WARREN, NJ- The 18th-century King George Inn, in the heart of Warren Township's Mount Bethel Village, was up for County Sheriff's sale on Dec. 6.
The King George Inn is such a recognizable landmark that it was part of the logo for the township's bicentennial celebration in 2006, Greg Fitzgerald told the Township Committee on Thursday night.
"It's an icon in our town," Fitzgerald said. "It's possibly the most significant structure in the town."
Residents, including Fitzgerald, and former mayor Susie Boyce, also a member of the township's historic sites committee, are asking the Township Committee to try to make sure that the historic building is preserved.
For more than 200 years, the inn has been a gathering place and most in town still refer to it as the King George Inn, the name of the restaurant housed in the location for decades, even though Torino Restaurant, which closed a few years ago, was the last occupant.
Of the remaining historic villages within Warren Township, "Mount Bethel is the only one that is still a village, and is recognizable as a village," Boyce said.
Mayor Victor Sordillo said that the Township Committee already had discussed the matter in closed session, prior to the start of the public meeting.
He also said that the township had contacted Somerset County officials, and "the county said it was not interested in preserving or restoring that building."
The building reportedly has been sold at a sheriff's sale to a real estate developer and is not on the state or national registers of historic places. The owner of the building would have to have applied. Unfortunately, the public cannot put private properties on the register. They can only nominate publicly held properties.
As Boyce said, "Please take this very, very seriously, Where there's a will, there's a way."