Roxbury Roots and History

Roxbury Mulls Future of "Sweet, Little" Old Lafayette Schoolhouse

8c755d85252554056d19_f7828921e1c813e027e4_lafayette_school.jpg
Former Lafayette School in Roxbury's Lower Berkshire Valley
ecd9b32329c1adfaf1e7_lafschbck.jpg
The rear of the former Lafayette School in Roxbury
8c755d85252554056d19_f7828921e1c813e027e4_lafayette_school.jpg

ROXBURY, NJ – A ripple of consternation disturbed the normal tranquility of life for some in Roxbury’s Lower Berkshire Valley on Tuesday. It came in the form of a rumor: Town officials were planning to bulldoze the old Lafayette School.

As it turned out, the report was a false alarm. The 96-year-old building on Mill Road has no wrecking ball in its future, at least in its near future. In fact, the town officials are actually mulling ways to fix it up and put it to good use.

But concern drew some Roxbury history buffs to Tuesday night’s meeting of the township Mayor and Council, where Lafayette School’s fate was on the agenda. They heard a presentation by historic building preservation expert Margaret Hickey, who studied the old building and said it's pretty unique, in pretty good shape and probably worth saving.

Sign Up for E-News

Unoccupied since 2009, and now used to store athletic equipment, the concrete and stone structure served as a school until the late 1950s or early 1960s, according to a report written by Hickey’s firm, Connolly & Hickey Historical Architects.

Although the township-owned structure is not on the state or national registers of historic places, Connolly & Hickey said it might qualify because it is “a rare surviving type” of 2-room schoolhouse popular in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.

It will cost $750,000 to $1 million to rehabilitate the old schoolhouse, but Hickey told town officials grant money could cover all but about $200,000 of the cost if the building is deemed eligible for historic register placement.

“It’s a sweet, little building,” Hickey told the Mayor and Council. “It’s been changed on the inside, which probably allows you some flexibility with future use.”

One thing that would have to go is the wheelchair ramp that replaced the lovely front steps originally on the building, she said. Hickey suggested a limited-use elevator be installed, inside the structure, so handicapped people could enter at the basement level and be lifted to the upper floor. This would cost about $110,000, said her report.

The town officials said they were not opposed to pursuing such a preservation plan, but they did express concern about finding a sustainable use afterward. Roxbury Councilman Jim Rilee noted the township has wrestled for a decade with that problem.

“We’ve spent the better part of the last dozen years or so trying to rent or lease the space to a non-profit or something,” Rilee said. “It’s probably going to cost the township $200,000 or so to move forward with this project, if we get the grants … We also have other historic buildings in the town we want to take care of. We don’t want to divert money from the projects that are going on (on Main Street in Ledgewood).”

Mayor Mark Crowley agreed. “I want to see us follow through with the ones we already have,” he said. “I don’t want to lose this one either. We’ve all been struggling and looking for someone to make it a home.”

Addressing the town officials, Roxbury Historical Society President Margaret Cushing suggested the Lafayette School be returned to its roots as a place of learning. She said it would make an ideal museum of Roxbury history.

Recalling days gone by when Roxbury students were regularly marinated in that history – the canal, the mining and munitions industries, the ancient cemeteries – Cushing said today’s kids need such a museum. 

Roxbury Manager Christopher Raths said he will ask the township Historic Advisory Committee and others to get involved in some “brainstorm sessions” to discuss Cushing’s idea and other possible uses for the building. "We'll get them in a room and see what we can do," he said. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Roxbury

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_5078e779090d4dec75fa_paint_your_pet

Thu, January 25, 7:00 PM

Big Ed's Tap House at Circle Bowl, Ledgewood

Paint Your Pet Wine and Paint

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_024d23cae10e9f7a121d_mini_magick20171228-26454-qoei4f

Mon, January 29, 6:30 PM

Roxbury Public Library, Succasunna, NJ 07876

Protecting Your Identity- What to Know and What ...

Education

Carousel_image_6e8513e77c19ae32a544_starlite-555x426

Sat, February 10, 7:30 PM

Investor Bank Theater, Succasunna

Silver Starlight Orchestra

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_bcf3a515c3d0fe7b573a_20171127_143808

Mon, February 12, 11:00 AM

Black River Barn Restaurant, Randolph

Dining to Donate for Presbyterian Church

Food & Drink Giving Back Religions And Spirituality

Columns

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 010

On this week’s AtlantiCast, we take you to the groundbreaking for an expansion to Morristown Medical Center, introduce you to the newest babies of 2018 at Atlantic Health System and share some must-see winter weather tips!

 

Sponsors of Roxbury's Best Journalism

Getting it Right From the Start; Roxbury Realtor Bob Idakaar

ROXBURY, NJ – Twenty years ago this month, Bob Idakaar experienced an unprofessional real estate agent. That’s when he decided to be a good one.

Idakaar, a lifelong Succasunna resident and TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, bought his fifth home in July 1997. A big event, one that could have been joyous, ended up being stressful and unenjoyable.

“I had a bad experience,” he ...

Roxbury Diner: Homespun Hospitality Through Thick and Thin

ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury was being buried in snow March 14 and most businesses were closed. Not Roxbury Diner.

Roxbury Diner isn’t like most businesses.For co-owner Jimmy Dontas, a snowstorm – even a blizzard – isn’t a reason to suspend operations. Instead, it’s a call to action.

To many in town, Roxbury Diner – a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor – is ...

It Began With Filling Your Tank; Now They Fix Your Grandson’s Car

When we drive east on Route 10 through Roxbury, many of us might remember a Shell station at the Randolph border next to the golf range. It was in that station that Nancy and Peyton Knight began their long history of auto repair in the township.

That was 1983 and soon the Knights’ business grew and expanded. The humble gas station gradually morphed into a state-of-the-art ...

Orthopedic Urgent Care in Roxbury - Open Late and on Weekends

ROXBURY, NJ – It’s a pleasant Sunday morning, you’re playing volleyball in the back yard with the kids and – forgetting you’re not 17 anymore – you jump up to smack that ball.

Instead of feeling the satisfaction of an unanswered spike, you feel the stinging pain of a wounded ankle.

The only good thing about this scenario is that you live in Roxbury. That ...

Love of His Hometown Drives Roxbury Realtor Ted Miller II

ROXBURY, N.J. – Most local real estate agents can tell you what houses are for sale in Roxbury. Ted Miller can probably tell you what was there before the houses were built. 

Miller, a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, grew up in the township and has watched it change from bucolic to bustling. The son of a local Realtor, ...

Three Sons at His Side, John Klein Makes Plumbing a Family Affair

ROXBURY, N.J. - Running water and a warm house during winter months are some of the most important amenities we enjoy -- and often take for granted -- in our homes.

With John Klein Plumbing & Heating, a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, residents of Roxbury (and beyond) have a father-and-sons company they count on for reliable plumbing and heating services to keep the ...

Letters to TAPinto Roxbury

Proving yourself first

January 5, 2018

Dear Editor,

I have read with interest the reaction of the only Democrat member of Roxbury's Town Council regarding his appointments to committees.

I recently retired after over 40 years in senior leadership roles in both public and private sectors. I have always found that responsibility is earned through proving one's self through team work, due ...

Agront, Schafer and Barboza Make UNH Dean's List

January 23, 2018

DURHAM, NH _ The following students have been named to the Dean's List at the University of New Hampshire for the fall 2017 semester.

Jae Barboza of Flanders with High Honors

Jeffrey Schafer of Flanders with Highest Honors

Israel Agront of Landing with High Honors

Students named to the Dean's List at the University of New Hampshire are students who have earned ...

Ryan Leone Awarded Bachelor of Science Degree from Kutztown University

KUTZTOWN, PA -- Ryan Leone of Flanders has been awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology from Kutztown University.

Kutztown University has conferred degrees on more than 475 students during the summer, fall and winter semesters.

Kutztown University announces degree conferment twice a year, once in the winter and once in the summer. Commencement exercises are held ...

Two From Roxbury Area Make UVM Dean's List

BURLINGTON, VT -- Zoe Quan-Shau of Flanders and Samantha Valerie Mae Meneses of Succasunna were named to the Dean's List at the University of Vermont. To be named to the dean's list, students must have a grade-point average of 3.0 or better and rank in the top 20 percent of their class in their respective college or school.

University of Rhode Island Dean's List Includes Students from Roxbury

KINGSTON, RI - The University of Rhode Island is pleased to announce that 5,500 undergraduates have qualified for the fall 2017 Dean's List. The students represent nearly all of Rhode Island's cities and towns, all six New England states, New York and New Jersey, and many other states and nations.

To be included on the Dean's List, students must have completed 12 or more ...

Bedel-Franklin and Grady Make Emerson Dean's List

BOSTON, MA  - Hannah Bedel-Franklin, of Kenvil, and Matthew Grady, of Landing, were named to Emerson College's Dean's List for the Fall 2017 semester. The requirement to make the Dean's List is a grade point average of 3.7 or higher.

Samuel Sherwood makes Roger Williams University Dean's List

BRISTOL, RI -- Samuel Sherwood of Succasunna was named to the Fall 2017 Dean's List at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I.

Full-time students who complete 12 or more credits per semester and earn a GPA of 3.4 or higher are placed on the Dean's List that semester.

 

Press Releases

First Energy Donates to Morris Habitat for Humanity ReStore

January 17, 2018

First Energy is pleased to partner with Morris Habitat for Humanity to provide a grant to support Operator Safety Training for the ReStore staff and volunteers. A check for $2,500 from First Energy Foundation was presented to Morris Habitat and the ReStore on January 16, 2018.  Pictured are Mel Oppenheimer, ReStore Advisory Committee; Blair Schleicher Bravo, CEO Morris Habitat; Michael ...

Brain Cancer Study Opens at Overlook Medical Center - One of Four Sites in Country

Kurt Jaeckle, MD, co-director of the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center at Overlook Medical Center, and medical director of the Atlantic Center for Research, is leading a phase III study of novel drug VAL-083, which has already shown promise in Glioblastoma and other cancers. 

The study is for patients whose glioblastoma multiforme or gliosarcoma has progressed during or after treatment ...