Local Awards Given for Historic Preservation

by Press Release-Burlington County | May 28, 2006
Local Awards Given for Historic Preservation Burlington County Freeholders presented six awards to residents and organizations for their historic preservation work and accepted a State award for restoration of the first of several Historic Smithville Park village houses from the late 1800s.

John McKinney Jr., a member of the NJ Historic Sites Council, presented the award to the Freeholders for the rehabilitation and adaptive use of the village’s largest two-story building. The building is a key structure along the Park Avenue streetscape where workers for industrialist Hezekiah B. Smith once lived. “Historic preservation not only saves landmarks and landscapes; it revitalizes areas and brings people together for a common good,” said Deputy Director William S. Haines, Jr.

“The restoration of this first Smithville village house is part of our Master Plan for the park, which has more than a dozen historic buildings,” Haines said.

The building had previously been used as two adjacent houses, probably managers’ houses during the time of Smith’s woodworking and bicycle manufacturing until the 1920s. The building is currently being used as office space for Parks and Cultural Affairs and Tourism.

Historic Preservation Award Categories
Preservation or Restoration Project - John and Suzanne Criqui of Riverton for accurate restoration of their 1870s home on Howard Street. Honorable Mention – Southampton Historical Society for post-flood (July 13, 2004) restoration of the Historic Vincentown-Tabernacle Telephone Building which reopened as a museum last fall.

Adaptive Use/Rehabilitation – Burlington County College for restoration of the historic bank building on High Street for its Mount Holly Town Center, now used for classrooms, outreach center and student art gallery.

History Award Categories
Published History – Preservation Commission of Historic Southampton for its comprehensive website developed by Commission Chairman Todd Ditzman. Achievement and Leadership – Viola Sparagna, a founding member of the Tabernacle Historical Society for recording and preserving the history of Tabernacle Township, especially the Friendship One Room School House and the Historic Pepper House.

Education – Frank Nusbickel of Palmyra, Vice President of the Bridge Players Theatre Co., for the creation of scripts and production of plays for the H.B. Smith Mystery Theater based on characters from Smithville’s past and the tradition of performing arts introduced by the Smiths there.

In recognition of National Historic Preservation Month in May, the Freeholders also presented a proclamation to Joe Laufer who has voluntarily served as County Historian for three years, as Chair of the Burlington County Cultural and Heritage Advisory Committee, and as President of the H.B. Smith Industrial Village Conservancy. “The dedicated efforts of individuals and organizations such as those receiving awards today are vital in helping us preserve and celebrate Burlington County’s heritage,” Haines said.

For more information, contact the Division of Cultural Affairs and Tourism at (609) 265-5068.

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Author: Press Release-Burlington County

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