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News, conversation and information on historic preservation in New Jersey, brought to you by Preservation New Jersey. Founded in 1978, PNJ advocates for and promotes historic preservation to protect and enhance the vitality and heritage of New Jersey’s richly diverse communities. PNJ is the only statewide private membership-supported historic preservation organization in New Jersey.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Douglas McVarish permalink
    June 24, 2009 6:54 pm

    Just wanted to let you know…the fight for the Westmont Theatre in Haddon Township, Camden County, continues. On Tuesday, the New Jersey State Review Board voted to recommend it for the NJ Register over the objections of the owner (Camden County) and the lessee (the Township).

    The organization, Neighbors Celebrating the Westmont, is fighting to save the theatre.

  2. January 18, 2010 6:22 pm

    Time’s running out to save the beautiful and historic 1800s-era Life Saving Station in Ocean City. Check out our web site, share our story, and visit us on February 13.

  3. peter primavera permalink
    June 2, 2011 5:17 pm

    Can someone explain why the Petty’s Run Site is “Endangered?”

    My understanding is that the site has been known about for many years. The experts on the subject being the very respected Ian Burrow and Richard Hunter.

    The site first became an issue when the Trenton State Park Project was being considered. Several of the design teams competing for the project were made aware of it. Some teams thought it would be a very nice interpretive exhibit to have the site excavated, the materials analyzed, and then leave the excavation open with a projective structure, much like we see at Franklin Court in Philadelphia, a commendable idea, while unbelievabley expensive to do. Other team knew the project costs were extremely tight and this was a feature that could not be done, but would remain in the ground for a furture park expansion to include. The DEP selection and manangement committee had clearly decided they wanted the site excavated.

    Further, while exposing such a site might provide great educational possibilities, it would be very expensive to complete and to run for that purpose. Given the historic sites within a stone’s throw like the Old Barracks, and the State Capitol that teater on the brink of closing, seems to me that state money spent on a luxury we can not afford.

    Further, all archaeologists will tell you. Archaeology is inherently destructive. To excavate an archaelogical site one must destroy all or most of it. So we have a conservation ethic that requires us to leave sites untouched, that do not need to be disturbed.

    So at the point, A very professional excavation has been conducted by highly regarded archaeologists, at a very high price to the state and therefore taxpayers, but some of the site has been affected or detroyed to do so, What remains are primarily the subsurface architectural remmnants of the former historic furnace.

    Once the state ran out of money, which everyone know would happen on this project, the excavated site became an expendable component of the park. The options were to leave it open and unprotected, which no one wants, or to rebury in a meticulous and measured manner, so it can be exposed at a later date. In the mean time the report of the exavations and thousands of artifacts, drawings and photos could be used to illustrate and interpret the site all over the state and region.

    So, what exactly is endangered PNJ?

    Footnote: I have no political axe to grind, in fact I did not vote for the current adminstration.

    • June 7, 2011 3:10 pm


      Please re-read the “10 Most Endangered” summary on Petty’s Run, which appears on the PNJ website. It very clearly defines our point of view.

      Your comment asserts that “no one wants” to leave the site open. However, it is precisely the dig’s exposure that enables it to function as an educational tool. Artifacts, drawings, and maps are important, but is anything really comparable to the opportunity to experience the site in person? Just as we would argue that architectural salvage, drawings, and photos do not substitute for the preservation of a historic building, we would argue that in this case, artifacts, maps and drawings tell only part of the story.

      Reburying the dig negates its ability to educate, and in large part wastes all of the taxpayer dollars that have been expended on this project thus far. If the dig were stabilized as is, artifacts, drawings and maps could still be used to illustrate and interpret the site throughout the region, and better yet, all of this interpretation could point to an incomparable historic place that the public could actually see and experience. Consider the experience of visiting the Forum in Rome juxtaposed with seeing a traveling exhibit on Ancient Rome. Do the two really compare? As historic preservationists, it is this incomparable experience of place that we must continually reinforce as impossible to substitute.

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