By JOHN T. WARD
The Parker House, Little Silver’s oldest surviving homestead, has won addition to the state Register of Historic Places, Mayor Bob Neff tells redbankgreen.
Neff, a former journalist, sent redbankgreen the following dispatch on the case:
Little Silver – A state review board of noted architects and related experts on historic sites and structures today unanimously approved the nomination of the Parker Homestead to the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.
Inclusion within the register requires satisfaction of rigid criteria, helps protect the site, is an important qualification in grant and aid applications, and clears the way for national recognition.
Mayor Robert Neff Jr., who attended the hearing in Trenton, thanked the state Review Board for Historic Sites for its support for the nomination, which now goes to the State Historic Preservation Officer for listing on the register, and then to Washington, D.C. to be signed onto the National Register of Historic Places, according to Meredith Arms Bzdak, Ph.D, a partner with the borough’s consultant, Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC.
Preliminary work at the site and the consultant’s fee is being funded through a $44,625 grant from the Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund.
“This is an important step on our journey to preserve this important landmark for future generations,” Neff said. “We continue to work with the original grant money, and intend to aggressively seek additional grant money now that the nomination is on its way.”
The Parker Homestead was built by Peter Parker in 1667, and has sections dating to 1720, the early and late 19th Century, and the 1910s and 1920s. It is located on Rumson Road near Sickles Park. Little Silver, before separating from Shrewsbury, had been known as Parkerville.
Also attending yesterday’s meeting was Councilman Jon Bitman, liaison to the Parker Homestead Board of Trustees, chaired by Monte Edwards. Chester Apy, a member of the board, attended and spoke in support of the nomination.
“It was invigorating listening to the Review Board’s discussion, because they seemed so in support of it, commenting on the beauty of the main house,” Neff said. “This was substantiation by outstanding, objective professionals who truly understand historic structures that this is not just a nice old house, but an historic treasure warranting national recognition.”
The site was listed in 1976 on the state register, which at that time did not entail such a detailed and rigorous application, and did not qualify the site for inclusion on the National Registry, according to Bzdak.
The homestead, which includes a main house and three outlying barns, was acquired by the borough from Julia Parker, the last descendant of the original family, who passed away in 1996. Former Mayor Suzanne Castleman was the driving force behind the acquisition, and she was a strong supporter of the project until her death in July.