CALDWELL, NJ — During National Preservation Month in May, Preservation New Jersey, Inc. (PNJ) named the Caldwell Motor Bank in the Borough of Caldwell as one of its 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey.
According to PNJ, Caldwell Motor Bank is a “striking 1963 mid-twentieth-century modernist bank in Caldwell’s central business district features three pedestal-like pavilions connected by an undulating thin-shell concrete roof.”
“Currently for sale, its loss of function and valuable location leave it vulnerable to demolition and redevelopment,” PNJ states on its 2017 list of endangered historic places. “This architecturally distinguished building in this prominent location can and should become a community asset with the application of creative thinking.”
On the front steps of the State House in Trenton last month, PNJ was joined by the advocates for this year’s endangered historic places at a rally to support New Jersey’s threatened cultural and architectural heritage.
The 10 Most Endangered Historic Places program spotlights irreplaceable historic, architectural, cultural, and archeological resources in New Jersey that are in imminent danger of being lost. According to PNJ, the act of listing these resources acknowledges their importance to the heritage of New Jersey, and draws attention to the predicaments that endanger their survival and the survival of historic resources statewide.
The list, generated from nominations by the public, aims to attract new perspectives and ideas to sites in desperate need of creative solutions.
“Several challenges face properties on this year’s endangered sites list, including the difficulties of raising adequate historic preservation funding, neglect and deferred maintenance, threats incurred by redevelopment and new construction, the need for creative adaptive reuse proposals, and the lack of state entities recognizing and preserving historic resources,” PNJ stated. “As the economy continues to improve, the impacts to historic properties and places are more imminent.”
According to PNJ, the list demonstrates increased development pressures resulting in threats of demolition of the historic resource; the need to incorporate history and historic preservation in redevelopment plans for neighborhoods, towns, and cities throughout the state; and the value of using preservation as a positive tool for revitalization.
“As we acknowledge each year, selections to the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list are based on the likelihood that historic buildings and places can be brought back to useful and productive life,” PNJ stated. “PNJ proudly points to many properties previously listed among the 10 Most Endangered that have now been saved and preserved or rehabilitated, and have once again become character-defining assets to New Jersey’s communities.”
In announcing this year’s list, PNJ also shared recent news regarding the Union Hotel in Flemington, which was included on its 2016 list. The Flemington Redevelopment Committee and the developer have reached a new redevelopment plan that no longer calls for demolition of the Union Hotel and another historic building on Main Street.
Although PNJ’s 10 Most Endangered Properties list is published once per year, the fight for the preservation of the state’s historic and cultural resources is daily, and PNJ said the news of the Union Hotel is evidence that bringing awareness of such threats can bring about creative solutions.
The Caldwell Motor Bank was the only property listed from Essex County.