WARREN, NJ - A petition is being circulated to "Save the King George Inn." The cover photo for The Warren Township Community Facebook Forum now features a photo of the Inn and residents are mobilizing to attend the next meeting of the Warren Township Planning Board on Feb. 13.
The meeting is held at 7:30 p.m. at the Municipal Court House Building on Mount Bethel Road in the Susie B. Boyce Meeting Room .
The petition was started by Max Hayden whose family owned the Inn for years. It says:
The King George Inn is being threatened with redevelopment which could allow its demolition which would cause an irreparable loss of history as the building has stood for over two hundred years and been used as a tavern for most of those years. We are petitioning the town to seek the restoration/preservation and adaptive re-use of the building as a condition of redevelopment of the property. A team approach to development could benefit both the developer and community by maximizing the use of the land and original part of building while preserving an important part of history. The proposals pending call for its demolition and replacement.
To sign the petition go to
Uproot expressed interest in the property on Thursday evening.
"If the town wants to fix up the building, Uproot restaurant would be more than honored to bring back the King George Inn," Mark Farro said. "Our lease is coming up in the center of Warren. Just a thought.... It's a beautiful building with so much to offer and become a staple once again in the town."
Town could purchase/build out. Put a long term lease in effect. Town in return has a steady revenue source, meeting place, etc. win win for everyone..."
Hayden's family owned and operated the KGI for 35 years. He says, " it had a long and storied past before we owned it as it dates back to the late 1700's. It has been a hotel, a restaurant, a post office and the town hall, a venue for opera, moving pictures, a summer retreat and services for a church. It is a piece of Warren's history, interwoven with its people and its landscape. If you believe that it's an important building and should be preserved please consider attending the meeting. Old buildings can be rehabilitated and made vital again. Once a building is gone the history often also vanishes with it. A show of support will strengthen the resolve of the town to do the right thing."
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Of the Tap Room, Hayden says, "The beams are original to the structure when it was first used as a blacksmith's shop. That fact caused it to be featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not. The literati included Anne Fox who wrote, for many years, the holiday crossword puzzle for the New York Times due to her close friendship with Eugune Maleska. She defined grace and class. Hans Conried, a noted character actor, frequented the Tap Room. Ed and Pegeen Fitzgerald, noted radio personalities, broadcasted live from the rear corner table on several occassions. Gloria Rojas, a WABC-7 newscaster who was one of a handful of minority reporters that broke new ground in broadcasting was also a frequent guest. Her husband Art was noted for his Chapstick commercials in the late 1970's early 1980's. It was a warm and inviting space with a mahogany bar and much memorabilia gifted to the Inn by many of its customers. As we served Canada Dry products my father, uncle and grandfather became mini celebrities after appearing on the Joe Franklin show, a man credited with the creation of the television talk show. I remember going to the taping and standing in the darkened wings of the set in lower Manhattan at around 5 years old and hearing the Hayden men talk about the reproduction horse drawn toy fire engines we sold at the Inn. The Inn was something."
Can the Warren Township Committee Save the King George Inn?
Back in 2013, Warren residents including Greg Fitzgerald, and former mayor Susie Boyce, also a member of the township's historic sites committee, asked 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.
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, 2013.
The King George Inn is such a recognizable landmark that it was part of the logo for the township's bicentennial celebration in 2006, Fitzgerald told the Township Committee.
"It's an icon in our town," Fitzgerald said. "It's possibly the most significant structure in the town."
The Mayor at the time, 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 was 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. 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."
For the history of the Inn, go to