PLAINFIELD, NJ – Earlier this summer readers were introduced to Joshua Lang, a 16-year-old Life Scout from Troop 73 in Westfield who lives in nearby North Plainfield. Lang is working on his Eagle Scout project at the Drake House Museum in Plainfield.
The Eagle Scout Service Project is an opportunity for a Boy Scout to demonstrate leadership skills while performing a project that will benefit his community in order to obtain an Eagle Scout rank.
It is not the first time the Lang family has selected the museum as the recipient of its Boy Scouts project. Brother Justin worked on his project two years ago, and focused on documenting artifacts in the Drake House Museum.
Joshua mentioned that it is the third project at the Drake House for Troop 73 within the past four years.
The Drake House has also worked with a young student from P.A.A.A.S. who was in a local Plainfield troop, helping him with research on the United Presbyterian Church of Plainfield's cemetery on Brook Avenue.
And thanks to Justin Almendral's Eagle Scout project this past spring, the Drake House has a photograph scanner. For part of the Plainfield’s Forgotten History project, Almendral and his assistants scanned over 300 photographs in the Historical Society’s archives collection spanning 100 years that illustrate life in Plainfield, from the 1870’s to the 1970’s.
Joshua described the next steps of his project on a recent Sunday afternoon while a team of Boy Scouts worked in the background. His dad and Scout Leader Robert Lang was nearby to lend a helping hand when needed.
The primary goal of the project, according to Lang, is to restore the museum’s backyard so that it will be more functional, and outdoor events can be hosted by the Historical Society of Plainfield. Over the summer the team cleared the area of debris, and excavated and replaced six inches of soil. Later, a wooden frame was constructed and installed to create an area that will become an eighteenth century herb garden.
A nearby stone pathway surrounding the garden was also power washed and re-leveled. Nancy Piwowar, President of the Historical Society of Plainfield, said the soil taken from this area will be sent to Dr. Ruth A. Maher, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at William Patterson University, for further examination and to look for artifacts. One of the highlights of the excavation process was the discovery of an old horseshoe, the age of which could not be determined.
Restoring and repainting of the storage shed began this week with the assistance of Painting ETC of Scotch Plains, who stepped in to strip the lead paint exterior prior to repainting, and Ricciardi Brothers, who generously donated the paint. Trim boards will be replaced as needed.
Lang mentioned that they have been able to accomplish many of the tasks so far because of the generous donations and discounts received from many local companies, including Houston Lumber and Home Depot. A GoFundMe page was set up to raise funds, and is short just $175 in being fully funded. The entire project is expected to be completed later this fall.
“The energy, enthusiasm, and caring that these young men and their parents have gives hope for the future of historic preservation. These young men and businesses are giving back to their local community, and all have generously donated time, labor, material, and talent to the Drake House Museum which is very much appreciated,” stated Nancy Piwowar.
About the Drake House Museum
The Drake House, Plainﬁeld’s historic link with its colonial past, was built in 1746 by Isaac Drake as a home for his son, Nathaniel. Today it is a city-owned public museum administered by the Historical Society of Plainﬁeld.
The Historical Society of Plainfield / The Drake House Museum is a registered 501 (c) (3) charitable organization under of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations. The Drake House Museum is located at 602 West Front Street. It is open to the public on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. and by appointment. To learn more, visit www.drakehouseplainfieldnj.org or call (908) 755-5831.
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