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RED BANK: HORSE-ERA HOUSE GETS CAR LOT

286 broad 021716The circa-1875 office building at Broad Street and East Bergen Place. The driveway to the right belongs to the adjoining property. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The prospective buyer of a historic, high-profile Red Bank property won approval Wednesday night to make an alteration: the addition of a small parking lot out back.

The planning board unanimously approved the creation of a 12-space lot in the rear yard of 286 Broad Street, at the corner of East Bergen.

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FAIR HAVEN: OLD BUILDINGS TO BE JOINED

810 River Road elevation 120915 2Architect Matt Cronin’s design would link the two River Road buildings shown below with a new glass-filled central section. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

fh 810 812-14 riv rd 120815A plan to connect a pair of 150-year-old structures in Fair Haven with a window-filled central addition elicited unanimous praise from the planning board Wednesday night.

ForeFront Incorporated, a web tech firm headquartered in a stately Victorian two doors away, intends to use the conjoined buildings as expansion office space, company principal Michel Berger told the board.

With a patio, yoga space and “mom’s room,” it’s designed to attract millenial coders and developers to his company, where the average employee is 24 years old, Berger said.

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SHREWSBURY: BOROUGH’S ‘STORY’ UPDATED

burden gefken 112315 3Mayor Don Burden and co-author Rick Geffken at the Shrewsbury Municipal Complex. The Bonanno Farm on Sycamore Avenue, preserved under an easement, is visible in the background. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

story of shrewsbury 112315 2The 350-year history of Shrewsbury Borough, a vestige of a vast township that once extended from Raritan Bay to Little Egg Harbor, has a new chapter.

With the tiny borough getting ready to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its incorporation in 2016, two avid amateur historians — Rick Geffken and Mayor Don Burden — last month debuted a new edition to the definitive history of the town, adding in information on the past half-century of rapid transformation.

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RED BANK: STATE BIDS FOR FORTUNE HOUSE

rb fortune house 100614 1The home of pioneering human rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune has been vacant for many years. Below, an undated photo of Fortune, who owned it from 1901 to 1911.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

T. Thomas FortuneThe state of New Jersey has thrown its support behind efforts to save a historic Red Bank structure by offering to acquire it, redbankgreen has learned.

Two members of the borough Historic Preservation Committee said the state Department of Environmental Protection, though its Green Acres program, has made a purchase offer to the owners of the crumbling T. Thomas Fortune house on Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

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RED BANK: PRESERVATION EFFORTS LAUDED

65 wallace 091515The home of Paul and Nancy Cagno, at the corner of Wallace and Mount streets, above, and the circa 1903 mansion that’s now the office of Smallwood Wealth Management, at 199 Broad Street, below, were among the four structures cited. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

199 broad 091515Three Broad Street buildings and a home in the historic district won kudos from the Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission at a ceremony Tuesday night.

Kicking off what members hope to become an annual series, the commission honored property owners in four categories for “adding to the value of Red Bank by adding to the character” of the town, in the words of Chairwoman Michaela Ferrigine.

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SANDY HOOK: BACKERS HOPE TO SAVE HOUSE

sandlass house 070415 2The Sandlass House, at the entrance to Sandy Hook, is the subject of a campaign by a new preservation group, whose logo is shown below.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

save sandlass logo

The last remnant of a Sandy Hook beach club that was the subject of a Fair Haven man’s nostalgic documentary earlier this year now has a support group.

Chris Brenner tells redbankgreen that his video gave rise to an effort to save the Sandlass House, which overlooks  the Shrewsbury River from the site of a long-demolished resort called Highland Beach and is slated for demolition.

Supporters plan to press their case for preserving the structure this Friday in Shrewsbury.

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RED BANK: WITH LEE’S RETURN, WOMEN RULE

sharon lee 090915Sharon Lee, flanked by Mayor Pasquale Menna and former Councilwoman Juanita Lewis, gets ready to swear the oath of office while Councilman Mike DuPont takes a photo. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03For the first time in Red Bank’s 107-year history, women now outnumber men on the borough council.

Former Councilwoman Sharon Lee returned to the dais Wednesday night, following unanimous approval by the governing body to complete the three-plus months remaining in the term of former Council President Art Murphy, who resigned last month.

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RUMSON: BLITHEWALD RAZED

76 buena vista 081815rumson fire 042015 2Five months after a devastating fire, the Rumson mansion known as Blithewald was demolished Monday.

The 132-year-old home, on Buena Vista Avenue, was undergoing extensive redecoration for use as a designer showcase for the monthlong VNA Stately Homes by the Sea when it burned down in April. Investigators ruled the cause of the blaze accidental. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: GOODBYES AND HELLOS

art murphy 061414Councilman Art Murphy, who resigned last week, seen here in 2014. Below, George and Gladys Bowden, who were honored for decades of volunteer work. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

bowden 081215It was a night for farewells and greetings at a packed Red Bank council meeting Wednesday night.

Elected officials and residents bid goodbye to a longtime councilman and a retired couple who put in many years of preservation and beautification work.

And they welcomed a new member of the police department while cheering on on a seven-year veteran of the force on her promotion to sergeant.

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LITTLE SILVER: BARN RESTORATION STALLS

parker barns 070915 2No work has been done on the barns at Little Silver’s Parker Homestead in months. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

parker barns 070915 1One year after it began, work to restore three decrepit old barns at the Parker Homestead site in Little Silver has been stalled for months, and may be heading to court.

Neither town officials nor the contractor, Nickles Contracting, would discuss the reason for the inactivity, or even say when the stoppage began, leaving the structures a patchwork of braces and plywood coverings.

“It’s kind of in the hands of our attorneys,” Mayor Bob Neff told redbankgreen, citing the possibility of the matter winding up in litigation for his reticence on the matter.

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LITTLE SILVER: OLD HOUSE TO BE RAZED

benevedis 070915 3The borough-owned Benevedis house, at the entrance to Sickles Park, was badly damaged when a radiator burst during February’s cold snap, officials say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Standing as it does next door to a farmhouse that traces its origins to the early 1700s, the so-called Benevedis house in Little Silver might strike passersby as a relic of American agricultural history, too.

Well, it is 112 years old, according to Monmouth County records. Otherwise, though, the borough-owned house at 221 Rumson Road appears to have no historic value, local officials say. It’s also now badly damaged as a result of a leak from a radiator that burst over the winter.

So in keeping with a plan contemplated when the town bought the property nine years ago, the house is coming down to make way for parking, with the reluctant endorsement of a preservationist.

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RUMSON: BEFORE THE NEW BRIDGE, A DIG

rumson dig 070715 2Rumson-sb bridge 012313A crew from Richard Grubb & Associates, under contract to Monmouth County, was out doing archaeological work just east of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge Tuesday morning. The property, which will be used in the approach to a replacement bridge across the Shrewsbury River, was once the site of a mansion, built in 1890 by Mrs. John G. Neeser, that was later owned by longtime Mayor and United States Senator and William Warren Barbour. According to county spokeswoman Laura Kirkpatrick, the aim of the monthlong dig is to determine if any artifacts from the late 19th century or prior might be buried there, with a number of five-foot-by-five-foot holes dug and refilled by the end of each day.

Construction of of the new span – seen in white in the concept plan above right  may begin by 2018, Kirkpatrick said.  (Photo above by John T. Ward, at right by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: NYTIMES NOTES FORTUNE EFFORT

rb fortune house 2 061213Timothy_Thomas_FortuneSunday’s edition of the New York Times includes an article on the divergent fates of two historic New Jersey homes, one of them the Red Bank abode of early 20th-century civil rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune.

Fortune’s house, on Dr. James Parker Boulevard, is the subject of an effort by the nonprofit T. Thomas Fortune Project to save it from demolition and turn it into a cultural center. At right, an undated photo of Fortune.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

 

LITTLE SILVER: COOKIE TIN YIELDS GEMS

PH Cobb set A collection of baseball cards from 1909, including two feauring Ty Cobb, found among the possessions of a former Parker family member will be on display Sunday. (Photo above by Liz Hanson. Click to enlarge)

[CORRECTION: The original version of this article incorrectly reported that there may be thousands of baseball cards in the collection. That estimate refers to postcards, not baseball cards.]

By JOHN T. WARD

LS parker 121613 1Sunday may be Flag Day, but at the historic Parker Homestead in Little Silver, it will also be a day for baseball.

Old-time baseball, that is, in the form of a rare set of baseball cards discovered recently in a cookie tin among piles of possessions from the historic house on Rumson Road.

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SANDY HOOK: LOST RESORT REVIVED ON VIDEO

Chris Brenner, below, made the above video to shed light on a vanishing piece of Sandy Hook history.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

chris brennerFair Haven resident Chris Brenner was fishing the Shrewsbury River one day last summer when low tide exposed the vestiges of a pier on the western side of Sandy Hook.

Brenner knew what the pier had been: part of a sprawling resort called Highland Beach that thrived for some 80 years years at that location. His mother, Jill, and late father, Ted, had even met there in the 1940s, at a popular bar called the Bamboo Room.

But looking to his right, as a stream of cars brought visitors across the Route 36 Azzolina Bridge to a park that’s now part of the federal Gateway National Recreation Area, Brenner wondered to himself: How many of those people even know what was once here?

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