Press Releases

Historical Commission Honors Essay Contest Winners

FREEHOLD, NJ – On Monday, June 4, the Monmouth County Historical Commission announced the recipients of the County’s 2018 Historic Preservation Awards and the winners of the Fifth Grade Essay Contest. The Historic Preservation Awards are given annually to individuals and others who have engaged in preservation and restoration projects on their own. The winning projects reflect the continuing application of preservation practices and successful restorations of historic sites in Monmouth County.


“I would like to express my sincerest appreciation for those that invest their own time and money to preserve our historic structures and find ways to adapt them for new and different uses. This year’s Historic Preservation awardees have accomplished this by creatively re-purposing an historic church and a former school building, both threatened with possible demolition,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the Monmouth County Historical Commission.


Dennis Murphy of Cream Ridge was recognized for the restoration of the former Imlaystown Baptist Church, a circa 1903 Victorian Queen Anne style building, into a family residence. The restoration, which included original stained-glass windows and a molded tin ceiling, saved the historic structure from possible demolition and maintained its status as a key contributing element of the Imlaystown Historic District, listed on both the State and National Register of Historic Places.

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Tona Construction and Management of Freehold, nominated by Freehold Mayor J. Nolan Higgins, was honored for its adaptive reuse and considerate renovation of the former Bennett Street School into a three-story, 14-suite office building. The Tonacchio family and Mayor Higgins were present to receive this award.

The Commission also recognized the winners of the 2018 Fifth Grade Essay Contest.

The first-place winner was Isabella Charages, of Shrewsbury Borough School, who wrote about her home, the Loggy Hole Farm. Second-place winner Grace Kreft, from Saint Leo the Great School in Lincroft, wrote her essay about the Old Tennent Presbyterian Church’s history. Third-place winner Ishani Singh, a student at the Indian Hill School in Holmdel, wrote about the scientific importance of the Horn Antenna.

A certificate of appreciation was also presented to the Indian Hill School in Holmdel. Each of the school’s fifth grade classes participated in the contest this year, with a total of 220 students submitting essays, representing 45 percent of the 490 total received. All participating students received a Certificate of Participation, which also included nine as Honorable Mentions.

“I passionately believe that knowledge of our County’s past will most assuredly benefit today’s students, since you need to know where you have been in order to guide your own future development,” said Burry. “Congratulations to all for a job well done in interpreting Monmouth County’s past and preserving its rich historical legacy,” said Burry.

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