PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Historical Society of Plainfield announced that a major restoration of the interior masonry walls of the Drake House Museum has been completed. There are two interior basement areas that date to 1746, and one basement area that dates to the 1880’s.
The project included local craftsmen working on the re-pointing of mortar throughout those areas, and reconstructing window wells and resurfacing a basement entrance. It took four local craftsmen four days and 52 bags of concrete to complete all the necessary work for this major preservation and restoration project.
This project was a public/private partnership project between the City of Plainfield and the Historical Society of Plainfield. The City of Plainfield and the Department of Public Works provided advice and suggestions, and the Historical Society of Plainfield wrote a grant for the funds needed for the masonry project.
The Society was the recipient of a grant from the Hyde and Watson Foundation. The local craftsmen were from the local business of Toltec Masons, located in North Plainfield.
“It was amazing to realize the amount of work it took in 1746 and then in the 1880’s to dig out by hand these basement areas, and then quarry and place all the irregular shaped farm land and river rocks in a foundation that still holds up the Drake House. Today’s craftsmen used the proper mortar mixture to re-point the irregular rocks, and their work should last at least another hundred years,” said Nancy Piwowar, President of the Historical Society of Plainfield.
Piwowar added, “It was so wonderful to work with a young man who told her he had visited the Drake House Museum on a Jefferson School trip many years ago, and we both went to the same elementary school.”
HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF PLAINFIELD
It was at the Drake House that George Washington consulted with his officers during and after the Battle of Short Hills fought over the entire Plainﬁeld area on June 25-27, 1777. On permanent display at the Drake House Museum are three Colonial era rooms--the kitchen, the Queen Anne dining room, and the Washington bedroom. The parlor and the Harberger Library are interpreted as period Victorian rooms.
The Drake House Museum also displays two large paintings by noted Civil War painter Julian Scott, a Plainfield resident and a Medal of Honor recipient. A National and New Jersey Historic Site, the Drake House Museum is an exciting link to Plainfield’s Revolutionary War history.
The Drake House Museum is a city-owned public museum administered by the Historical Society of Plainfield and is located at 602 West Front Street, Plainfield, New Jersey. Donations are always appreciated. Onsite parking is available. For directions and more information about the Drake House and the Historical Society of Plainfield, visit www.drakehouseplainfieldnj.org.
Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of Department of State through a grant administered by the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, Department of Parks and Recreation; a HEART Grant from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders; the City of Plainfield; the Plainfield Cultural and Heritage Commission; the Hyde and Watson Foundation; the McCutchen Foundation; the Plainfield Foundation; and the Gannett Foundation.