PNJ Presents Three Leadership Awards at 29th Annual Preservation Awards

March 30th, 2021

In a virtual ceremony conducted jointly with the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office earlier this year, Preservation New Jersey presented three Preservation Leadership Awards: The Historic Preservation Commission Award, the Sarah P. Fiske Legacy and Leadership Award, and the New Preservation Initiatives Award. The full awards program comprised of both the State Historic Preservation Office’s Project Awards and Preservation New Jersey’s Leadership Awards can be viewed here

The first award presented by Preservation New Jersey was the the Historic Preservation Commission Award. This award recognizes local historical commissions or committees that have undertaken new initiatives, provided long-term quality work to their community or successfully overcome recent obstacles. We were honored to salute the Millburn Historic Preservation Commission for their commitment to the preservation of Millburn’s historic treasures for the people of New Jersey. The Commission’s investment in Millburn’s past through its professionalism, diversity, revised historic preservation ordinance, and community outreach delivers historic preservation success stories that enrich both Millburn and our greater understanding of our state.

Site Visit by Millburn HPC

The Millburn Historic Preservation Commission has nine diverse members and three staff professionals who attend all meetings and have vast experience and specialized expertise or interest working with older structures. Members of the HPC serve on the Minor Works Review Committee, attend and present lectures at various history conferences, and even give walking tours. Members of the HPC write grants for the Township, and help prepare property history books for residents in conjunction with the local historical society. The commission recently rewrote their historic preservation ordinance, which was subsequently recognized by the NJ Historic Preservation Office as a model for the state.

The next award Preservation New Jersey announced was The Sarah P. Fiske Legacy & Leadership Award. This award is a lifetime achievement award, to salute individuals that have made important and sustained contributions to the understanding and promotion of historic preservation and history in New Jersey. We were honored to recognize Arnold E. Brown for his long-term leadership, education, and commitment to the preservation of Bergen County’s historic treasures for the people of New Jersey. Arnold Brown’s investment in Bergen County’s past through his research, writing and community outreach, particularly in regard to the County’s African American history, has generated a greater understanding of New Jersey’s history and supported the preservation of important sites.

Arnold E. Brown J.D.

Arnold E. Brown J.D. has been a relentless leader in New Jersey’s preservation of African American civil rights, culture, history, genealogy and the structures that preserves Black History. Arnold Brown founded the Du Bois Book Center in Englewood in 1985 which specializes in African American Studies and Black Studies. He is the author of ‘Black Loyalists in Bergen County and the Book of Negroes’ in the Revolutionary War in Bergen County and Co-Author of Images of America: Englewood and Englewood Cliffs. His recent research has focused on Alfred P. Smith, the African American publisher, printer, and editor of the Landscape newspaper of Saddle River from 1882-1901. The Landscape is considered a valuable resource for historic research in Saddle River. At Gethsemane Cemetery in Little Ferry, New Jersey he led research to document lives of the segregated remains of 500 African Americans interred from 1866 to 1924. Mr. Brown led tours of the Cemetery for the public to increase understanding in addition to his research. From his historic preservation efforts the County of Bergen took control of this cemetery and added it to its Historic Site Inventory in 2003.

The final award presented from Preservation New Jersey this spring was the New Preservation Initiatives Award. This award is for organizations, individuals, and agencies that have created new initiatives and new opportunities for preservation, education, and/or community engagement in New Jersey.

We were honored to salute the Center for Historic American Building Arts (CHABA) for the book “This Little Building is Huge: The Story of Bridgeton’s Nail House” and their long-term leadership, education, and commitment to the preservation of Bridgeton’s historic treasures for the people of New Jersey. CHABA’s investment in Bridgeton’s past through this creative bi-lingual book, fundraising campaign, and community outreach, particularly to the next generation, has generated a greater understanding of our state’s history.

Student Reading ‘This Little Building is Huge’

CHABA wrote an engaging children’s book in both English and Spanish celebrating Bridgeton’s Nail House and built an inclusive educational and capital campaign around the Nail House. CHABA’s efforts at preservation education for the next generation – distributing and hosting readings of the book by working with the Bridgeton Public School system and in local libraries – brought new, and more supporters to the Nail House, while securing its future relevance with local residents. A capital campaign launched in 2019 that built on this ample community work has allowed CHABA and volunteers from the community to restore the Nail House.

Preservation New Jersey is planning their next Preservation Awards Celebration for October 16th, 2021. Save the date!