“This grant will help breathe new life into one of our most historic landmarks,” said Mayor Stephanie Murray. “I’m looking forward to seeing the Grover House become a vital part of the community again, filled with energy and activity.”
The project will include rehabilitation of the roof line, porch, shutters, and downspouts. The work is part of larger restoration plan that includes repairing and restoring the exterior and interior utilities of the Grover House. The Navesink Maritime Heritage Association (NMHA), which leases the house and part of the park from the township, plans to refurbish and remodel the interior space for use as offices, meeting rooms and educational programming. Middletown and the NMHA will remain partners in the house’s upkeep, said Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante.
Over the next three years, the NMHA expects to embark on a staged development project, beginning with the basement, followed by the first and second floors of the residential building. The non-profit also plans to erect a 1,600 square foot maritime activity center that would be used to teach adults and youth about small boat building. It would be a one-story post-and-beam type building that matches the aesthetics of the Grover House, he said. The NMHA will be seeking additional grant funding.
This is the second grant received for the Grover House from the New Jersey Historic Trust. In 2002, the township received $300,000 in funding to complete the exterior work, he said.
The Grover House is a rare surviving example of two-story, Dutch timber framing and the use of round-butt shingles as cladding. The house was constructed circa 1730 by the descendants of James Grover, one of the original 12 patentees of the Monmouth Patent. It was first moved in 1953 to make way for the Garden State Parkway and a second time in 1996 when a suburban subdivision threatened its demolition. The house now rests off West Front Street at Stevenson Park. The house remained in the family until the death of the last descendant, Anna Lum, in 1983.