In Brief

Feds give $1M for restoration work at two New Jersey historic sites

By: - November 24, 2022 8:46 am

The historic Wallace House will get a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service to for restoration work to prepare for the coming nation’s 250th birthday in 2026. (Photo courtesy of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection)

Two historic sites in New Jersey each snagged a $500,000 federal grant for restoration work intended to prepare them for the nation’s upcoming semiquincentennial celebrations.

The National Park Service gave the state Department of Environmental Protection funding to improve the Indian King Tavern in Haddonfield and the Wallace House in Somerville.

The state manages more than 50 historic sites, but many have long been underfunded, and funding for state parks generally has flatlined for years. Preservationists have called for more support, warning that heritage tourism is expected to skyrocket as the country approaches its 250th birthday in 2026.

“Both of these sites hold the history of critical moments in New Jersey’s and our country’s history and founding as a free nation,” John Cecil, assistant commissioner for state parks, forests, and historic sites, said in a statement.

In Camden County, restoration work will focus on stabilizing the tavern, including masonry and plaster repairs and painting the building’s interior and exterior, according to the Department of Environmental Protection. The tavern was where the New Jersey Legislature met in 1777 to run the fledgling government and decide issues of the Revolutionary War.

In Somerset County, funding for the Wallace House will pay for roof replacement, the installation of a better rainwater drainage system, window and foundation restoration, and soffit and chimney repairs, according to the Department of Environmental Protection. The house was the country home of Philadelphia merchant John Wallace and served as George Washington’s headquarters during a military encampment in the area over the winter of 1778-79.

The grants were part of $7 million the National Park Service distributed to 17 preservation projects in 12 states.

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Dana DiFilippo
Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo comes to the New Jersey Monitor from WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and the Philadelphia Daily News, a paper known for exposing corruption and holding public officials accountable. Prior to that, she worked at newspapers in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and suburban Philadelphia and has freelanced for various local and national magazines, newspapers and websites. She lives in Central Jersey with her husband, a photojournalist, and their two children.