Fifth-grade essay winners and structural preservation efforts recognized

FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Historical Commission recently announced both the Preservation Award winners for 2010 and the winners of the annual fifth-grade essay contest.

Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry congratulated all of the award winners, particularly the youngsters who wrote about Monmouth County’s history.

The 2010 first-place essay winner was Allison Schecher of St. Leo the Great School, Lincroft, who focused on one of her ancestors, George Lamb, who fought n the Civil War. Her essay earned her a $100 bond. Seond-place finisher was Rachael Passantino of Land O’Pines School in Howell whose piece about the Old Ardena Schoolhouse in Howell earned her a $75 bond.

“In 1864 he was captured and brought to a prison called Andersonville in Georgia,” Schecher wrote. “About 10,000 men died in Andersonville. There was little food, very little amounts of water and shelter. My great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was one of the survivors.

“When he was released from Andersonville, he walked to a jewelry store in New York City,” she continued. “He bought a locket for his girlfriend, Mary Elizabeth. Every bride in our family wears the locket on her wedding day. It is a huge part of history and I am looking forward to wearing it.”

“One visit to the Old Ardena Schoolhouse made be realize how fortunate I am to be living in this decade,” Passantino wrote. “The teachers had no computers or projectors to teach with. All of the people had so little technology and worked so much harder. We take our technology for granted.”

For his third-place prize, Andrew Catalano of Robertsville Elementary School in Marlboro wrote an essay about how his visit to the Battle of Monmouth re-enactment at Monmouth Battlefield State Park helped him understand what it took to win American independence. He earned a $50 bond.

“It was better than seeing a History Channel movie because I was able to see and experience the battle as it must have been on June 28, 1778,” Catalano wrote. “I felt the hot, June sun on my back and my T-shirt sticking to the sweat on my back. I remember feeling the butterflies in my stomach. I realized how brave they were to face the enemy and die for their country.

“All of the essays were well-researched and well-written,” Freeholder Burry said. “Monmouth County is rich in history and I am glad to know that our young people are growing up with the desire to know more about it. Congratulations to all of you on your fine efforts.”

In addition to the essays, preservation awards were given to the owners of property who have engaged in successful preservation projects on their own.

Private residences predominated among the nine awards given to eight properties and one architect, but a key business building in Millstone Township was subject of an award to D. Morgan Tracy, who adaptively converted the Perrineville School to business use. The project is important to help preserve small early 20th century schools no longer suited for educational purposes.

The Freehold Township Preservation Commission was given an award for the Oakley Farm complex of buildings and its active use by a diversified public. The buildings give a good glimpse of farm life in the early 20th century in a farmstead that includes a main house with 18th century origins.


Refurbished Building 22 at Sandy Hook.

The New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium has accomplished a significant restoration of Barracks Building Number 22 at Fort Hancock, Sandy Hook. The project is particularly noteworthy as major good news to come from an area where preservation recently was the subject of acrimony and too many buildings face continued neglect.


(Left to right) Historical Commissioner Robert A. Schoeffling, Claire Antonucci, U.S. Park Ranger Pete McCarthy, and Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry.

Norma and Susan Godzak have a modest, but crucial house in the Middletown Township historic district. They undertook their project over time, using care in respecting the past knowing that every structure is important in the district.

Leslie Ferrier and James McGlynn took 14 years to complete their preservation of 605 Seventh Ave., Asbury Park. It exemplifies the long-term commitment preservationists give to their homes.

The small business district in Fair Haven is sensitive to any change in a town where older properties are too often at risk. Leo DiPilato and Vincent Buono and their Jones Hollow organization carefully preserved the structure at 774 River Rd. with a project that enhances the entire block.

Gregory Goldman and Yvette Cataneo own Boxwood Hall, one of the most important of Freehold houses, a building that was moved from its site at the rear of Monument Park when the present Monmouth County Courthouse was expanded. They came across 19 Schanck Street by chance, knew instantly it was what they wanted and lovingly preserved the place for the next generation.

Alexander and Vanessa Mulheren’s 99 Rumson Rd., Rumson house is an early 20th century masterpiece by the great country house architect Harrie Lindeberg, one that was carved in the early 1950s by removing a major east wing that formed two other residences when moved to nearby lots.

That end of the house needed a major redesign, while the house, now in its 10th decade, needed additional preservation work. Their architects Anderson/Campanella, also of Rumson skillfully redesigned an appropriate wing for that east end and added estate buildings that enhanced the fine residence’s suitability for modern living. Both owners and architects were given awards.