We’re part of the Phillipsburg Area Historical Society

Posted in Uncategorized on May 28th, 2009 by flg

We’ve worked out an agreement with the Historical Society for recognition as a standing committee of the organization. That makes sense, because the Society was originally organized in 1972 expressly to save and restore the Roseberry house. Since the Society is already a 501(c)3 corporation, all contributions are tax deductible.

Attending the meeting were Phillipsburg Area Historical Society President Wayne Sherrer, Vice President Randy Piazza, and Treasurer Carol Stocker, for the Society, Mayor Harry Wyant, Helene Meissner, head of Phillipsburg’s Ole Towne Festival. Roseberry Homestead volunteers Scott Curzi, Ed & Donna-Marie Saultz, Diane Wilson, Brien Lee, and Frank Greenagel; also attending was architect Michael Margulies, AIA, who we expect to work with on the stabilization and restoration process.

We’ll have an announcement about our plans for our participation in the Ole Towne Festival in the next couple of weeks.

work schedule – May 23

Posted in work plan / schedule on May 22nd, 2009 by flg

We’ll be there by 10 am on Saturday. Lots of scraping of walls, but not in the rooms on left side on the ground floor, where we’ve noticed some amazing wall painting—mostly stylized flowers and floral patterns. We’ve done a lot of preping and patching of ceilings, so there’s a lot of debris on the floor—more clean-up needed. Do bring a scraper and a mask if you plan on helping—the dust raised really is noxious. Even if you can’t stay long, c’mon by and talk with us about our progress, what we’ve found, and how our plans are developing.

stabilization & restoration practices

Posted in work plan / schedule on May 18th, 2009 by flg

As we come closer to getting rid of the debris that has accumulated inside the building we will turn our attention to chipping loose paint from the walls, cleaning up the floors and repairing the ceilings, which are in terrible shape. As we do this we will be guided by the practices recommended by the U.S. Department of the Interior for the preservation of historic structures. They have quite an interesting website that specifies acceptable and not recommended practices. We’d really like to have every volunteer read a least a few sections—some are devoted to exterior walls and masonry, some to windows and others to finishes. There are illustrations accompanying the guidelines, and often some explanation of why a specific practice—such as sandblasting masonry—is a bad idea. I think you’ll have a greater appreciation of our work, and of other historic structures that have been restored after you’ve read a few sections.

Here’s the link to the website Standards for Rehabilitation—there’s also a quick list of some practices that we want to be sure to avoid; it’s labeled Not Recommended Practices under the Of Interest (Offsite Links).

work schedule – May 16

Posted in work plan / schedule on May 14th, 2009 by flg

We’ll work in the two front rooms on the ground floor—scraping paint and crud from the walls and floors and chair rail moldings. Bring masks and brooms and scrappers, if you can. We’ll also clean up and haul away some of the debris that’s accumulated outside the building. I’ll be there by 10am—probably a bit earlier; Scott is going to be down in South Carolina on Saturday, but promised to get a door on before he leaves.

working conditions

Posted in Uncategorized on May 4th, 2009 by flg

Bob shoveling debris

work schedule

Posted in work plan / schedule on May 4th, 2009 by flg

We’ll be working this Saturday, May 9, rain or shine. There will be someone there by 10am, maybe earlier.

We’ve cleaned up quite a bit, but the place still has a lot of debris on the floor, so if you have a face mask, bring it.  If you can, also bring a small broom, brush or dustpan, and work gloves, too.

We have one really nasty job ahead of us—tearing down the poison ivy on the exterior of the building. We’ll put some Round-up on them this week, but that doesn’t mean anything if you are handling the vines—killing them does not eliminate the oils that produce the rash.  If you are especially susceptible, don’t even consider helping with this. If you aren’t and can cover up well, then bring gloves, a hat, long-sleeve shirt and clippers or long-handled shears. It has to be done, and the sooner the better.

view our 16-page booklet

Posted in Uncategorized on May 3rd, 2009 by flg

You can  view our 16-page booklet by clicking on the highlighted link. It has a number of photos of the house as we found it late in April, and a little historical background. We’ll soon have a few copies printed, so let us know if you have a use for one. Quantities will be very limited since it is expensive to produce.

Caution – work zone ahead…

Posted in volunteers & sponsors on May 2nd, 2009 by wpw

Who says men don’t clean house? Activities from Tuesday, April 28.

Scott Curzi checks out the kitchen fireplace

Scott Curzi checks out the kitchen fireplace

Randy Payne sweeps debris.

Randy Piazza sweeps debris.

Randy Payne, Frank Greenagel & Scott Curzi examine the piano.

Randy Piazza, Frank Greenagel & Scott Curzi examine the piano.

Scott answers questions from a passing school group.

Scott answers questions from a passing school group.

some background on the property

Posted in some more history on May 2nd, 2009 by flg

The Roseberry Homestead (also referred to as the Walter Gess House) is a classic Georgian house, erected of rough-cut quarry stone between 1765 and 1783. It is a two-and-a-half story, five bay plan, two rooms deep, with a center through hall. There is an attached one-and-a-half story stone kitchen, which was probably built about 1783. There are three chimneys—two rising from the gable ends of the main block, and the third from the gable end of the kitchen. There is a large cooking fireplace in the kitchen, with a removed brick oven. A winder stair on the fireplace wall leads to the loft above. The front of the house is on the downhill side, allowing for a walk-in cellar. There was a porch extending across the entire front, permitting access to the higher level first floor, but that has long since disappeared.

John Roseberry, Sr. was one of the original settlers in Phillipsburg. It is very likely the oldest existing structure in Phillipsburg and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

There is much ambiguity about the chain of ownership of the property before Roseberry. Two things are clear: (1) It was owned by Col. Daniel Coxe of Trenton in 1715, and (2) John Roseberry did not built it; the house was already there when he purchased the property. We have a good idea who did build the place—he’s connected to several of the important names of the Revolutionary period (Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, even John Marshall). We’ll have more information soon—there are a few more details to double check before we go public.

work schedule

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2nd, 2009 by flg

We had a number of first-time visitors today and all asked when we expected to be here working on the place. Generally, we plan on being here every Saturday from about 10am to about 3 pm, but that could change—even at the last minute. We’ll try to keep the work schedule up-to-date at this website, so check back here whenever you have a few hours free and would be willing to help.

The clean-up has just started but we’re seeing some progress. We’ve picked up what look to be old hand-made nails attaching the lath to the “studs” and perhaps some original stenciling on one of the walls. And we think there are quite a few of the original floorboards–nice wide boards in several of the rooms.