N.J.’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites 2014

June 3, 2014

Reading Time: 3 minutes

njs-10-most-endangered-historic-sites-2014-list-fc84bd4bcba6f2acPreservation New Jersey’s top 10 most endangered historic sites in the state for 2014 includes at Mercer County diner, a Sandy-damaged lighthouse, and a post office in Maplewood.

The 20th annual edition of Preservation New Jersey’s list cites historic locations that are in “imminent danger of being lost” often due to neglect or planned redevelopment, though Superstorm Sandy damage landed a lighthouse on the list.

“Our goal is to bring awareness to cherished sites that have been a vital part of a community that, without intervention, would fade from existence,” said Michael Hanrahan, president of Preservation New Jersey.

At least one of the sites in this year’s list was being offered for free in December to anyone willing to cart it away. The Giordano Diner on Route 1 in Lawrence, which has also operated under the names Calhoun, Cass, and Ben’s over the last 50 years, is one of five surviving diners built by the Mountain View Diner Co., a Little Falls company. It’s been vacant for decades.

The diner is currently on a 16-acre site including Mrs. G TV & Appliances, which is slated for redevelopment into a Wawa gas station and convenience store, and a bank. In February, the developer said four potential suitors to relocate the diner had emerged.

The full 2014 list of endangered sites, along with descriptions from Preservation New Jersey

• The New Jersey Palisades (Bergen and Hudson counties) — A line of steep basalt cliffs runs approximately 20 miles along the est side of the Hudson River from Jersey City to near Nyack, New York. Rising 300 and 540 feet above the river’s edge, the Palisades are one of the most dramatic geological features in the region. The site made the list due to an ongoing dispute about the height of LG’s planned headquarters in Englewood Cliffs.

• Asher Woolman Homestead (Westampton, Burlington County) — A two story brick farmhouse built in 1754 during a period when the Quakers were a dominant social and political force in New Jersey. The farmhouse has long been vacant and is threatened by deterioration.

• Community of Fortescue (Downe Township, Cumberland County) — Devastated by Superstorm Sandy, this isolated and close-knit community desperately needs funding for rebuilding and shore protection if it is to recover.

• Maplewood Post Office (Maplewood, Essex County) — An anchor for downtown Maplewood, the post-office building is under threat of demolition. Its loss would change the character of the town.

• Church of Saint Michael the Archangel (Union City, Hudson County) — The church has served its community for more than 100 years, but due to lack of funding, the building is threatened by deterioration.

• Giordano Diner (Lawrence Township, Mercer County) — This 1950s diner is one of five surviving diners built by the Mountain View Diner Co., a Little Falls company.

• Trenton Savings Fund Society (Trenton, Mercer County) — Due to vandalism and decay, this Beaux-Arts style white granite edifice is in need of rehabilitation as an East State Street landmark.

• Suydam House (Piscataway, Middlesex County) — Built in 1740, this historic home now owned by Rutgers University has been vacant for more than 10 years and is in poor condition.

• Romer Shoal Light (Highlands Borough, Monmouth County) — This four-story cast iron lighthouse was built in 1898 to warn boaters of hazardous water. It was severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy and is now exposed to the elements and in need of repair.

• Horton Mansion (Newton, Sussex County) — One of the best examples of Gothic architecture in Sussex County, this 1850s mansion is vacant and surrounded on three sides by Sussex County College parking lots.


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