RED BANK: HPC AIMS TO SAVE DOOMED HOUSE

red bank 95 east front st.The Victorian structure, now said to have been built before 1868, is slated for demolition. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njFive months after Red Bank’s planning board approved the demolition of a Victorian house owned by Riverview Medical Center, the borough Historic Preservation  Commission is hoping to save it.

Relying on newly assembled information showing the house at 95 East Front Street was older than previously believed — and may have belonged to descendants of a prominent industrialist — the HPC plans to ask the hospital to turn it into a “medical bed & breakfast.”

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RED BANK: FORTUNE CULTURAL CENTER OPENS

red bank fortune house Dozens of supporters gathered on the front lawn for the opening of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center. Below, a view of the ceremony from inside the restored house. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank fortune houseMore than a century after the departure of its most famous resident, the T. Thomas Fortune House in Red Bank reopened Thursday as a cultural center dedicated to his mission of advancing civil and human rights.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE ‘MIRACLE’ COMPLETED

red bank nj t. thomas fortune cultural centerThe restored T. Thomas Fortune House on Drs. James Parker Boulevard plans to formally open as a cultural center in May. Below, restoration supervisor Spencer Foxworth and foundation member Robin Blair examine a chandelier to be installed. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank nj t. thomas fortune cultural center

An against-the-odds, decade-long effort to save a Red Bank house that was once the home of a pioneering civil rights journalist has reached its improbable conclusion, people involved in the effort say.

This weekend, local history lovers will get their first-ever chance to tour the T. Thomas Fortune House, a National Historic Register structure that not long ago was about to be razed.

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RED BANK: VICTORIAN IN CROSSHAIRS

red bank 95 east front st.A prominent Victorian structure on East Front Street is on the agenda for the next Red Bank planning board meeting. 

What’s Going On Here? Click ‘read more’ for the answer. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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MIDDLETOWN: FUNDRAISER FOR BOWDENS

Family and friends have raised more than $12,000 to help two former Red Bank volunteers injured by a fire in their Middletown home earlier this month.

George Bowden, 91, and his wife, Gladys Bowden, 88, were both injured when their condo in the Shadow Lake Village complex in the River Plaza section of the township was heavily damaged by an electrical fire on December 15.

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RED BANK: HISTORIC YACHT LIGHTS UP RIVER

red bank NJ admiral's barge joe ruffini 121518 4red bank admiral bargeRed Bank resident Joe Ruffini’s history-rich yacht, the Naval War College, brought some Christmas sparkle to the Navesink River Saturday night, one night before it was scheduled to participate in a parade of boats on the Shrewsbury River.

The boat parade is slated to run again on Sunday, December 23. Meantime, for the fascinating backstory about Ruffini’s vessel, which has hosted two American presidents, check out this redbankgreen article from 2016. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: FINAL FADEOUT FOR GUITAR PLANT

Now being developed for townhomes, the lot between Catherine and River streets was once home to the Danelectro guitar factory. Below, a Danelectro with the distinctive “coke bottle” headstock. (Photo above by John T. Ward, below courtesy of Lorie Mouklas. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Without fanfare, a half-dozen factory buildings on Red Bank’s West Side were leveled last month, making way for new homes.

Among the structures razed was one that deserves a final flick of the lighter from rock music fans. In the early days of rock ‘n roll, the building at 10 River Street churned out low-priced but distinctive-sounding electric guitars, some of which helped launch the careers of rock superstars such as Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page.

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RED BANK: WORDS AND MUSIC IN THE PARK


Five thousand strong, music lovers found a few hours of respite from everyday noise when the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra played an open-air concert in Red Bank’s Marine Park last summer.

This Sunday, the NJSO returns to the park with another free show, where those in attendance will also get a chance to connect to the borough’s history via the written word.

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RED BANK: OLDEST FIRE COMPANY RETIRED

Relief Engine Company retains the second-floor meeting space in its longtime home on Drummond Place. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[CORRECTIONS: The original version of this post mistakenly identified the Relief Engine Company as the oldest firefighting unit in Red Bank. That honor belongs to the Navesink Hook and Ladder, which was established in 1872, eight years before Relief, which was the town’s second fire company. Additionally, the Drummond Place firehouse is now owned by St. James Church, not the borough, as previously reported.redbankgreen apologizes for the errors.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Making Red Bank history, one of the borough’s six volunteer fire companies is being retired from active duty.

Under a consolidation plan in the works for three years, the Relief Engine Company, stranded for the past two years without a firetruck, will become a keeper of borough firefighting history, Chief Stu Jensen announced Wednesday.

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RED BANK: THREE HONORED FOR LONGEVITY

The Red Bank council and two state legislators honored three people for longevity Wednesday night. Among them: Edith Blake, above, who celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday.

Blake told redbankgreen she didn’t know what all the “fuss” was about.

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RED BANK: PRESERVATIONISTS CONCERNED

A website posting by the prospective buyer of two Red Bank buildings listed on an inventory of historic properties hints at big changes to come. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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.

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RED BANK: NEW HISTORY IN FORTUNE HOUSE

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.

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FAIR HAVEN: BACK TO THE FOREFRONT

After spending the last five months on rails at the back of a River Road, Fair Haven lot, a 150-year old old house-turned-retail structure was slid into place over a new foundation at the front last week.

What’s Going On Here? Read on.

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RED BANK: MURPHY TOUTS ‘SENSE’ ON GUNS

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, with Brett Sabo of Moms Demand Action at right, in Riverside Gardens Park Friday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

At a no-surprises event held in Red Bank, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy picked up an endorsement from a group pushing for “common sense gun laws” Friday.

Addressing a clutch of supporters and at least two local GOP officials in Riverside Gardens Park, Murphy pledged to reject an “us versus them” approach to dealing with gun-rights advocates while pressing for ways to reduce firearms violence in New Jersey.

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RED BANK: BROWNSTONES PROJECT APPROVED

Mumford’s plan calls for the demolition of six existing structures, including the blocklong factory building at 9 Catherine Street, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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.

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RED BANK: UP NEXT: MUMFORD TOWNHOUSES

A rendering of builder Roger Mumford’s proposed Brownstones at Red Bank project. (Click to enlarge)

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.

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RED BANK: RACIAL ROOTS OF MEMORIAL DAY

Walter Greason in 2014.   (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

As part of a continuing series of discussions called “Let’s Talk About Race,” the Red Bank Public Library hosts a lecture Wednesday night on “The Surprising Origins of Memorial Day.”

RED BANK: HOMEBUILDER EYES FACTORIES

A cluster of industrial buildings between Catherine Street, above, and River Street would be razed for new brownstones, according to the prospective builder. Part of the site abuts the Cedar Crossing homes, seen in the distance above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A block of factory buildings on Red Bank’s West Side, including some old millworks and a former guitar factory, could give way to new housing in coming months, redbankgreen has learned.

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