Arts & Entertainment

Hillsborough DORIS Member, Plainfield Drake House President Receives Recognition for Preservation Efforts

aaaf76eb36bdd31309bf_hillspixDORISawardplainfield.jpg
Nancy Piwowar, shown here with Plainfield Historic Preservation Committee's Chairman, William Michelson, receives award along with M&M Development LLC, for efforts to preserve historic structures. Credits: Rikki Lyn Hauss
9ed13731e3ea8cd3502e_IMG_6981.PNG
Nancy Piwowar, President of the Drake House in Plainfield Credits: Jennifer Popper
aaaf76eb36bdd31309bf_hillspixDORISawardplainfield.jpg

PLAINFIELD, NJ  - It seemed like everyone knew Nancy Piwowar when she walked into City Hall Tuesday night and it seemed like she knew everyone’s name.

Piwowar had come to the meeting of the Historic Preservation Committee to be recognized  for her efforts as a preservationist, local historian, and advocate for others with similar passions.

“Except for a phone call and a letter I received, I really had no idea that I was getting an award,” she said. “It’s so nice of them to give out these awards. I’m truly humbled.”

Sign Up for E-News

Her passion for the integrity of architectural treasures, their place in history and the pressing need to preserve the past has taken her to other communities in New Jersey, including Hillsborough, where she became a member of the grassroots movement known as DORIS – Demolition of Residence is Senseless – which fought a losing battle to prevent the demolition of the Doris Duke estate for almost one year.

She spent time as an advocate and conducted research on behalf of DORIS into the history of the sprawling mansion, home to Doris Duke and her billionaire father, a sprawling 2,100-acre estate along Route 206. When he died she was 13, and after a long, contentious court proceeding she was able to wrest control of the estate from her estranged mother.  

On May 18, Piwowar was recognized by Preservation New Jersey for her compilation and preparation of an application nominating the ornate Trumbauer-Abele greenhouses at Duke Farms as one of the state’s Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites of the year.

She was also active in the effort to memorialize a small cemetery near downtown Bedminster that was purchased for $3 in 1801 by three black men, two of them slaves; an unknown number of people are buried in the cemetery, which is designated as a Somerset County historic site with a pole-mounted plaque.

Piwowar works at the restored Drake House Museum in Plainfield, built in 1746 by Isaac Drake as a home for his son, Nathaniel. It is administered by the 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 which was fought over the entire Plainfield area (present day Ash Brook Golf Course, Scotch Plains) on June 25-27, 1777. Washington and his officers were often entertained here when they were in the area on military maneuvers. 

RELATED:  After 240 Years, George Washington Revisits the Drake House Museum in Plainfield

Piwowar’s  memoirs are featured in "The Duchess of South Somerville."  She has had numerous articles referencing her work published locally.

She is president of the Historic Society of Plainfield and a lifelong city resident.

Piwowar said her greatest accomplishment is working with interns at the Drake House. She was most thrilled writing a letter of recommendation for a young man who was later accepted on a full-scholarship to law school.

Along with Piwowar, M&M Home Investors Group, based in Plainfield was recognized for their restorative work at the 715 Plainfield Avenue property at Tuesday night’s meeting.

During her remarks, Piwowar expressed her pride in Plainfield’s history, recalling that her father often took her to demolition sites in the city as a part of his job when she was a young girl.

 “I realized that this was probably what stuck with me as an adult. I knew that these old buildings were valuable, and so I wanted to help and learn from them,” she said.

Later on during the meeting, a couple appeared before the preservation commission with plans to modify their home; Piwowar showed just how well-versed she is, asking the couple if they were keeping the bun warmer in their pantry.

 

CORRECTION:  An earlier version of this story noted that M&M Home Investors Group was recognized for their restorative work across the Plainfield historic districts; it was at the 715 Plainfield Avenue property.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

You Meet the Most Amazing People on the Trail

The weather cooperated this weekend, so I went for more than one hike. After all, there are only just over fifty days before my walk to Maine commences, so why not.

This Saturday, some friends dragged me away from housecleaning (thank you!) for a quick jaunt through Watchung Reservation.  While we were there, we ran into two individuals from Westfield; the cosplayers introduced themselves ...

Go Take a Walk

Friday, March 30 was Take a Walk in the Park Day, so I did.  I really didn't have an excuse to not do so; the sun was shining, I had the day off, and I had no plans for the rest of the day.  So after a session with Abbe, my trainer at LifeTime Fitness, I made the short trip to Lake Surprise in Watchung Reservation. 

As I made my way around the lake, it was easy to see how ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_e72c4a9e1dfde31bc6f1_vet1

Wed, May 23, 8:00 AM

Plainfield City Hall Library, Plainfield

Kickoff Breakfast to Launch Plainfield Veterans ...

Other

Carousel_image_03f7e31b319ddd115b05_may_children_room

Wed, May 23, 3:30 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

"Who Done It?" Mystery Program

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_b5b50f86b329a7f607eb_national_ems_week

Wed, May 23, 6:00 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

National EMS Week with Plainfield Rescue Squad ...

Health & Wellness

Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...

Union County Celebrates National Trails Day with Free Guided Hikes and Activities, June 2

May 22, 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents and visitors of all ages to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of National Trails Day at the Watchung Reservation on Saturday, June 2, where the County’s Trailside Nature & Science Center will host four different guided hikes and an Adopt-a-Trail volunteer activity along with special programs throughout the day for all ages. The ...

Peru Claims 1-0 Victory Over Colombia as Soccer Legends Show Off Skills in Paterson

May 20, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- During their playing days Carlos Valderama and Julio Uribe led their teams to victory in some of the largest soccer stadiums across the globe. On Saturday, the men, known better as “El Pibe” and Uribe, brought their talents to Paterson’s Baurele Field.

The rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the nearly 500 fans who turned out to watch these beloved players ...

La campaña alimentaria anual de los carteros está lista para el 12 de mayo en todo el país

May 11, 2018

WASHINGTON, 2 de mayo de 2018 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- La Asociación Nacional de Carteros (National Association of Letter Carriers, NALC) llevará a cabo la 26ª edición anual de su campaña alimentaria el sábado 12 de mayo.

La campaña alimentaria Stamp Out Hunger® es la más grande con duración de un día en todo ...

School’s Out: Your Exclusive Summer Getaway Guide

May 22, 2018

Summer... a time to do whatever you please without having the stress of school or work.

But like many others, you may find yourself unsure of how to spend your summer days. So, if you’re looking for something cool to do when it’s hot, consider these ideas:

Get Cultured: Metropolitan Museum of Art: If you’re fascinated with art of all sorts from classic to modern, then this ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

The Man in Room 306 at the Luna Stage, West Orange, NJ

            The Luna Stage, a Jersey theater gem, chose to revive its 1995 world premiere drama, The Man in Room 306, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Starring Jamil A.C. Mangan as Dr. King, this 90 minute production portrays Dr. King in the last hours of his life as he struggles to write a speech for the Poor ...

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead Books, 2017)

 

I wanted to like Into the Water by Paula Hawkins because I had enjoyed her previous novel, The Girl on the Train, which was a suspenseful thriller. However, when I finished reading the first part of the Into the Water, I realized that I had not absorbed anything that was happening in the story. I blamed myself for not paying ...

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)

 

How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.

The German Girl

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa (Washington Square Press, 2016)

For each of the twelve million victims murdered during World War II there is a gutwrenching story to be told. I have read hundreds of memoirs, biographies, plays, and novels that recount the stories of the martyrs; some are exceptional, some are fair. The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa, an award-winning journalist, ...