follow-up to the Festival

Posted in programs & activities on July 30th, 2009 by flg

We’re still pretty euphoric about the crowd we drew and their reactions to what has been accomplished on the house. But two reactions were consistently voiced—why wait until late September to have another meeting of the Phillipsburg Area Historical Society? and What kind of programs are we going to be presenting here in addition to opening the place for school tours? Clearly, we need to form a small committee to work on those issues—enough people to be representative of different perspectives but few enough to get something done. Ed Saultz and I will get things rolling in the next week or two with a list of some possibilities. We’ll post that list here and try to conduct an online poll, and we’ll talk to people who offered some suggestions.

You can also add a suggestion by leaving a note in the Comments panel below. Don’t be afraid—you can’t wreck anything!

Ole Towne Festival schedule – July 25-26

Posted in work plan / schedule on July 23rd, 2009 by flg

The Roseberry Homestead will be open for limited tours between noon and 5 pm on both Saturday and Sunday. We’ll have several rooms available, including the center hall, the parlor, the “living room” and the old kitchen. We may guide a very limited number of people through the upstairs rooms, although a final decision has not been made on that. The house is stable, and there is a coat of paint on three of the rooms, but we are still in the early stages of securing the building, so no one should expect an elegantly-restored eighteenth-century manor. But we’re pretty proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last few months, and we’re looking forward to our first visitors.

John Torkos of the 22nd Regiment

John Torkos of the 22nd Regiment

On Saturday, John Torkos, a British Revolutionary War soldier will talk about his “kit,” and the role of his regiment in the Revolution. John is very knowledgeable about the late Colonial/Revolutionary War period, so his appearance is sure to be of broad interest. He’ll be available from 1:30 to about 4 pm, Saturday only.

Sunday will offer a sample of the roots of American music.

12:30 – 1:15 pm – Russ Cole and Kim Newell will treat all to a Colonial Fife and Drum concert complete with discussions about the music, the tradition, and their application in pre and post Revolutionary society.

1:30 to 2:15 pm – The lovely Theresa Couture, a brilliant Sean Nós (Old Style) singer, will treat all to a presentation of some of Ireland’s great ballads as well as discuss their origins and importance in Irish culture.

2:30 to 3:15 pm – The brilliant band Sonas will treat all to the great music of Cape Breton.

3:30 to 4:15 pm – Ed Saultz and friends will treat all to some of Ireland’s traditional dance music (the jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, and airs) as well as some of her traditional songs.

4:15 to 5:00 pm – We’ll all take the stage together for some tunes and song!

Ed Saultz put together this program and all the musicians have volunteered their time to offer this as an introduction to the educational and cultural goals of the Roseberry Homestead restoration.

work schedule – week of July 19

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

Just one week left before Olde Towne Festival and lots to do. We’ll install the three remaining windows today, and perhaps get the temporary plywood flooring down in the kitchen. We still need to level the ground at the rear and spread the woodchips. Randy Piazza has been cutting up the big tree limbs that were taken down, but more need to be sawn up and taken away. And we want to get a coat of paint on the kitchen walls. Bob Gloor did a nice job on one of the upstairs bedrooms, and Dan Seyler has been vacuuming  several of the major rooms downstairs. We’ll probably be working at little things right up until the first visitor arrives. Your help is needed.

By the way, we’d like to have people available next Saturday and Sunday during the Festival. You may be able to guide visitors through the house, or just be there to answer questions (and maybe sign-up new members or volunteers). A Revolutionary War re-enactor (British version) will be there Saturday afternoon, and several groups performing musical selections with Celtic, Scottish, Irish roots will perform on Sunday afternoon. No sign-up is necessary—just show up when you have an hour or so.

Historical Society meeting – this Thursday

Posted in Uncategorized on July 14th, 2009 by flg

The Phillipsburg Area Historical Society will hold its first meeting in two years on July 16 at 7 pm at the Town Hall. I will show some photographs of the notable architectural features of the Roseberry Homestead and outline what we know about John Tabor Kempe, the original builder of the place, and his role in the pre-Revolutionary period. We’ll discuss the long-range plans for the restoration of the house, and Randy Piazza will note some of the other historic properties in the area.

We also expect to discuss how to get the Society cranked up to support the ambitious plans and activities concerning the Roseberry Homestead.

Warren County Preservation Grant

Posted in work plan / schedule on July 7th, 2009 by flg

Last night Michael Margulies, our architect, and I met with the board of the County’s Land & Historic Preservation agency in a preliminary review of our application for a grant of $122,000 for the initial phase of stabilization and preservation of the Roseberry house.  There were several questions about the property, which only a few people there were familiar with; the questions concerned the security of the building once it was restored, the use to which it would be put, the level of commitment of the town to the long-term prospects for the place and its role in the area’s history. Sometime after August 15 they will schedule a formal presentation, and then a visit to the site. Following that, they will make a recommendation to the County Freeholders, who will decide on this and other applications in early December. One board member asked when we might expect to have the place open for visitors—I think all were pleasantly surprised when I said we would entertain several hundred people on July 25 and 26 in conjunction with the Ole Towne Festival.

As we get a little further along in developing a long-range plan for the place, we’ll outline more of our thoughts—not only for preservation and restoration, but for the activities and uses that might be made of the property. We are committed to a large measure of community involvement, so we’ll probably hold our own “hearings” —inviting public comment as well as input from the many people who have been volunteering these past several weeks. I believe everyone close to the project sees this as an extended process, with the restoration proceeding apace with our efforts to develop programs and activities that enhance the educational value of the Roseberry homestead to the community.