Morris County Approves Preservation Funding for 27 Historic Sites
117 Historic Properties Preserved Through Trust Fund Since 2003
The Morris County Board of County Commissioners tonight approved $2.65 million in grants from the county’s Preservation Trust Fund to help restore, preserve and further protect 27 historic sites in Morris County.
To date, Morris County has spent $43.3 million on preservation efforts at 117 historic locations since 2003, after voters overwhelmingly approved establishing a funding source for restoring and protecting historic properties. The properties have benefited through 482 grants, with some properties receiving multiple grants over the years to conduct planning, acquisition and construction projects.
“We cherish our quality of life in Morris County, and this is just one of the reasons why. We take great pride in preserving our rich history, as we do our open spaces and our best-in-New Jersey park system. It’s also why we ranked again two weeks ago as one of the healthiest places in the nation to live,” said Commissioner Director Stephen H. Shaw. “But, for all of this, we really must thank our residents -- our taxpayers -- because they overwhelmingly approved the preservation trust fund that has made protecting our history, greenways and open spaces possible.”
The Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund Review Board recommended the sites approved tonight, with most of the new funding going toward the construction and refurbishment of 13 of the 27 sites. Four more of the historic sites will now be able to move forward with preservation planning efforts, while nine others are receiving funds for design work for future construction.
One grant for $159,374 will assist in the acquisition and preservation of the Morristown Post Office.
The building has served as a U.S. Post Office since its construction in 1916 and represents Classical Revival architecture. It was designed by Oscar Wenderoth, an American architect who served as director of what was known as the federal Office of the Supervising Architect. The office guided the construction of federal buildings in the late 19th Century and early part of the 20th Century.
Several of Wenderoth’s projects are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Morristown Post Office currently is listed as “contributing” to the significance of a historic district listed in both the National Register of Historic Places and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.
Application Review Process
The Review Board initially received 29 applications for consideration in 2021, amounting to $3.8 million in grant requests. They were initially reviewed for their conformance to the U.S. Secretary of Interior’s “Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties,” which promote historic preservation best practices. Remote site visits also were conducted by the board via Webex conferencing and reviewing videos of each site.
After a final presentation was made by the grant applicants, the Review Board deliberated on the funding recommendations.
Among the projects approved by the Commissioners are:
The Tunis-Ellicks House – Harding Township
Grant Amount: $29,176
The 1838 Tunis Ellicks House is a vernacular farmhouse, representative of the East Jersey Cottage house type with 1-1/2 stories and 3-bays. The house is listed as “contributing” to the New Vernon National Register District and it is owned by the Township of Harding.
The grant will provide for completion of a preservation plan to turn the house into a museum, exhibit and meeting space.
The Obadiah LaTourette Grist and Saw Mill – Long Valley
Grant Amount: $23,616
The Obadiah LaTourette Grist and Saw Mill, circa c. 1750, represents an example of early industrial architecture and is listed as an important “contributing” resource to a historic district listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The grant will assist stabilizing the building exterior, establishing weather-tightness of the mill building installing Tyvek and heavy cloth coverings at all open areas and installing hung aluminum gutters and leaders.