ROXBURY, NJ – As a young biochemist in the food industry, could Richard Cramond possibly have envisioned - when he settled in Ledgewood in 1964 with his wife Cynthia and their young children that his new neighborhood would inspire him to half a century of immersion in local history and volunteerism?
Probably not, but it did.
And on Feb. 27, Cramond was named Roxbury’s “Volunteer of the Year.” The award was bestowed at Roxbury’s Fourth Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, an event that honors the volunteers who support the various boards essential to the management of the municipality.
Cramond received citations from the state Assembly and the township for service spanning 45 years on the township Historic Advisory Committee (HAC), a sub-committee of the township Planning Board, including 34 years as its chairperson.
When the Cramond family moved to Ledgewood, its new home was within walking distance of Ledgewood Pond at the base of Plane 2 East of the Morris Canal, where the township Recreation Department offered swimming lessons.
While his children learned to swim, Cramond investigated the overgrown canal plane and researched the canal’s path across the state, sparking his interest in local history.
In 1974, Cramond joined the Roxbury Township Historical Society, which was founded in 1962 just around the corner in the pre-Revolutionary War Silas Riggs Saltbox House.
A 30-year-long commitment ensued. Ever ready to mend a fence, research a new heating system for the old house or shovel a path to its door after a snowfall, Cramond also delivered programs throughout the township, accompanied by photos from his extensive collection.
Cramond is a member of the Morris Canal Society of New Jersey and he has walked every part of the historic waterway that is walkable.
Along with other Roxbury Township Historical Society members, Cramond served on the newly formed Landmarks Commission, which paved the way for the passing of the 1984 Historic District Ordinance. The ordinance designated four historic districts in the township and established the HAC to maintain the districts’ historic architectural character.
Cramond served on the HAC since 1984, but decided in December 2018 that it was time to step down.
He was a key player when the Roxbury Township Historical Society joined forces with Roxbury Rotary in 2000 to create the Roxbury Historic Trust to oversee the continued maintenance of the King Canal Store and King Homestead. As a member of the Trust, Cramond served as its treasurer for fourteen years.
Although no longer holding Historical Society society or Historic Trust board positions, Cramond maintains his membership in both organizations. As designated Roxbury Township Local Co-Historian, a position created by the state in 1979, Cramond continues to eagerly to share his knowledge with the general public.
In addition to expressing his thanks when accepting his awards from state Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, Roxbury Mayor Robert DeFillippo and Councilman Mark Crowley, Cramond emphasized the importance of local history, underscoring the significance of Roxbury’s pre-Revolution history within the context of the history of our entire nation.
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