Plainfield’s Historic Lampkin House: Another State Historic Tax Credit “Poster Child”
For the Lampkin House, an 18th century Plainfield landmark, the clock is ticking. Included on PNJ’s 2009 list of the 10 most Endangered Historic Sites in New Jersey, this rare surviving example of the state’s earliest residential architecture remains vacant, continuing to deteriorate. The deceased former owner was financially impoverished, leaving the estate with no money to complete needed repairs or regular maintenance. Further, PNJ has received word that the house is now less than a month from foreclosure, and remains subject to additional liens.
The Lampkin House just needs a buyer: someone who appreciates and recognizes its significance, and wants to own a piece of New Jersey’s history. However, that buyer would also have to have not only the time, but the financial means, to satisfy multiple liens and return a 200+ year-old house that has been severely neglected to livable condition. A challenge, to say the least.
But what if there were a financial incentive? Something that could provide a potential buyer with a reward for purchasing and appropriately preserving this building? If New Jersey benefited from a state historic tax credit, there would be. Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives recently passed their state historic tax credit– if the Senate follows suit, they will complete the circle of states bordering New Jersey that have this type of credit. Every day that we remain without a state tax credit is another day that investment dollars pass up New Jersey for better opportunities in surrounding states, and another day that properties like the Lampkin House miss the opportunity for restoration.
For now, Plainfield’s Colonial-era gem and scores of properties like it wait to see if New Jersey’s legislators will enact a state historic tax credit before it’s too late. And the clock is ticking.