SOMERVILLE, NJ – Longtime Somerset County historian Donald N. Esposito of Bridgewater will receive the Award of Recognition from the New Jersey Historical Commission for his contributions to New Jersey history at the commission’s annual history conference Nov. 19 at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown.
Somerset County Freeholder Director Patricia Walsh presented a ceremonial resolution to Espositio at the freeholders' Nov. 9 meeting. She noted that he has been involved in the promotion of Somerset County history and preservation for almost five decades.
As a college student, he wrote the “First History of Raritan, New Jersey” – a text still used today as a source for the borough’s history. In the early 1970s he initiated and directed the restoration of the Gen. John Frelinghuysen House, which serves as the Raritan Public Library.
Esposito served as president of the Somerset County Historical Society for eight years and helped to maintain and restore the Van Veghten House in Bridgewater. In the early 1980s he worked with the Board of Freeholders to establish the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission and the historic preservation program.
He has served as the commission’s president or vice president for much of its existence and as chairman of the county Historic Preservation Advisory Committee since its inception 15 years ago. He also was instrumental in preparing a grant that funded the Somerset County Cultural Resource Survey, which has been adopted as part of the county master plan.
“Don has been a valuable source of county history information to countless reporters, government officials and citizens,” the New Jersey Historical Commission noted. “(He) has been a significant figure in promoting historic preservation as well as local history in Somerset County.”