RED BANK: TRINITY LAUNCHES FUNDRAISER


Using drone video, Trinity Church, Red Bank’s oldest house of worship, took it  heavenward to promote restoration work on its 170-year old chapel and bell tower.

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RED BANK: BIG DOORS, BIG TOOTH ON AGENDA

26  West on the Navesink, above, and the nameless restaurant planned for 3-5 Broad Street, below, hope to install garage-style openings. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two downtown Red Bank restaurants will seek permission to install garage-style front doors when the Historic Preservation Commission meets Wednesday night.

Also on the unusually busy agenda for the advisory body: a dentist needs a tooth pulled.

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RED BANK: DREAMING BIG ABOUT RIVERVIEW

A video created by a Philadelphia architectural firm shows a vastly expanded Riverview Medical Center campus. (Video by BKT Architects. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njOver more than a dozen years of amassing Red Bank real estate, officials at Riverview Medical Center have been silent on an obvious question: what do they plan to do with their growing land bank?

They’re still not saying. But someone went to the expense of hiring an architecture and urban planning firm to come up with blue-sky concept plans for Riverview, redbankgreen has learned. And he just made a killing selling the hospital some real estate.

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RED BANK: RIVERVIEW DEAL YIELDS WINDFALL

The prices of vacant lots quadrupled in less than four years when they were sold to Riverview in late December. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe latest addition to Riverview Medical Center’s Red Bank real estate holdings yielded a windfall gain for the seller, redbankgreen has learned.

Why the hospital paid a whopping price for the site remains unanswered.

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RED BANK: BASIE TOUR & MORE ON AN APP

An app-in-development reported on by redbankgreen last September is now available, offering users its first history tour of Red Bank.

The tour spotlights significant places in the early life of William ‘Count’ Basie, the world-renowned bandleader who grew up in a Mechanic Street house on the site of the one shown above.

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RED BANK: SPLASHY ‘STASH’ WINDOWS OK’D

A rendering shows the window clings that will cover one side of the vestibule of the new Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. (Image by South Shore Sign Company. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWith filmmaker Kevin Smith deploying some characteristically colorful language, Red Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission endorsed splashy signage at the new home of Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: ‘STASH’ SIGNAGE UP FOR REVIEW

Filmmaker Kevin Smith  is in the process of relocating his store to 65 Broad Street, seen above in 2014. Below, illustrations filed with the HPC application. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission is slated to review plans for signage on three Broad Street businesses Wednesday night: a new pizzeria, a new juice bar, and the new home of Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash.

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RED BANK: MANSION RAZED; MORE LAND EYED

The planning board approved the demolition of 95 East Front Street in July, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njTurning aside pleas by historic preservationists, Riverview Medical Center demolished a 19th-century Red Bank mansion Monday.

Meantime, the hospital is planning to gobble up more real estate, redbankgreen has learned: a vacant lot directly across East Front Street from the mansion.

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RED BANK: HOSPITAL PLAN DRAWS HPC IRE

red bank 95 east front 111920 2The planning board approved the demolition of 95 East Front Street in July, 2019, but the building remains vacant and intact. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njPent-up frustration over the apparent fate of a former Red Bank mansion erupted at the first pandemic-era meeting of the Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday night.

Commission member Kal Pipo ripped the planning board for allowing the the demolition of a Victorian mansion two doors away from Riverview Medical Center – and said Mayor Pasquale Menna “sounded like he was the lawyer for” the hospital at that hearing where that decision was made.

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SHREWSBURY: WEDDING GOWNS IN SPOTLIGHT

The exhibit includes a 1908 wedding dress made of silk messaline satin “in a formal Gibson Girl style,” according to the catalog. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Shrewsbury Historical Society plans an unusual unveiling this weekend.

Or perhaps it’s more apt to call it a veiling, because the subject is wedding dresses across more than a century and a half of American life.

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RED BANK: ILLUMINATING THE TOWN’S PAST

Marjorie Cavalier in Red Bank with the replacement Port of Red Bank sign she championed. The old sign  was already in bad shape in 2011, as seen at right in the photo below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A weather-beaten historical marker in Red Bank’s Marine Park was replaced last month, after some gentle lobbying by a recently retired teacher and history buff.

But Marjorie Cavalier, who pushed for replacement of the illegible ‘Port of Red Bank’ sign, isn’t finished. She’s now turned her attention to development of an app to help illuminate borough’s past. Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: ROBERT SICKLES SR. DIES

bob sickles sr. 042208Robert Sickles Sr. riding his cherished 1948 John Deere MT tractor in 2008. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Robert Sickles Sr., the patriarch of a family farm in Little Silver that traces its agricultural roots back more than three centuries, died “peacefully at his home” Monday, according to an obituary posted by Thompson Funeral Home in Red Bank Wednesday.

He was 92 years old.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE SETS ‘BASIE 2020’ SKED

william count basie postersImages of William ‘Count’ Basie on display at the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center last week. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, built to honor a pioneering African-American journalist with Red Bank ties, plans to spotlight the borough-born musical giant William ‘Count’ Basie through 2020.

The occasion is the 85th anniversary of the formation of the Count Basie Orchestra, which is still touring 36 years after its founder’s death.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL WRAP

Mayor Pasquale Menna, seen here at the Town Light-up in November, kicked off his pre-council meetups with little advance notice. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

It was another quick night as the Red Bank council held its second regular session of 2020 Wednesday night.

A light agenda saw the governing body wrap up public business in under 30 minutes before going behind closed doors to discuss litigation and a lease.

Here’s a recap.

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MIDDLETOWN: GEORGE BOWDEN DIES

red bank george bowdenGeorge Bowden, right, with Historic Preservation Commission members Charles Nickerson and Michaela Ferrigine in 2016. Below, Bowden spearheaded the borough’s centennial celebration and parade in 2009.(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank george bowdenGeorge Bowden, once dubbed “the Energizer bunny” of historic preservation in Red Bank, died at home in Middletown Sunday. He was 92 years old.

Galvanized into action in 2001, after the borough allowed the demolition of an old house on West Front Street, Bowden became a champion for old and neglected structures in town.

Not least of those was the T. Thomas Fortune House, which was resurrected from near-oblivion earlier this year, more than a decade after Bowden and others launched a campaign to save it.

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FAIR HAVEN: PARK OPENS ON OLD HOUSE SITE

fair haven williams albert robards park Local officials lined the shoreline of the Navesink River for the park opening. Below, the house that formerly stood on the site, as seen in 2009. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

fh-williams-backMore than a decade after it began, an effort to turn prime riverfront property in Fair Haven into a park ended with a ribbon-cutting Tuesday evening.

Dubbed “Williams, Albert and Robards Park” for the successive generations of the family that lived there, the site at the northern end of Denormandie Avenue will now serve as a place for “contemplation,” Mayor Ben Lucarelli told several dozen onlookers at a brief ceremony.

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FAIR HAVEN: CLUB LANDS HISTORIC LISTINGS

fair haven shrewsbury sailing yacht 080519The Shrewsbury River Yacht Club began in a one-story houseboat acquired by a group of vacationing actors in 1910. Below, an undated photo from the early days of the Players Boat Club. (Photo above by John T. Ward; below, courtesy of SRYC. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Shrewsbury River Yacht Club undated The bawdy entertainment culture that spawned it is long gone. So is the Red Bank houseboat that served as its first home. Even the name of the river on which it sits has changed.

But the Shrewsbury River Yacht Club, founded by a bunch of vaudevillians vacationing in Fair Haven more than a century ago, lives on. And now, the successor to the club’s original Navesink River gathering spot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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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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