presbyterian Church: Church building, walkway repairs, grounds lighting, academy air conditioning, academy security system (First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth), $43,320.00


Elizabeth Garden State Community Bank: Repair historic clock/reattach clock to the structure (Garden State Community Bank), $43,320.00


Fanwood Railroad Station Complex: Exterior restoration/barrier-free access to train station (Borough of Fanwood), $10,000.00


Oswald J. Nitschke House: Attic restoration and rehabilitation, install an HVAC system in the attic (Oswald J. Nitschke House), $10,000.00


George A. Strong Residence: Complete the restoration of the front porch of the original house (duCret School of Arts), $25,000.00


Merchants & Drovers Tavern: Exterior restoration Phase 2 (Merchants and Drovers Tavern Museum Association), $25,000.00

Scotch Plains

Frazee House: Exterior restoration (Frazee House, Inc.), $43,320.00


Reeves-Reed Arboretum: Exterior wood repairs to Wisner House, replace hot water boiler and gas heater (Reeves-Reed Arboretum), $10,000.00


Caldwell Parsonage: Paint/repair two ceilings, replace barn doors (Union Township Historical Society), $3,400.00


Reeve House: Constructing Reeve History and Cultural Resource Center (Westfield Historical Society), $43,320.00

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Photo caption: The historic Garden State Community Bank in Elizabeth is one of 11 sites receiving Preserve Union County grants from the Freeholder Board this year. Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen (far l.) presented the award to (l-r) City of Elizabeth Recreation Director Paul Addessa, Union County Open Space Public Advisory Board member Michael Yesenko and Maira Santana of the Elizabeth Development Company, with Freeholder Angel Estrada and Vice Chairman Sergio Granados, chair of the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund. Photo credit: Jim Lowney/County of Union.

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