By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank preservationists expressed concern in recent days over the pending sale of two downtown buildings they believe have historic significance.
Restoration work on the T. Thomas Fortune house is underway in conjunction with the construction of 31 apartments behind it, where an elevator tower is visible. Below, builder Roger Mumford shows off an original decorative corbel removed from just below the roof line of the house, and, in his left hand, a replica made from mahogany. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
After a decade-long effort to save it from the wrecking ball, Red Bank’s T. Thomas Fortune house is in the midst of a restoration that has served up some additional history.
Part of the Second Empire-style mansion on Drs. James Parker Boulevard may be much older than previously believed, says developer Roger Mumford, who is racing to conserve what he can of the structure even as it crumbles before his eyes.
The remains of a 17-year-old U.S. Army soldier from Red Bank who vanished during the Korean War have been found in North Korea, the Asbury Park Press reported Wednesday.
Dick Lucas had been in the field just two days when he disappeared in November, 1950. He died as a prisoner of war and was buried in a pit with other American captives, the Press reported.
Colleagues in creativity plan to honor the late artist Terry McCue, above, with a bench that overlooks the Navesink River from the Red Bank Public Library, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
To honor of one of their own, the members of a long-standing monthly art class at the Red Bank Public Library plan to install a bench on the institution’s grounds overlooking the Navesink River.
First, they’re selling their own work to fund it.
Dozens of local politicians and players in the arts world turned out for the event. Below, Basie board members Steven Van Zandt and his wife, Maureen Van Zandt. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
A $23 million expansion of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre formally got underway Wednesday, beginning what’s expected to be a 20-month endeavor to turn the Vaudeville-era venue into a powerhouse for live performance and arts education.
The aim, musician and actor Steven Van Zandt told an al fresco gathering, is “to make Red Bank an example to the rest of the county of what it is possible to do” in elevating the arts.
By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank real estate developer Roger Mumford won plaudits Thursday night from neighbors — along with zoning board approval — for a 22-unit townhouse project on a West Side industrial tract.
By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank real estate developer Roger Mumford is a busy man these days: restoring the National Historic Register T. Thomas Fortune house and adding 31 apartments to the Drs. James Parker Boulevard property; completing the 12-unit affordable housing project called Oakland Square at the corner of Oakland and West streets; and simultaneously vying for the right to redevelop what’s easily the hottest patch of asphalt in town — the borough-owned White Street parking lot.
Meantime, he’s got another project in the works, one slated to go before the zoning board for review Thursday night: a plan for townhouses on the footprint of old factory buildings just a stone’s throw from his West Side office.
It’s an event that regularly draws the participation of nearly 100 area artists, and a display that boasts an inventory of more than 600 creative works in a myriad of media.
Going up in Rumson this weekend for its sixth annual edition — the fourth since making a well-received move to the Labor Day holiday interlude — the festival known as the Canterbury Art Show…a Tapestry of the Arts is also a forum in which several of the artists put themselves on live-action display, and in which the grandest work of art just might be the host venue itself.
Among other things, the Independence Day holiday serves to spur awareness of our own Yankee Doodle history here on the Greater Red Bank Green — a timeline that predates the signing of the Declaration, as represented by National Historic Sites like Little Silver’s Parker Homestead (established in 1665), the Seabrook-Wilson House at the Bayshore (c. 1720), and the centuries-old structures of Shrewsbury’s “Four Corners.”
Then there’s Middletown Township; Monmouth County’s largest, most sprawling municipality — and among its oldest. Even many who reside there may not realize that at the heart of its nearly 60 square miles sits a walkable little village — and this Saturday morning, history buffs and the historically curious are invited to take a step back in time, one that begins mere minutes from station stop Red Bank and just a few paces from the North Jersey Coast Line platform.
Their not-so-secret identities include familiar names that span centuries: founding father Ben Franklin, inventor Thomas Edison, anthropologist Dian Fossey and Silicon Valley visionary Steve Jobs. Considered together, they’re the American Giants of Science — a superteam with a mission to rekindle a young nation’s intellectual curiosity in a tech-driven age when scientific inquiry appears under siege.
On Wednesday morning, explorers aged 7 and up are invited to take part in an interactive “whirlwind tour through time,” with the point of departure the Middletown Township Public Library.
Left to right: Local NSDAR chapter Vice Regent Deborah Hvizdos, Lillian Nemcik, Elizabeth Dunnell, Chaplain Jo Ann Mazzucca, Jacob Rue, and Regent Kathleen Evans rededicate a restored bronze plaque marking the historic Delaware Trail, during a Memorial Day ceremony at Shrewsbury’s Patriot’s Isle.
Press release from Shrewsbury Towne-Monmouth Chapter, NSDAR
In 1935, a bronze plaque was set on a sycamore tree located on Patriot’s Isle, at the Four Corners intersection of Sycamore Avenue and Broad Street in Shrewsbury. Planted by early colonists, the tree served to mark the Delaware Trail, used by the area’s Native American inhabitants — and later by George Washington’s troops, as they marched through New Jersey during the Revolutionary War campaign.
On Memorial Day, May 29, the refurbished bronze plaque was reinstalled near the site of its historic host tree, by members of the Shrewsbury Towne-Monmouth Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR).
Send the DH to the bench; leave the protective helmets in the equipment locker; and be prepared to hurl a complete game every game, if you happen to be the pitcher. The Monmouth Furnace Vintage Base Ball Club is back on the Greater Red Bank Green — and once again, it’ll be playing the Great American Pastime according to 60’s-era rules. The 1860s, that is.
Based at Allaire State Park — and playing a summertime schedule within a regional amateur league of Vintage Base Ball clubs — the organization formerly known as the “Bog Iron Boys” returns to Little Silver this Sunday as part of a special day at the historic Parker Homestead 1665.
By JOHN T. WARD
First came the spoken warning of a test, and then, the extended, ear-piercing blare.
During the chilliest part of the Cold War, the weekly tests of the Civil Defense air raid sirens mounted on utility poles across town served as a weekly reminder to Red Bank residents and visitors that the potential for nuclear catastrophe was real, imminent, and that they should be ready for it.
A promo video recaps the history of the annual Bobfest salute to Bob Dylan, which returns to the Count Basie Theatre Thursday night.
When he first offered an impromptu birthday toast to Bob Dylan during a 1999 set at the old Downtown Café in Red Bank, Jersey Shore “saloon singer” supreme Pat Guadagno didn’t harbor any thoughts of making Bobfest an annual thing, let alone an ever-expanding phenomenon with a life and passionate following all its own.
Closing in on Memorial Day weekend, which marks the return of entry fees at Sandy Hook, the folks at the Hook-based local chapter of the American Littoral Society are offering sightseers of all ages one last pre-season opportunity to enjoy the peninsula’s many natural and man-made wonders this Sunday.
By JOHN T. WARD
Continuing its comeback from a period of drastic retrenchment, the Red Bank Public Library plans a celebration of the borough’s past Saturday with the reopening of the Local History Room, which was put off-limits due to staff cuts three years ago.
The second-floor room’s return to part-time action is one piece of a daylong schedule of events to mark the institution’s 80th year in its home overlooking our beautiful Navesink River.
A must-see presentation on some of the most fondly remembered attractions of our local Shore — and not one but two encore appearances by a best-selling beach-read favorite — are booked in this Thursday, May 11 for galloping gourmets and nostalgia buffs alike.
It begins tomorrow afternoon at Red Bank’s Molly Pitcher Inn, during the Fourth Annual Scholarship Luncheon for the Northern Monmouth County Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) — an affair at which members of the community are invited to join in an afternoon filled with fun, good food and the opportunity to hear from the New York Times bestselling author, Mary Kay Andrews.
It’s a step back in time that includes Little Silver’s Parker Homestead — at more than 350 years of age, a house that’s every bit as old as the colony of New Jersey; the homes and graves of rebel patriots and Tories alike; and centuries-old structures that have served as worship houses, museums and even venues for some Reckless Steamy Nights.
If it’s the first Saturday and Sunday in May, this must be the Weekend in Old Monmouth — and if you’re sufficiently curious about the rich history of the place where you live, there’s never been a better time to get acquainted with the Greater Red Bank Green’s historic sites.
Not so many months ago, the T. Thomas Fortune House in Red Bank was a place whose own fortunes were in doubt, prior to the announcement of a development deal (reported here in redbankgreen) that set the deteriorating structure on the path to a new life as a community resource “dedicated to human rights, journalistic integrity, (and) advancement for all people.”
The announcement was certainly a happy one for the volunteers of the T. Thomas Fortune Project Committee — and on Thursday, May 25, the nonprofit entity hosts “a festive night out to celebrate the rebirth, now underway, of the National Historic Landmark and support the opening of our soon to be T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center,” as well as the legacy of the pioneering 19th century African American journalist T. Thomas Fortune.