MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund by launching an interactive, online story map of all historic sites found in the county, specifically offering background information, photos, video, and geographic data on all sites that benefited from county historic preservation grants.
“We hope this story map can make the public more aware of the many historic treasures that are in our midst, and also acknowledge the strong support the Commissioners have shown toward historic preservation that contributes to the high quality of life here in Morris County,” said Ray Chang, Historic Preservation Program Coordinator for the Morris County Office of Planning and Preservation.
The story map was created by the Office of Planning and Preservation to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the grant program.
The Historic Preservation Trust Fund was established by the Morris County Board of County Commissioners after voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum on November 5, 2002, to allow a portion of the Morris County Open Space & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund to be used for historic preservation
Morris County has now awarded 512 grants amounting to $45,945,925 to assist in the preservation, protection, and restoration of 122 historic properties since 2003 when grants were first issued for protecting historic sites through Morris County’s Preservation Trust Fund. The sites are located in 34 towns around Morris County.
“This has been an exceptionally successful and well-received program, with nearly $46 million being committed to assist in the preservation, protection, and restoration of 122 historic properties since the first grant was issued in 2003,” said Commissioner Stephen Shaw, the board liaison to the county Office of Planning and Preservation.
“Almost everywhere you go in Morris County, you can point to a place, a building, or a monument that represents a specific era in American history, from the days Native Americans lived here and Europeans began to settle in, to the American Revolution, the industrial revolution and beyond. Morris County has a wealth of sites and structures embodying the American story, and our trust fund has helped to preserve that,” he added.
The story map is based in part on digital mapping data provided by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Geographic Information System, as well as data on historical properties compiled by the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. A legend is provided identifying various levels of historical determinations afforded different sites.
However, the story map dives deepest into Morris County historic sites, specifically the 122 sites afforded grants through the Historic Preservation Trust Fund over the past 20 years. Using the GIS mapping, visitors may navigate to all 122 Morris County sites easily and view photos, background information, and, where available, videos and audio presentations that provide a fuller understanding of the site’s significance.
The Historic Preservation Trust Fund considers grants for the acquisition, stabilization, rehabilitation, restoration, or preservation of historic resources by municipalities, qualified non-profits, and the county. Many sites have received multiple grants over the years for various stages of preservation, from planning to actual construction.
Applications are reviewed by the volunteer members of the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund Review Board, and the board ultimately recommends each year to the County Commissioners what projects should be provided grants and the amount of each grant.
The new story map introduces visitors to the 11-member review board. Click here to view the story map.
Historic resources must be listed or certified as eligible for listing on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, in order to be eligible for the program.