On April 2, the 2017 Cranford Preservation Award was presented to Terri and Tom Hunsinger for their restoration of their home at 203 Holly Street. The Award ceremony, sponsored jointly by the Cranford Historical Society and the Cranford Historic Preservation Advisory Board (HPAB), was held at the Hanson House in Cranford and was attended by the Hunsingers and their family, their contractor, members of HPAB and the Historical Society, and Mayor Tom Hannen and HPAB Township Committee Liaison Patrick Giblin.
The restoration of the turreted Queen Anne-style house was done by John Savoca Construction of Scotch Plains starting early this past summer. He duplicated the original trim, moldings, columns, and turnings, using a company in Canada. He had to modify some of the elements such as the railings to meet current codes, but did so in a way that was sympathetic to the original. He replaced much of the façade, including the various types of shingles on the façade of the house. Painting was done by Leon Painting of Kenilworth based on a design from The Color People in Denver, Colorado.
Christine Glazer, Trustee and Program Chair of the Cranford Historical Society, welcomed the attendees and commended the Hunsingers for their interest in preservation. She read the citation, and mentioned the importance of retaining the history of Cranford.
In her comments on the award, Maureen Strazdon, Chair of HPAB, noted that the house has been owned by only three families over almost 130 years – the Porcellas, the Dooleys, and now the Hunsingers. Members of the Porcella family lived there from the time it was built in 1888 by Sanitago Porcella, a very successful businessman and a social and financial force in Cranford, for the next 75 years. The family of Dr. Thomas E Dooley, a dentist who practiced in Linden and who was Vice President of the Cranford Board of Education, lived there starting in 1963 until 2013. And finally, the Hunsingers moved in in 2012.
Ms. Strazdon also noted that in November 1966, the Board of Education proposed leveling 203 Holly as well as seven other houses backing up to the River on Holly Street to build a new school on the five acres. The proposal was vigorously opposed by a quickly-formed homeowner's protective association, chaired by Dr. Dooley, and in early 1967, Dr. Dooley was named to the School Board. The houses, including the now wonderfully restored house at 203, were spared.
Founded in 1927, the Cranford Historical Society is a private organization whose mission is to preserve and perpetuate the history of Cranford. For more information, visit www.cranfordhistoricalsociety.com.
The Cranford Historic Preservation Advisory Board (HPAB) is a Township committee established in 1993. HPAB’s mission is to aid in the preservation of Cranford's architectural heritage through documentation of significant structures, education of the public as to the value of preservation, and advice to the Township on laws and activities impacting preservation. You can find more information on HPAB at www.preservecranford.com.