For Immediate Release: September 18, 2020
Contact: Emily Manz, Executive Director
Preservation New Jersey’s documentary, SAVED OR LOST FOREVER, a short documentary on Preservation New Jersey’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list has been nominated for a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award. The short documentary premiered this March at Newark’s Symphony Hall.
Since 1995, Preservation New Jersey (PNJ) has been compiling annually its “10 Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey” list, spotlighting the state’s irreplaceable historic, architectural, cultural, and archaeological resources that are in imminent danger of being lost.
“Saved or Lost Forever” tells the story of New Jersey’s places that have been part of significant events and periods in our state’s history, discusses their importance to our collective past, and the fights to rescue these historic properties from extinction. The documentary focuses on three sites recognized on PNJ’s 10 Most list – Camden High School, Romer Shoal Light, and the Van Wagenen/Apple Tree House. The 10 Most documentary was supported through a project grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. The 10 Most documentary was supported through a project grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State and developed to bring further attention to the fragile existence of New Jersey’s historic resources.
Dr. Doris Carpenter, an advocate for the preservation of Camden High School who was featured in the documentary made the following statement upon the film’s nomination,
“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.
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.
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.”
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop shared, “After over a decade of slow-moving construction, we dedicated the necessary resources to bring the historic preservation of the Apple Tree House over the finish line to invite the public in and enjoy a piece of our nation’s history. The Apple Tree House is an icon of the American Revolution, and today we’re able to host educational programming, historical exhibitions, and other community events.”
Barton Ross, Preservation New Jersey’s Board President stated, “the documentary did a great job at communicating the hands-on nature of the historic preservation field- the advocacy work, the community building, the ongoing maintenance and exciting restoration work that makes up this field. We’re excited that through this nomination these stories, featured leaders, and places will reach a wider audience.”
The documentary and documentary team members Janice Selinger as Executive Producer; Steve Stone as Cameraman; Sara Lee Kessler as Co-producer/Narrator; and Courtenay Mercer as Project Manager were nominated under the Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy® Category 44 for ‘Branded Content.’
The 2020 Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy® Awards will be announced Saturday, September 19, at 7:00 p.m. in a virtual ceremony. The link to watch will be located here: https://natasmid-atlantic.org/.