The 2021 New Jersey Historic Preservation Awards – Event Recap

On October 13th, 2021 from 4-7PM, 100+ preservation supporters gathered at the historic 1867  Sanctuary in Ewing for the 2021 New Jersey Historic Preservation Awards. The awards honored excellence in preservation with a variety of long-standing and brand new awards categories. 

Networking at the Awards

Attendees enjoyed live jazz from the Howard Hall Trio during a 2-hour reception outside the Sanctuary as well as wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres from Ewing’s Revere Restaurant under tents on the Sanctuary lawn. When it was time for the presentation of the awards, the group moved into the spacious Sanctuary to learn about each of the awardees. Preservation New Jersey’s Executive Director Emily Manz, Board President Matthew Pisarski, and Office Manager Dale Perry moved through the program and distributed the awards.

Awardees across categories were chosen by an independent awards jury comprised of preservation professionals in and out of state. Selections were based on the following award criteria: Public impact on the community, region, or state; Quality and/or creativity of effort; Broadened public awareness of history & historic preservation; Increased partnerships to support history & historic preservation; Quality of the submission. 

Dolly Marshall
Paul M. Kanitra

First announced was the David H. Knights New Preservation Initiatives Award, a category that was renamed to honor the legacy of PNJ Past-President David H. Knights. David became President of PNJ in 2011, and at the time of his death, he was spearheading a brand new and exciting initiative for the organization – the restoration of the 1867 Sanctuary by Preservation New Jersey. It was especially special to debut this renamed award in the Sanctuary building David had worked so hard to save, and amongst a group that knew him, and of his contributions to our state well. His wife Linda Knights was present for the event and the presentation of the awards.  

The David H. Knights New Preservation Initiatives Award honors an organization or individual that has created new initiatives and new opportunities for preservation, education, and/or community engagement in New Jersey and in 2021 it was awarded to Dolly Marshall, a preservation activist and trustee of Mount Peace Cemetery in Lawnside, New Jersey and Mayor Paul M. Kanitra & The Borough of Point Pleasant Beach, Point Pleasant Beach for their respective successes in bringing new energy, resources, volunteers, and accomplishments to their respective preservation initiatives. 

Taylor Henry
Dr. Lynne Calamia

Next up was a brand new category created by Preservation New Jersey this year: the Young Preservationist Award which was awarded to a preservationist under the age of 40 making important contributions to the preservation field in New Jersey through their work or service. Dr. Lynne Calamia, a public history professional who currently serves as Executive Director of the Roebling Museum and Taylor Nicole Henry, an author of Wildwoods Houses Through Time and the President of the Wildwood Historical Society won this inaugural award. 

The Preservation Project Awards were presented next. These are awarded to preservation projects exhibiting exceptional merit in the field of historic preservation. There were 5 projects awarded in the Preservation Projects category selected from a strong field of candidates. The awardees were The Lake Hopatcong Train Station, The Enameling Building at the Historic Village at Allaire, the Craftsman Farms Education Center at the Stickley Museum, the Adaptive Reuse of Bell Labs, and the Proprietary House in Perth Amboy.

The March of America’s Diverse Army through New Jersey to Achieve American Independence in 1781
The Trent House Association

The next category was another brand new category, this time named for preservation and community activist Dr. Doris C. Carpenter who passed away in January 2021. Dr. Carpenter had been integral to the fight to Save Camden High School, featured in the Preservation New Jersey documentary ‘Saved or Lost Forever,’ and was in the midst of planning an educational session on Preservation Activism with PNJ when she passed away.  Interviewed by Preservation New Jersey upon ‘Saved or Lost Forever’s’ nomination for a Mid-Atlantic Emmy, Dr. Carpenter prepared a statement that was shared by Executive Director Emily Manz before the presentation of the awards in her name.

“In the face of gentrification in the cities it is really important to maintain the buildings and structures that remind us of who we are, that remind us that we, too, have value. It is through these old buildings and structures that we have a sense of place, a sense of belonging within a community that is ever-changing. In the inner-city the structures that are removed serve as a reminder of who we are and from whence we’ve come and the removal of the structures propagates and supports the narrative that we have no history and that we do not matter; that our history and contribution is inconsequential.
The work of historic preservation is more critical today than ever before especially in African American communities and urban centers. The film did increase awareness for Camden preservation efforts and beyond within the African American communities. Preservation of historical structures in African American communities is often negated as the people struggle just to survive and only consciously focus on the buildings and structures when faced with the eminent danger of their removal.
When we fought for the preservation of our beloved high school, many stood with us in support, but many bought into the idea that a new facility is of greater importance than the old. While this argument may have some validity, as the old song says, “you never miss you water ‘til your well runs dry”. The city now mourns the loss of the “Castle on the Hill”, but the damage cannot be reversed.
Going forward we need to identify structures that warrant preservation within the African American communities and begin the work of preservation before it is politically expedient to demolish the building and erase its memory. Creating ways to repurpose the buildings and identifying supportive funding is critical.”

The Dr. Doris C. Carpenter Excellence Award is an awarded to an individual, organization, or project which contributes to a greater understanding of New Jersey’s diverse populations through history and was awarded to two groups at the Awards Ceremony: The Trent House Association in Trenton, New Jersey and the organizers of The March of America’s Diverse Army through New Jersey to Achieve American Independence in 1781. Dr. Doris Carpenter’s family attended the awards  and were present for the presentation of these awards in her name.

Marshalltown Historic District Nomination

The next award was the Preservation Documents Award: Awarded to preservation document(s) exhibiting exceptional merit in the field of historic preservation. This was awarded to the Marshalltown Historic District National Register nomination prepared by Janet Sheridan of Down Jersey Heritage Research. The nomination marked a first in New Jersey when it was listed in 2013 as the first antebellum free-Black community to be listed as a historic district on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in New Jersey and has provided a template and guide for further nominations.

Haddon Heights HPC

Next up was the Historic Preservation Commission Award, a long-standing PNJ award honoring the important work of local Historic Preservation Commissions. Awarded to a local historical commission or committee that has undertaken new initiatives, provided long-term quality work to their community or successfully overcome recent obstacles, Haddon Heights Historic Preservation Commission was the awardee in 2021.

Bonnie Beth Elwell

Second to last, another brand new award category was created in 2021 to honor Preservation New Jersey’s founder Constance Grieff. She also served as Preservation New Jersey’s President from 1978 to 1989 and authored a number of books. The inaugural Constance Greiff Writing Award was awarded to an individual whose writing has made a major contribution to the historic preservation field; President of the Greater Elmer Area Historical Society Bonny Beth Elwell. Ms. Grieff’s family joined us in spirit from a distance. 

Brian LoPinto

Last but not least, Preservation New Jersey presented The Sarah P. Fiske Legacy & Leadership Award. This lifetime achievement award meant to salute individuals that have made important and sustained contributions to the understanding and promotion of historic preservation and history in New Jersey was awarded to Brian LoPinto, one of the founding members of The Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium who has spent nearly half his life advocating for the preservation of Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey. 

For more information on the awardees please read the Awards Announcement here.

Sponsors for the event were HMR Architects, Kreilick Conservation, Architectural Window Corporation, The Litt Law Firm, Jablonski Building Conservation, Lear & Pannepacker LLP, Kaese Architecture, Mills + Schnoering Architects, and Connolly + Hickey Historical Architects.

Photo Gallery of the 2021 New Jersey Historic Preservation Awards

Photos by William Neumann and Preservation New Jersey