These are NJ’s 10 most endangered historic places in 2022
TRENTON — The nonprofit Preservation New Jersey has released its list of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in the Garden State for 2022, based on the criteria of historical significance, architectural integrity, and critical threat level.
Also, PNJ said in a release announcing the list, how likely inclusion on the list may be to spur efforts to protect a particular resource is a determining factor.
Paul Muir, vice president of the PNJ Board of Directors and executive director of the Red Mill Museum Village in Clinton, said his site is a prototypical example of what PNJ hopes to accomplish by compiling this annual list.
"I say we are a recipient and a practitioner of historic preservation, as we get to use our site to share our history," he said. "These structures go beyond the aesthetic beauty that we want to restore. They carry the stories, they share the culture of the communities where they reside."
The threats these historic places face don't fit any type of mold, according to PNJ director Emily Manz.
"Sometimes a threat is demolition by neglect, sometimes it's a threat of redevelopment and development," she said. "Sometimes it's something else entirely."
Manz said that for the first time, a comprehensive project is underway to catalog and update information not only about the 10 sites selected for this year, but the more than 200 featured over nearly three decades of work by PNJ.
"It brings awareness to these sites that are in critical need across the state," Manz said. "They represent sites in different counties, different kinds of sites that we have today from a boat to cemeteries to what we think of, like a more historic house."
In an addendum to the 2022 list, two other sites were listed as having "underrepresented histories," with PNJ advocating for their repurposing and restoration: First United Methodist Church in Bradley Beach and the USS Ling in Hackensack.
For a full history of the 10 Most Endangered Places over the list's 27-year history, go to preservationnj.org/10most.
Anchor Café, Perth Amboy
This structure was built in 1905 from primary brick and terra cotta, at a time when Perth Amboy was "the center of a thriving terra cotta industry," according to PNJ.
Caldwell Public Library, Caldwell
PNJ describes this as a "1917 Classical Revival Carnegie library," and urges the borough of Caldwell to reconsider its plans for demolition.
Cemeteries — Dutch Reformed Church Graveyard (Belleville), Johnsons Cemetery (Camden), Doremus Cedar Grove Farm Burial Ground/Canfield Cemetery (Cedar Grove), Reton Cemetery (Fort Lee)
Cemeteries have been part of PNJ's list for 25 years, and the organization wants New Jersey law to be changed to guard against abandonment.
Roebling Prestretcher Equipment & Buildings (92 & 93), Florence Township
John A. Roebling's Sons steel and wire mill operated from 1905 to 1974, PNJ said, and the wire rope prestretcher and the buildings that house it are the last remaining industrial structures at the site, although the Environmental Protection Agency has argued that demolishing the buildings would be most cost-effective.
The Sandlass House, Highlands
Standing since 1893, the Sandlass House is located at the entrance of the Sandy Hook unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, and PNJ said it at one time served more than 125,000 visitors per year.
The Stockton Inn, Stockton
PNJ did not provide the year in which the Stockton Inn was built, but it has been closed and vacant since 2017, and a 2020 redevelopment plan fell through.
St. Peter's Grammar School, Jersey City
Originally known as St. Peter's Parish School, this building was constructed in 1861 and operated for 150 years, according to PNJ, with the church specifically serving generations of immigrants, including being the first Catholic church in Hudson County to hold services in Spanish.