For Immediate Release:
June 13, 2012
County lauds historic preservation efforts
Fifth-grade essay winners, others recognized
FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Historical Commission has announced the winners of the annual fifth-grade essay contest and the 2012 Preservation Awards.
“It is a pleasure to salute our young residents who have not only an awareness of history, but the importance it plays in their lives,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the Monmouth County Historical Commission. “Monmouth County is rich in history and I am glad to know that our youth are growing up with the desire to visit and to know more about local history.”
The 2012 first-place essay winner was Reece Horneck, of St. Leo the Great School in Lincroft, who wrote about Laird & Company, makers of Applejack, located not far from his home. “Applejack is a brandy distilled from apples,” Horneck wrote. “At one time is was the nation’s most popular drink. The colonists called it Hedgehog Quills and during prohibition it was called Jersey Lightning.
“When President Lyndon B. Johnson met with Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin at the Summit in Glassboro, NJ, he presented the Soviet leader with a case of Laird’s Applejack,” wrote Horneck, who was awarded a $100 bond as his prize. He said his parents have not let him taste Applejack, however.
Second-place winner John Matlosz of Holy Innocents School in Neptune wrote about his great-grandparents’ association with Gen. Douglas McArthur, America’s senior military commander in the Far East during World War II. MacArthur found fame leading America’s withdrawal from the Philippines with the quote “I shall return,” which he did.
“My grandmother ended up getting a job taking care of Gen. McArthur’s clothes by washing them by hand and ironing them,” Matlosz wrote of grandmother Frances, who they call Inang. “Our Inang said the general was very particular about his uniforms and even had his initials on the sleeves of his shirts.
“My great-grandfather also tended to Gen. McArthur by helping him get around Bataan,” added Matlosz, who was awarded a $75 bond for writing his family’s history. “I think my family’s history with Gen. McArthur is a unique one. It’s a story we can continue to tell from one generation to another, that we were part of an important event in history.”
Third-place winner Jule Gnazzo of St. Leo the Great School offered a moving and compelling personal story, which earned her a $50 bond. It was about her father, John, who died in the attack on the World Trade Center towers in 2001 when Jule was just 4½ months old and her brother was 3.
“He worked on the 101st floor of Tower One doing his job as vice president of the Operations Department at Cantor Fitzgerald,” Jule wrote. “This clear, perfect day suddenly turned into a black cloud of dust. Things changed from then on … buildings can be replaced but not people.
“My mother tells me that my dad was a very kind man and dedicated father,” she continued. “I miss him more as I get older. People say you can’t love what you didn’t have, but I do. My mom is raising us as a single mother. She is doing an A-plus job and I feel my father would be proud.”
In addition to the essays, preservation awards were given to the owners of property who have engaged in successful preservation projects on their own. The winning projects reflect three constituents of the preservation movement, private residences, business buildings and public places.
Fearing destruction of the Van Pelt House at 179 Freneau Ave., Matawan, Gail Chester took the ultimate measure to save the 18th century house – she bought what was nearly a wreck and restored it. The project and its architect, Michael Calafati, A.I.A., were given the private residence awards.
The mills that once dotted Monmouth County’s agricultural landscape are either gone or have been adaptively used. Bernard Hochberg preserved Millhurst Mills, Manalapan, while planning its new use. Returning the mill to its original exterior color and retaining interior work are features of his project.
The Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank has elevated its historic stature by securing listing on the National Register of Historic Places. After a sparkling interior preservation project, management undertook the exterior phase, which included extensive work on the masonry and replication of a historically correct marquee. The separate projects made them two-time honorees, along with their architects Mills + Schnoering Architects.
“We speak regularly of Monmouth County as a historic county,” Freeholder Burry said. “Monmouth County is historic not only for what happened here, but for the efforts of those who preserve its buildings to ensure that they will be here for future generations. Preserving these sentinels of the past takes more than interest in history; it takes personal dedication, hard work and financial commitment by these current guardians of our shared heritage.”
Preservation awards are given out annually to recognize people who have preserved a piece of Monmouth County history.
“Monmouth County has an amazing collection of historic buildings,” said Randall Gabrielan, executive director of the Historical Commission. “These include places to live, places to worship and places of public accommodation. Keeping these structures that give our county special character is more than ownership; it is a distinctive calling and mission.
“The owners engage in the exercise of maintaining historic property not for the awards, but because they know that caring for our heritage for the next generation is the right thing to do,” he added.
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