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CHAD's Assistant Director, Catherine Morrissey, and Architectural Historian, Michael J. Emmons, Jr., receiving the New Jersey Historic Preservation Award. Photograph courtesy of Janet Sheridan.
In June 2018, SPPAs
Center for Historic Architecture and Design (CHAD) was presented with a New
Jersey Historic Preservation Project Award. Given annually by the State of New
Jersey Historic Preservation Office and Historic Sites Council, these awards
recognize projects judged to demonstrate exceptional merit in the field of
historic preservation. The CHAD award was in the category of "Innovations"pioneering or inventive efforts in planning to preserve communities, buildings,
complexes, archaeological sites, or other types of historic resources in New
Jersey. CHADs multi-year innovative project was the Mauricetown Historic
District National Register Nomination.
The nomination process spanned five years (20132018), including two years of intensive effort. Led by CHAD's Catherine Morrissey (Assistant Director) and Michael J. Emmons, Jr. (Architectural Historian), the Center's team also included Kevin Barni (Architectural Historian), Alex Tarantino (Graduate Assistant), and Candice Myruski (Graduate Assistant). At least 2,500 hours were volunteered by students during two weeks of field study in Mauricetown and two semesters of researching, writing, and drawing for historic preservation courses. It was also supported by Mauricetown community members, who provided housing for the graduate students during their field research and town meetings.
From the beginning, it was clear that the project fostered a sense of community, historical awareness, and pride of place among the property owners in Mauricetown village. The CHAD effort produced a large amount of documentation and research for the village, including architectural drawings, photographs, and research reports that were donated to the repository at the Mauricetown Historical Society. Four student papers that formed part of this research were presented at the Vernacular Architecture Forum, held in Stockton, NJ, on the subject of New Jersey stack houses, cast iron fencing, African American villages, and Mauricetown's evolving commercial landscape.
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The Mauricetown Historic District, Mauricetown, New Jersey. Photograph: CHAD Archives
The small village of
Mauricetown, which is located in Cumberland County, has a rich maritime history
and features striking Victorian-era architecture. It is a compact, picturesque
village dotted with houses built by sea captains and shipbuilders. During the
early 1990s, an effort to nominate Mauricetown as a historic district stalled
due to disagreements about proposed boundaries.
Twenty years later, one of CHADs historic preservation classes was
documenting Mauricetowns architecture when then-graduate student Emmons noticed
that the village was not on the National Register, and inquired to see if there
was support for a new nomination effort.
Finding widespread support, from both community members as well as state
and county preservation officials, he undertook a survey to initiate a National
Register district nomination as part of his Capstone project.
A grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission allowed CHAD to complete the historic district nomination. CHAD worked closely with the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office to update the architectural survey of the village, finish research on Mauricetown's history, compile the lengthy nomination package, and hold multiple town meetings to discuss the process with village residents. On March 29, 2018, Mauricetown residents expressed excitement that the village was finally recognized on the National Register.