in memory of Scott Curzi

Posted in Uncategorized on November 16th, 2009 by flg

Scott-showing-off-his-grapesOn Friday, November 13 we lost Scott Curzi, the driving force behind the push to preserve the Roseberry house. He had a heart attack on Monday, and although he seemed to be recovering, died on Friday. Most of you who read this knew Scott and knew what he meant to Phillipsburg—we didn’t require the local papers remind us of his many preservation efforts with the buildings along South Main. But only a few knew about another half dozen (at least) other projects and activities he sponsored or assisted with. The town should be draped in black, and flags flown at half-mast in recognition of what we have lost. His energy and enthusiasm were infectious, and seemingly boundless. And now he has been taken from us.

The drive to preserve and restore the Roseberry house will continue; we have resolved that it will not miss a step because of his absence. Generations yet unborn will eventually learn something of the town’s connection to the late-Colonial and Revolutionary era in their tours of the house, but those who knew Scott will see little reminders of him and his continuing presence in the house itself, and we will recall the energy, the usually paint-splattered sweatshirts that he wore, the impulsive acts of kindness, his commitment to the town and its history, and his ability to suffuse some of the simplest tasks of restoration with a significance that stimulated us to greater effort.

Conservancy Trust Approves Application

Posted in Uncategorized on November 11th, 2009 by flg

The Warren County Municipal and Charitable Conservancy Trust Fund Committee met on November 9th and voted unanimously to recommend that the Warren County Freeholders approve our application for a $247,000 grant to stabilize and preserve the Roseberry Homestead. This is a very big first step. If the Freeholders approve (and we have some confidence they will—money for the grant has already been encumbered) then we expect to have a very busy year.

We’ll have funds to engage an architect (Michael Margulies) to help us prepare a long-range Preservation Plan and to supervise contractors who will actually carry out the many tasks needed to secure the shell of the building; to fund the work of archaeologists (Hunter Research) to dig under the kitchen floor and around the perimeter of the building; and to pay preservation specialists (Keystone Preservation Group and possibly others) to study and preserve the wall paintings and stenciling. Included in the application was funding for completely repointing the stone work, installing authentic reproduction windows and doors, reconstructing the front porch, and restoring the attached kitchen to its eighteenth-century condition.

None of that work can technically begin before about February 2010, but our planning will begin almost immediately. That Preservation Plan will have to be approved by the state’s Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and all work will be done strictly in accordance with the guidelines issued by the U. S. Department of the Interior (which are available via a link on this blog). Long before we bring that preservation plan to SHPO (better get used to that acronym—you’ll be hearing  it a lot) we’ll sketch out a preliminary version for the Phillipsburg Area Historical Society and seek comments and suggestions—this is a task for public participation, not just something for the professionals.

Finesville – Siegletown Historic District

Posted in Uncategorized on November 4th, 2009 by wpw

We’d like to offer our heartfelt congratulations to the Pohatcong Historical Society for their achievement in getting the FInesville-Siegletown Historic District on the NJ Register of Historic Places. Next step for them is the National Register of Historic Places. We visited several houses in the District during the recent house tour – they have some fine properties.