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SANDY HOOK: BACKERS RALLY TO SAVE HOUSE

sandlass-house-renderingThe Sandlass House, reimagined as a museum, above, and as seen in July, 2015, below. (Rendering by Anderson Campanella Archictects. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See update below]

By JOHN T. WARD
sandlass house 070415 4

A group of preservationists trying to save the last remnants of a long-forgotten Sandy Hook beach resort from the wrecking ball.

Dubbed the Jersey Coast Heritage Museum at Sandlass House, the group has begun circulating a petition calling on the National Park Service, which owns the house as part of Gateway National Recreation Area, not to knock it down, and allow them to turn it into a museum.

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LITTLE SILVER: MU PROF JOINS PARKER BOARD

Parker_HomesteadThe nonprofit organization governing the ongiong restoration of the historic Parker Homestead (above) has named Monmouth University faculty member and historian Melissa Ziobro (below) to its Board of Trustees.

Press release from Parker Homestead-1665

ziobroThe Parker Homestead-1665 has named Melissa Ziobro to its Board of Trustees. A Specialist Professor of Public History at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, Ziobro currently teaches courses in Public History, Oral History, and Museums and Archives Management.

Her service to the University includes administration of the Monmouth Memories Oral History Program. Earlier this year Ziobro began recording the oral history of Parker Homestead by interviewing Robert Sickles Sr. — nephew of Julia Parker, who deeded the property to Little Silver — about his memories of Julia and life on the Homestead.

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RED BANK: VAN ZANDT LINEUP TO ROCK BASIE

van-zandt-guadagno-111416-1Steven Van Zandt and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno on stage at the Basie Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

basie-marquee-111416A four-night campaign of classic rock shows curated by E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt in coming months will help drive a $20 million expansion Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, officials said Monday.

But the names of the acts to be spotlighted in the series remained under wraps at a press conference held on the stage of the Vaudeville-era venue.
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ON THE GREEN: AUTHOR! AUTHOR! AUTHOR!

amy-ellis-nutt-julie-otsukaPulitzer winner Amy Ellis Nutt (above left), National Book Award finalist Julie Otsuka (right), and historical novelist James L. Haley (below) are among the celebrated wordsmiths appearing in the coming days at events in Shrewsbury, Fair Haven and Lincroft.

james-l-haleyThere’s a Pulitzer Prize winner who trained in the trenches of Jersey journalism. A novelist whose credits include a PEN/Faulkner Award and a National Book Award nomination. And a celebrated historian turned master purveyor of “ripping yarn” page-turners.

Apparently the Greater Red Bank Green hasn’t gotten the memo that books are dead, because the joy of reading, and the highly anticipated appearances of some high-profile authors, are alive and well in the coming days and nights.

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RUMSON: SIGN OF CHANGE

russell-bettes-110416
wyb-021269As part of the rebranding of Rumson’s What’s Your Beef restaurant, new owner Marilyn Schlossbach had the sign removed last week, and in the process uncovered evidence of a past identity of the place: Nolan’s. 

A quick search of the Red Bank Register archive indicates the business operated as Jack Nolan’s, a “gay ’90s night club,” in the early 1960s, but wound up in receivership. 

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RED BANK: GHOSTLY, AND PARTLY TRUE, TALES


dublin-display-092716-2A framed photo in a locked display case at Red Bank’s Dublin House Pub may have been turned around by a ghost, according to Pat Martz Heyer, below.
 (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

pat-martz-heyer-092316In her self-published new book, “13 Ghostly Tales and Yarns of the Navesink River,” Patricia Martz Heyer recounts the history of the house that’s now home to Red Bank’s Dublin House Pub: its origins on the Middletown side of the river and two subsequent relocations over the years.

Along the way, the place seems to have acquired a non-paying tenant, in the form of a generally benign if somewhat mischievous ghost named Mrs. Roberta Patterson. Read More »

ON THE GREEN: SPOOKY WALKS AND TALKS

FortHancockThe batteries and buildings of Sandy Hook’s Fort Hancock, above, are the setting for a nocturnal ghost-walk sponsored by the American Littoral Society Friday night. Middletown’s fabled “Spy House,” below, hosts a Thursday night lecture on the legendary Jersey Devil. 

seabrook-wilson-houseHere in this history-haunted neck of Olde Monmouth, the Halloween season offers several spine-tingling opportunities to share some of the more curious legends and lore of the Garden State, in settings that range from well-lit modern facilities to those shadowy corners just off the beaten path.

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LITTLE SILVER: A BARNYARD CELEBRATION

ls-barns-101616-10About 100 Little Silver residents, joined by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagnols-barns-101616-4, celebrated the completion of restoration work on the three barns at the Parker Homestead Sunday.

The structures, the oldest of which is believed to have been built in the 1790s, and the Parker farm site on which they sit are “as important as Jamestown” in the history of America, Mayor Bob Neff told the crowd.

The restoration, funded with a $250,000 Monmouth County Open Spaces grant, was completed after a dispute with a contractor was resolved and a second contractor, Drill Construction, came on board in January, said Keith Wells, a trustee for the nonprofit Parker Homestead 1665 Inc., the nonprofit that oversaw the project. Two carpenters, Joe Rubel and Mike Cerniglia, were credited for work.

Click the “read more” for additional photos. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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ON THE GREEN: A FORTUNE IN HISTORIC VALUE

mumford fortune 072716 2The Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library in Shrewsbury hosts an exhibit about Red Bank’s T. Thomas Fortune House, seen here during a student tour in July. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.) 

Press release from T. Thomas Fortune Project Committee

The fourth annual T. Thomas Fortune Birthday Celebration (a fundraiser hosted recently at the Oyster Point Hotel under the title “Fortune . . . Telling the Truth”) kicked off a string of events to highlight the restoration of the T. Thomas Fortune House, a National Historic Landmark, into the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center.

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RED BANK: A BOATLOAD OF WOOD & HISTORY

ruffini-boat-100616-7Joe Ruffini in the salon of the Naval War College, where a photo of onetime visitor John F. Kennedy hangs. The”admiral’s barge,” below, will be among the wooden boats on display at the Monmouth Boat Club Saturday. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

ruffini-boat-100616-2A year later, Joe Ruffini is still in the “pinch me” phase, not quite able to believe his good luck.

After a brief online bidding war, the Red Bank roofer ended up owning a well-maintained, 50-foot wooden yacht, built for Navy admirals, that has hosted at least two American presidents.

On Saturday, the public will get a chance to step aboard, when Ruffini’s prize goes on display as part of a wooden and classic boat show in Red Bank.

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RUMSON: DELI COUNTERMAN TO DISH HERE

The trailer for “The Sturgeon Queens,” a PBS documentary about Russ & Daughters released in 2014.

morsels smallWith luck, the Greater Red Bank Green will have a new, authentic Jewish deli by Thanksgiving, as reported last week by redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

Meantime, folks salivating for the arrival of Shapiro’s New York Style Delicatessen in Red Bank — or mourning the pending demise of New York’s Carnegie Deli —can nosh for an hour or two on the memories and insights of a counterman whose family knows from lox and herring.

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LITTLE SILVER: A HISTORIC RIBBON-CUTTING

ls barns 031916Press release from The Parker Homestead — 1665

On Sunday, October 16, The Parker Homestead, one of the oldest homes in America, will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the restoration of the three antique barns on the property.

State, county and local officials are scheduled to be in attendance at the ceremony that commences at 12:30 p.m. The three structures – Horse Barn (1790), Cow Barn (1825), and Wagon Barn (1875) — were in dilapidated condition and were nearly lost. But now, after the completion of a five year restoration project, they are once again a beautiful representation of our rich agrarian past.

The barn restoration is the result of the combined efforts of the Borough of Little Silver, Monmouth County and The Parker Homestead – 1665 Inc. (PH1665) – a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that encourages and guides the restoration and use of The Parker Homestead.

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RED BANK: TRACING FORTUNE’S FAMILY TREE

Newspaper editor and former slave T. Thomas Fortune formed the Nfortune_091716Regular readers of redbankgreen have been kept abreast of the campaign to rescue and restore the T. Thomas Fortune House, the historic site that was once home to the pioneering African American journalist and publisher whose name adorns the property on Drs. James Parker Boulevard. While much work remains to be done toward the goal of transforming the boarded-up 19th century home into an educational and cultural center, a group of Monmouth County neighbors is also engaged in making the long-deceased Mr. Fortune into a still-vital presence; one with a message to convey to contemporary community members of all ages and backgrounds.

This Saturday afternoon, September 17, Red Bank’s Calvary Baptist Church will be the setting for another in a regularly scheduled series of meetings by the African American Genealogy Group. Beginning at 1 p.m., it’s a special edition of the event that takes place on the third Saturday of each month.

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RED BANK: SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 REMEMBERED

rb-911-ceremony-091116-5rb-911-ceremony-091116-1Remembering the dead of the September 11, 2001 attacks on American soil is part of the “vigilance” against future acts of terrorism, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna said at a commemoration held in Riverside Gardens Park Sunday morning, 15 years after the tragedy.

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FAIR HAVEN: BIKE SHOP CALLING IT QUITS

bike haven 081916Bike Haven will close by the end of September, its owner says. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallA second longtime retailer is leaving the Fair Haven Shopping Center.

But unlike Laird’s Stationery, which is temporarily relocating to smaller quarters in the center after getting squeezed out of its home by a steep rent increase, Bike Haven is simply calling it quits, owner Cliff Wittenberg tells redbankgreen. And a rent hike is only the final nail in the tire.

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RED BANK: BASIE TO STAY BASIE FOR CENTURY

basie awards 051816 1Originally called the Carlton Theater, the Count Basie Theatre will get to keep the Count’s name for at least another century. Below, a bust of the late jazz great outside the Red Bank train station. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Correction: the original version of this post misreported the year of Count Basie’s birth, which was 1904.]

By JOHN T. WARD

basie-bust2The Basie will get to be the Basie for at least another hundred years.

In conjunction with the anniversary of the birth, in Red Bank, of jazz great William ‘Count’ Basie, the town’s premiere entertainment venue has inked a deal with the trust that controls his estate to enable it to call itself the Count Basie Theatre for 50 more years, with five 10-year extensions, the two entities announced Monday.

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RBR FRESHMEN DISCUSS HISTORY, HARMONY

Gilda Rogers Sid Bernstein SummerSlamLeft to right: Citizens for a Diverse and Open Society founders Gilda Rogers and Sid Bernstein were joined by performing artist and writer Lorraine Stone as special guests of the Summer Slam program at Red Bank Regional High School. 

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

During the height of summer, the Red Bank Regional High School building is a busy place, with a myriad of educational programming designed to better prepare its students for September. As the largest of those activities, Summer Slam saw 110 students attending a four-week session (operated by school-based youth services program The SOURCE) which infuses academic topics (Math, English, Science, Global Studies) with special events like an athletic team-building challenge coordinated by The Community YMCA, as well as visits from influential community members.

This summer’s two-time guest speaker was educator, author and community activist Gilda Rogers of Red Bank, who during her first visit introduced the students to the ongoing project to renovate the historic T. Thomas Fortune House. She returned the next day to discuss ways students could combat racism; accompanying Gilda for that second meeting was Sid Bernstein of Lincroft, a retired businessman with whom she co-founded the group Citizens for a Diverse and Open Society (CDOS).

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RED BANK: FORTUNE HOUSE’S GOOD FORTUNE

mumford fortune 072716 1Developer Roger Mumford leads high school journalism students on a tour of the Fortune House. Below, Mumford with preservationist Gilda Rogers. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

gilda rogers roger mumford 072716

Less than a week after the Red Bank zoning board approved a plan to save it, the still-crumbling T. Thomas Fortune House offered a preview Wednesday of its anticipated role: as a cultural and educational center.

About a dozen high school students from around New Jersey took an exterior tour of the onetime home of pioneering civil rights journalist, who lived in it for a decade starting in 1901 and entertained the leading lights of black culture there. In the process, they also got a lesson in how the interests of preservationists and profit-minded developers might converge.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE HOUSE RESCUE PLAN OK’D

ROGER MUMFORD 072116 1Developer Roger Mumford with an architect’s rendering of the T. Thomas Fortune house as it would appear after restoration. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

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A decade-long effort to save an endangered artifact of African-American history cleared a major milestone Thursday night when the Red Bank zoning board approved a developer’s plan to rebuild the T. Thomas Fortune house and create 31 apartments on its one-acre property.

Borough-based homebuilder Roger Mumford, who vowed to restore and donate the house for use as a cultural center before he would seek certificates of occupancy for the apartments, was hailed as the last-chance savior of a vital relic of the civil rights movement that its current owners want to raze. Residents told the board before its vote that Mumford deserved the tradeoff of more than a dozen variances, most of them arising from the apartment plan.

“If a development project has ever given back to the community, it’s this one,” said Kalman Pipo, a member of the borough’s Historic Preservation Commission. “If this project doesn’t go through, we are going to lose this house” to the wrecking ball, he said.

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LITTLE SILVER: BENEVEDIS HOUSE RAZED


ls benevidis 071916 2benevedis 070915 2As part of a plan to create more parking at Sickles Park in Little Silver, the borough-owned Benevedis house at the park’s entrance on Rumson Road was demolished this week.

Unlike the National Historic Landmark Parker Homestead next door, the 113-year old house was not considered historically significant, and became unusable after a radiator burst during a cold snap in February 2015, causing water damage throughout, official have said.

As reported by redbankgreena cache of rare old baseball cards was salvaged from the home among other items associated with the Parker farm, which dates to the early 1665(Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: FORTUNE HOUSE PLAN SCHEDULED

rb fortune house 100614 3Fortune future 062816Developer Roger Mumford‘s plan to save the dilapidated T. Thomas Fortune house on Drs. James Parker Boulevard in Red Bank faces its first test this week.

The proposal, which is backed by a volunteer group hoping to preserve the pioneering civil rights journalist’s home, calls for restoring the National Historic Register structure for use as a cultural center devoted to preserving African American history and serving as a resource for social justice initiatives. The plan, dubbed “Fortune Square,” also includes a 32-unit apartment building proposed for the rear of the property. Multiple variances are required.

The hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street. Here’s the agenda: RBZB agenda 072116 (Click to enlarge)