Little Silver's has made the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, gaining unanimous approval on Sept. 28 from a state review board comprised of noted architects and related experts on historic sites and structures.
Inclusion on the state list is required for the site to gain national recognition, helps protect the site and is an important qualification on grant and aid applications.
Mayor Robert Neff, Jr. attended the review board hearing in Trenton and thanked them for their support of the nomination.
“This is an important step on our journey to preserve this important landmark for future generations,” Neff said.
According to Meredith Arms Bzdek, Ph.D, a partner with the borough's consultant, Mills Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC, the nomination will now go on to the State Historic Preservation Officer for listing on the register, and then to Washington, D.C. to be signed onto the National Register of Historic Places.
Preliminary work at the site and the consultant's fee has been funded thus far through a $44,625 grant from the Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund.
“We continue to work with the original grant money, and intend to aggressively seek additional grant money now that the nomination is on its way,” said Neff.
The Parker Homestead was built by Peter Parker in 1667, and has sections dating to 1720, the early and late 19th Century, and the 1910s and 1920s. It is located on Rumson Road near Sickles Park. Little Silver was previously known as Parkerville before separating from Shrewsbury.
Also attending the meeting were Councilman Jon Bitman, liaison to the Parker Homestead Board of Trustees, chaired by Monte Edwards, and Chester Apy, a member of the board who spoke in support of the nomination.
“It was invigorating listening to the Review Board’s discussion, because they seemed so in support of it, commenting on the beauty of the main house,” Neff said. “This was substantiation by outstanding, objective professionals who truly understand historic structures that this is not just a nice old house, but an historic treasure warranting national recognition.”
The site was listed in 1976 on the state register, which at that time did not entail such a detailed and rigorous application, and did not qualify the site for inclusion on the National Registry, according to Bzdak.
The homestead, which includes a main house and three outlying barns, was acquired by the borough from Julia Parker, the last descendant of the original family, who passed away in 1996. Former Mayor Suzanne Castleman was the driving force behind the acquisition, and she was a strong supporter of the project until her death in July.