Historic review report November by fjzhxb


									Dennis Bertland Associates
Historic Preservation Consultants
P. O. Box 11, Port Murray, New Jersey 07865 Telephone: 908-689-6356 Fax: 908-689-6523 Email: bertland@nac.net


Clinton Township Planning Board Dennis N. Bertland Cultural Resources Investigation, Windy Acres Development, August 2000 Draft comments November 29, 2000 The above-mentioned report has been reviewed for its methods and findings in the identification and evaluation of “potentially significant cultural resources within the Area of Potential Effect (APE) for the proposed Windy Acres Development” [page 11]. The review was conducted by Dennis N. Bertland in consultation with the Clinton Township Historic Preservation Commission; Michael Gregg, archaeologist, and Meghan MacWilliams, architectural historian, of the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office; and Salvatore D. Capaldo and James Lee, archaeologists, of the Cultural Resource Consulting Group, Highland Park, New Jersey. Clinton Township Historic Preservation Commission; Michael Gregg and Meghan MacWilliams, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office,



1) Background research appears to be thorough, and the environmental, prehistoric and historic contexts are adequately developed. While the historic context is well researched and detailed, only a generic culture history of New Jersey is given for the prehistoric context. 2) Investigative methods are adequate, for the most part. However, conclusions often are drawn without offering analysis as to how the investigative data justifies the finding. 3) In several instances additional investigation will be necessary to evaluate the eligibility of identified resources. 4) Report exhibits a number of minor typographical errors and factual inconsistencies including pagination problems in the Table of Contents and dates given on pp. 9-2 and 7-22. Windy Acres Cultural Resources Investigation Review, page 1

Section 8: Archaeological Investigations Report findings: Pedestrian surveys and/or shovel tests/excavation units were performed at twelve locations in the project’s area of potential effect. The identification-level investigation found only two potentially significant sites: Field A (28-Hu-539) with concentrated lithic scatter, & Field H (28-Hu-540) with bifurcate base point (early to middle Holocene occupation). Since Field H was outside the project development area, an evaluation-level investigation was conducted only for Field A “to determine the horizontal and vertical limits of the prehistoric deposits” (Grubb, page 8-35). The report concludes that “site 28-bu-539 [28-Hu-539?] does not represent a cultural resource that is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places” since “no features were observed, and there is an absence of intact stratigraphy” (Grubb, page 8-52). Comments/questions: 1) During the identification-level investigation, pedestrian surveys were conducted for Fields A to E, G & H, and shovel tests for Fields F & I (Grubb, pp. 8-1 to 8-35). Reasons for this distinction in methods should be given. Field B had the largest number of surface finds, but no reason was given as to why these resources were not considered “potentially significant” (Grubb, page 8-6). At the Mellos (Hoffman) Farmstead, no archaeological investigations were conducted within the walls of the house ruins (Grubb, pp. 8-23 to 8-34). Potentially significant archaeological resources may well exist in this area and should be addressed.



Section 9: Architectural Investigations Report findings: An intensive-level architecture survey identified and evaluated 11 properties at least 50 years of age within the project’s area of potential effect (Grubb, p. 9-1). Four of them, including the Gitlow Farm, were previously identified, but not evaluated in the 1979 Hunterdon County Historic Sites Survey (Grubb, pp. 9-1 and 12-52). The Gitlow Farm and Mellos (Hoffman) Farm were identified and evaluated as eligible in a cultural resource study conducted by the Cultural Resource Consulting Group in 1996; Gitlow for its architectural significance and Mellos/ Hoffman for information on early building techniques (Grubb, p. 9-2). The Central Railroad of New Jersey district received a Determination of Eligibility in 1995 (Grubb p. 12-55). The report concludes that the stone farmstead at the Gitlow Farm is eligible on the local level under Criterion C, as a relatively rare example of 18th century stone construction (Grubb, p. 9-4). The farm complex as a whole is not eligible, since the outbuildings and guest house lack historic and architectural significance. Regarding the stone farmhouse at the Mellos/Hoffman Farm, the report finds it ineligible, significant deterioration having rendered the ruin incapable of providing

Windy Acres Development, Cultural Resources Assessment Review, page 2

important information about its original appearance or techniques employed in its construction. “Because eligibility under Criterion D requires that the property be able to yield significant information about the past, the ruin cannot be determined eligible” (Grubb, p. 9-13). The farmhouse was documented in a separate report (Historical American Building Survey – John Hoffman House Ruins). The report concludes that the Ramsey-Clark Farm Complex is eligible on the local level under Criterion C. The house is considered an outstanding example of its type, is virtually unaltered, and has a high degree of integrity. The associated farm buildings contribute to the property’s significance (Grubb, p. 9-24). The report finds seven other identified properties ineligible because they lack historical or architectural significance and/or integrity: five houses on Main Street (#s 161, 224, 226, 228 & 230) and two on Old Mountain Road (#s 39 & 84) (Grubb, pp. 9-14, 9-24 & 9-25). Comments/questions: 1) Evaluation of the Gitlow House does not consider the theme/context of the transformation of area farmsteads into country residences by people of means during the middle decades of the 20th century. This development pattern appears to have had considerable impact in Hunterdon County and often included Colonial Revival renovations (see Dennis Bertland Associates, Wickecheoke & Lockatong Watersheds – Cultural Resources Survey, October 1999, page 3-5). The Gitlow House apparently was remodeled in the mid 20thcentury, and several of its outbuildings date to this period (page 9-4). This theme should be addressed in evaluating the property’s eligibility. A 1960s construction date is given for the drive-through corn crib (Grubb, p. 9-4 & Appendix H. This would be an unusually late date for a building of this type and form and should be further investigated. As regards the Mellos House, the report concludes that the building’s ruinous condition make it ineligible (deterioration having rendered the house incapable of providing important information about its original appearance). One might argue that the present state of the building presents an opportunity to learn about early construction practices by exposing features that are not normally visible. The HABS report, for example, notes the floor framing members were clear spanning from north to south (HABS – John Hoffman House Ruins, page 9), a method often associated with Dutch practices in New Jersey. The house may present an opportunity to study early building techniques and explore such questions as the interchange among different ethnic building traditions. Evaluation of the property’s significance should more fully explore the property’s potential in this area. The report mentions four properties that were identified in the 1979 Hunterdon County Historic Sites Survey but includes a survey form or listing for only one of them, the Gitlow House, in appendix F (pp. 9-1 & 12-52). No mention is made of the several dozen Lebanon Borough sites inventoried in the 1979 Hunterdon County Sites of Historic Interest (pp. 352-360), among which are two project area properties, the Ramsey Clark Farmstead and 161 Main Street. The report should determine if these resources constitute an eligible historic district, and if the Ramsey Clark and other Main Street properties contribute to the significance of any eligible district.



Windy Acres Development, Cultural Resources Assessment Review, page 3

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