Here’s the article from Sarah Wojcik at the Express-Times:
Phillipsburg Area Historical Society awards contract to Williams Township company for replacement of windows and doors at Roseberry Homestead
Monday, January 31, 2011
By SARAH M. WOJCIK
PHILLIPSBURG | Since its revival more than a year ago, the Phillipsburg Area Historical Society has taken steps to restore the historic Roseberry Homestead, but the latest step is the society’s biggest. It awarded a roughly $99,000 contract last week to R.J. Doerr Co., a Williams Township-based contractor that specializes in historic restorations. Most of the money comes from a $122,000 grant from the Warren County Municipal and Charitable Conservancy Trust Fund, with the society pulling another $20,000 from its own coffers, which were slowly filling with donations and dues.
“This is the first big expenditure that the historic society has ever made,” society member Frank Greenagel said. “It’s an enormous step, emotionally if you will. Once you have that money there’s a reluctance to spend it.” Society President Randy Piazza said the decision to invest a large chunk of its own money in the project on Warren Street near the middle school should help allay any lingering concerns about the society’s lack of progress on the homestead over the past few decades. “To me it shows the commitment that the historical society is willing to make to try and preserve the history and heritage of the town,” Piazza said. Since first organizing in the early 1970s, the Phillipsburg Area Historical Society’s membership gradually faded and Greenagel said projects had a hard time gaining traction as the group focused on several different ventures. The narrower focus of the newly revived group aims to tackle specific projects, the Colonial Roseberry Homestead chief among them. “You’re talking about pride and ownership,” Piazza said of the effort.
The scope of work
Bob Doerr, founder of R.J. Doerr Co., said he hopes to begin work within the next month replacing most of the doors and windows in the Georgian-style home. Doerr, whose 21-year-old company has worked on Easton’s Bachmann Publick House and the 1750/1761 Smithy in Bethlehem, said the Roseberry Homestead is unique because so much of the original structure remains. “That’s somewhat rare,” he said. “You’re going to get a true sense at the end of the project of what was originally there.” Architect Michael Margulies has designed the renovation, which includes restoring and replacing the building’s doors and windows, according to Doerr. “No two windows require the same exact scope of work unless it’s a replacement,” he said. Greenagel said Doerr’s expertise and experience in period architecture gave the company the edge. The society sought proposals from as many as nine firms, including one as far away as Chicago.
“It’s just a delight to find someone so close that has this kind of experience,” Greenagel said. Renovating a building registered with the state Historic Preservation Office is complicated, he said. “Unfortunately we can’t go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and order aluminum (windows). They really have to be as historic as possible,” Greenagel said. Doerr said his workers embrace the challenge. “None of my guys get involved in this business to just do the boilerplate projects,” Doerr said. “It’s very gratifying restoring (historic properties). You feel like you’re doing some broader public good.”
Greenagel said the money used to pay for the latest improvements to the homestead will not come out of the sizable Scott Curzi Memorial Fund set up to remember the passionate preservation enthusiast who died in November 2009. “We thought there would be a better way to remember Scott than installing a couple of windows in his name,” Greenagel said. The society is working with Curzi’s family to identify a broader, educational use for the roughly $13,000 fund established at the society in his name.
The society is still awaiting word on a $50,000 grant from the Garden State Historic Trust that Greenagel expects to learn about in the coming weeks.