The development of an educational facility required the demolition of a possibly 18th-century house. Though alterations to the old building rendered it ineligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, Long Hill residents saw it as an important local site. The Long Hill Township Historical Society, with support from the township, requested that the residence be researched and recorded before and during its demolition so that detailed information about the building and its history could be preserved.
Documentation of the house required both archival and on-site research to formulate a thorough chronology of the building’s construction and later alterations, and a better understanding of its history of ownership and occupation. Distinguishing between original construction and later renovations, alterations, and additions demanded an exacting knowledge of vernacular architecture and regional construction techniques. A complicated record of land transactions made researching the story of the property’s owners and occupants challenging.
THE PS&S SOLUTION
PS&S’ Cultural Resource Management Team partnered with the local historical society to keep the project’s costs within a modest budget. Together the property was thoroughly researched using historical maps, historical deeds, and local records to synthesize its history of ownership and occupation, construction, and alterations. Interior and exterior elements of the residence that provided vital information on construction techniques and renovation campaigns were documented and researched and placed within the historical context of the families who lived there and the surrounding community. Wall openings before and monitoring during demolition allowed PS&S to understand the history of the building in-depth. PS&S provided the Long Hill Township Historical Society with a thorough report that tells the property’s story, commemorating an important local building.