WOMAN’S CLUB GETS A SPRUCING-UP

The club recently installed an information display at the Broad Street entrance to the onetime Anthony Reckless homestead, and the rear and sides of the structure are being painted to match the front, below.  (Click to enlarge)

Passersby scurrying to the post office, bank and dry cleaner may have noticed a flurry of fixing-up at the Woman’s Club of Red Bank lately.

The club’s Broad Street home, in the 1870 mansion built by Anthony Reckless and listed on both the national and New Jersey registries of historic places, is getting a new coat of paint on its sides and rear to go with a facade painting of several years ago.

There’s also a new metal plaque in the front yard offering a history of the property, which the club acquired in 1921.

Read More »

BOATERS MARK RIVER TOWN’S CENTENNIAL

Fair Havenites took took to the beautiful Navesink River for a day of celebratory boat races in honor of the town’s nautical heritage as part of its ongoing centennial Saturday.

Photographer Peter Lindner was out on the water for redbankgreen.

FAIR HAVEN LAUNCHES LOOKBACK IN STYLE

Kicking off its centennial year, the Borough of Fair Haven hosted a fundraising gala at the Raven and the Peach restaurant that attracted 300 revelers Saturday night.

The $20,000 raised will help cover the cost of a daylong celebration on Saturday, June 16 that will feature a parade, a community picnic and a fireworks show at Fair Haven Fields. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

WOMAN’S CLUB GETS SECRET SETTLEMENT

That little bit of decorative cornice that overhangs the Woman’s Club fire lane cost the Bank of America. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

What’s a couple of inches of historic airspace in downtown Red Bank worth?

Officials of the Woman’s Club of Red Bank aren’t saying, following an inadvertent encroachment on their historic Broad Street home by the new next-door neighbor, the Bank of America.

Read More »

PARKER HOUSE WINS REGISTER ENTRY

parker-homestead-2007The Parker homestead, seen here in 2007, dates back to (Click to enlarge)

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.

Read More »

HISTORIC MIDDLETOWN HOUSE UP FOR SALE

nathaniel-smith-houseBuilt in Massachusetts in the early 1700s and relocated to Middletown in 1962, the former Nathaniel Smith House features exposed-rafter ceilings, as in the library, below. (Click to enlarge)

library

It took historic preservationist Mary Lou Strong more than a week to get back to redbankgreen after we called recently to inquire about her Middletown home going on the market.

She apologized for the delay, and said she simply wanted to be sure she could talk about it without crying.

It’s not just that the house – located on a tongue-tip of land bound by Navesink River Road and the anchorage to the Oceanic Bridge – is where Strong and her husband, George, raised three kids. Or that it’s filled with cherished antiques collected over a lifetime.

It’s that the house, built in Massachusetts before the United States was born, is itself the manifestation of the couple’s shared values when it comes to keeping history alive. And who knows if the next owner will want to bulldoze it into oblivion?

Read More »

BROAD STREET CLOCK RESTARTED

reussielles-clockThe Reussille’s clock was back to telling the correct time late Friday afternoon. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank’s landmark downtown clock is back to telling time, even if its owner has moved on.

The distinctive Reussille’s clock was shut off three weeks ago, when Ballew Jewelers, the successor to Reussille’s, ended a 126-year run in town.

Read More »

A COMMENT ON LOOKING BACK IN TIME

COMMENT8

Our Comment of the Week this week is nice and simple: it’s just one resident communicating to another — and the rest of us, of course — while recalling a special moment.

And it’s all in the context of a story about a calendar created to preserve a bit of Red Bank history while raising a few bucks for a local charity.

That’s community, right?

Read More »

DRAWING A PLAN FOR A WATERFRONT FUTURE

fh-williams-house-061610Unclaimed boats and kayaks will be removed next month from the beach at the former Charles Williams estate, Fair Haven officials say. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

By this time next year, Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre anticipates that the borough’s prized beachfront property at 78 DeNormandie Ave. will be open for public use.

First, though, a few things need to happen — including the demolition of the house that’s been on the property for 150 years, for one.

A formal naming, too, although the working title is “Robards Park,” in honor of the last resident of the house, Winifred Julia Decatur Robards.

Town officials also hope to answer the abiding question of what exactly to do with the property.

Read More »

COAL & FEED BUILDING DEMOLISHED

26_shrewsburyThe former Hance Coal & Feed building on Shrewsbury Avenue, seen above in 2008, was razed earlier this week, below. (Click to enlarge)

galleria-coal

A landmark barnlike structure on Red Bank’s West Side is no more.

The former Hance Coal & Feed building on Shrewsbury Avenue was taken down earlier this week by Sourlis International, owner of the Galleria at Red Bank, which plans to expand a surrounding parking lot on the site.

Read More »

RESTROOM? FOUR-YEAR WAIT, IF EVER

rb-station-1-051410A NJ Transit rendering shows the station in what officials say were its original colors. (Click to enlarge)

Where’s the restroom?

Lou and Chris Mustillo, owners of the Red Bank’s Walt Street Pub, say they get that question upwards of two dozen times a day from commuters hurrying into their establishment across Monmouth Street from the Red Bank train station, which doesn’t have a public washroom.

So last Friday night, when New Jersey Transit unveiled a station restoration plan that may take four years and consume up to $2 million in taxpayer money, the Mustillos pressed officials with the same question they and their bartenders hear all too often: where’s the bathroom?

Read More »

BACK IN TIME, ON WATER HARD & SOFT

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

The reception room of the Atrium at Navesink Harbor was packed with river rats and history mavens old and young Thursday night for short program on the history of our beautiful Navesink as a playground for recreational boaters and iceboaters.

Read More »

CALENDAR TAPS RED BANK PHOTO ARCHIVE

dorns-downtown-1951“Wiggie’s Kiddie Center?” A view north on Broad Street in 1951, from the Dorn’s Classic Images archive, is included in the calendar. (Click to enlarge and see Wiggie’s at left)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two of Red Bank’s most venerable names in commerce have gotten together for a little nostalgia trip into the borough’s past.

It’s a 12-month journey captured in photographs that show Red Bank’s buildings and streetscapes from 1940 to 1979, put into calendar form by David Prown of Prown’s Home Improvement and the husband-wife duo of George Severini and Kathy Dorn Severini oF Dorn’s Classic Images.

Read More »

HISTORIANS BLAST NJT FOR STATION NEGLECT

rb-hist-commHistoric Preservation Commission member Mary Gilligan addresses the council Monday night, joined by members George Bowden, left, and Ed Poplawski.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

For 15 years, Mary Gilligan says, she’s “watched pieces fall off” Red Bank’s train station on the North Jersey Coast Line rails. And for most of that time, except for some slapdash and historically inapt repairs, station owner New Jersey Transit has ignored the pleas of town officials to halt the decay.

Now, Gilligan and other members of the Historic Preservation Commission are hoping to “hold NJ Transit’s feet to the fire” and force it to halt the deterioration before the salmon-colored, gingerbread-trimmed structure crumbles to the asphalt.

“The building is derelict,” Gilligan told the borough council in a bluntly worded appeal for action Monday night. “There’s not another train station in this state that looks this bad.”

Read More »

PRESERVATION GROUP GETS SPOTLIGHT

hpc-washington1Historic Preservation Commission members Ed Zipprich, Michaela Ferrigine and George Bowden outside a old house on Washington Street. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It took a couple of years of legwork and hustle, but the efforts of the Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission paid off in June when the Borough Council passed an ordinance designating the Washington Street District as the borough’s first residential historic zone.

What they’ll receive on behalf of the borough tonight is like, well, the slate roof on a gingerbread Victorian.

Commission chairman George Bowden, Councilman Ed Zipprich and others are scheduled to appear at the Monmouth County Planning Board‘s annual awards ceremony at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel tonight.

They’ll be there to collect a Planning Merit Award, an honor given to towns that the board feels have made significant and positive impacts to their respective communities, said Laura Kirby, assistant planner for the county.

Read More »

RED BANK RED BRICK

2-broad-081809The plastic sheathing that had covered a scaffold on the east side of 2 Broad Street in Red Bank for months came down this week, exposing the structure’s original red brick for the first time in decades. The building, built around 1875, is to house an Urban Outfitters store slated to open later this year.

Our photo was taken from the semi-enclosed balcony at 7 Broad. (Click to enlarge)

MANSION-TO-OFFICE PLAN OK’D IN SQUEAKER

28-leroyNew owner Charlie McCague says he spent $50,000 to restore the slate-and-copper roof of the structure and will preserve the clapboard exterior and interior layout.

After a vote that sharply divided the borough planning board, one of Red Bank’s most distinctive old mansions is going commercial.

The century-old Victorian at 28 LeRoy Place is to become an accountant’s office after a vote on the conversion split the board 5-4 Monday night.

Those in favor cited the fact that the structure is in a professional office zone and argued it would serve as a buffer between nearby homes and the “abomination” of the former Sun Bank at the corner of LeRoy and Broad Street.

Those opposed said they were concerned about “creeping commercialism” and a “domino effect” leading to other homes on Leroy being turned into offices on the strength of an approval.

“No,” said Councilwoman Sharon Lee, when called on to vote. “It constitutes an assault on our historic homes.”

Read More »

PRESERVATIONISTS DEMAND STATION FIXES

img_083120090809
station-decay-080909
Peeling paint and rotting wood at the Red Bank train station have preservationists worried about “demolition by neglect.” (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission has gone on the offensive against New Jersey Transit, owner of the borough train station, for what it calls apparently “intentional” lack of maintenance.

The agency’s failure to replace a failing asphalt shingle roof or do basic painting on the circa 1875 structure constitutes “demolition by neglect,” leaving the building in “such a deteriorated state that Transit will insist they have no other option other than to demolish the structure,” the commission says in a letter presented to the borough council Monday night.

Read More »

HISTORY ON THE BLOCK, PIECE BY PIECE

fh-williams-backThe Charles Williams House, dating to the mid-19th century, will be the site of an estate sale on Saturday.

Fair Haven officials expect to hold a final debate and vote next Monday on whether to float a bond to buy and raze one of the oldest homes in town to create a riverfront park.

Meantime, on Saturday, the owners of the house built by free black man Charles Williams in 1855 are planning to sell its contents at what promises to be an unusual yard sale, redbankgreen has learned.

Read More »

FAIR HAVEN TO SEEK GREEN ACRES FUNDS

fh-williams-house2
Residents of DeNormandie Avenue have raised traffic and parking concerns about the proposed conversion of the riverfront residence to a park.

In response to concerns raised by neighbors, Fair Haven officials last night put off voting on a plan to fund the $1.2 million purchase of a one-acre parcel on the Navesink River, according to a report in today’s Asbury Park Press.

Read More »

CENTURY HOUSE EYED FOR POCKET PARK

fh-williamshouseWith its million-dollar view of the Navesink, the Charles Williams house would be razed sooner or later, locals appear to agree. Below, a weathered medallion on the doorframe marks the structure as a Century House.
(Click to enlarge)

It’s a homestead that links Fair Haven not only to its roots as a riverfront village, but to the bedrock of its identity as a place where African Americans made their homes even in the days of slavery.

The Charles Williams house, built overlooking the Navesink River in 1855, has remained in the same family without interruption, pre-Emancipation right through the death of its most recent occupant, who lived there for 90 years.

Her name was Winifred Julia Decatur Robards, and she died one year ago this week at the age of 92, adding to the rapid erosion of the borough’s small black community.

But years before her death, she and her two sons saw the end of the line coming, and planned to put the house up for sale. And now, it appears the Williams house will indeed fall to a bulldozer at the behest of its next owner: the borough of Fair Haven itself.

Read More »