FREEHOLD - The Monmouth County Historical Commission gave out more than $60,000 in matching grants for historic buildings at its recent meeting, citing excellence in grant application from 19 different historic sites in 14 Monmouth County communities.

   “I am so grateful to address the grant awardees,” said Freeholder Lillian Burry, in making the presentations to representatives of each of the sites. “I passionately believe that historic preservation and know that one of the best ways to interpret our rich County history is through the preservation of our historic buildings.”  

Burry pointed out that Monmouth County has been making grants for historic preservation for 27 years; more than $1.7 million has been awarded since 1990, she said. Since all grants are on a matching fund basis, that means there has been a total commitment of more than $3.4 million for historic structures.

   The freeholder also pointed out that grants have been presented to structures that represent a variety of building where “our ancestors lived, learned, worshiped and died.” She pointed out that while some of the structures maintain their original purpose, including the First Baptist Church in Freeholder, the Shrewsbury Friends Meeting House and Avon’s Carnegie Library, others have been adaptively re-used. She cited that the Allentown Baptist Church is now the Allentown Public Library, and the former Neptune High School is now the Jersey Short Arts Center.

   Similarly, the freeholder pointed out, many “survive as witnesses to the past, carefully maintained to provide the visitor a real-time sensory experience rather than a virtual reality simulation. For these purposes, she cited the Strauss Mansion in Atlantic Highlands, the Ross Island Hut on Whale Pong Brook and the Church of the Severn Presidents in Long Branch. The Burrowes Mansion Craig House and Covenhoven house are all survivors of the American Revolution and the Allaire House and Morris-Allgor-Kittel Wheelwright Shop, now the InfoAge Science History Center, both harken back to work related sites.

   Nor has historic preservation forgotten the agricultural history of Monmouth County, Burry continued, sitting the Parker Homestead in Little Silver, Baird House in Millstone and Crawford House in Tinton Falls.

   “Congratulations to all the recipients on a job well done in maintaining sites as touchstones to our rich historical legacy in Monmouth County,” Burry concluded.