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Matawan Historical Commission Makes Progress on Historic Building Inventory

The Historic Sites Commission is charged with creating an inventory of structures that are 100 years old or older.

A quick walk through Matawan highlights the historic nature of the over 325-year-old borough. Granite carriage steps still grace the sidewalks, homes from the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s still linger and the original train station building still greets vistors.

Over the last eight months, Al Savolaine, the vice chair of the Historic Sites Commission, has identified 171 sites for borough inventory of all structures over 100 years old. He presented a draft of the document to the council at their Oct. 18 meeting.

Right now, the living document is split into three categories, he explained.

The first category is composed of structures that have been cross referenced and positively confirmed as being over 100 years old through property records, photos, or other documents. The second category contains structures that are likely over 100 years old according to articles published in the Matawan Journal, Savolaine said, but still need to be cross referenced with other documents. The third category is for structures that Savolaine believes are over 100 years old based on architecture and location, however are not verified yet by any source. 

Savolaine is taking the project a step further in hopes of creating an interesting resource for the borough.

"As I verify that a house is 100 years old, I'm trying to write the narrative to try to locate as much history as I can, personal anecdotes and things like that so I can make an interesting document so at some point this book can go in Matawan Borough and in the Matawan Aberdeen Library for people conducting research on their hometown," Savolaine said.

In early February, the council directed the Historic Sites Commission, a volunteer committee, to research and create an inventory of buildings in the borough that are 100 years old or older.

That same month, the borough passed an ordinance amending the building and construction code to require a public hearing before for obtaining a permit to demolish a building that is 100 years old or older.

Nick J October 22, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Mr. Savolaine and other member of the commision thank you for your time and dedication.
JosephGhabourLaw October 24, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Even with NJ's model renovation code, code issues are still the biggest hurdle in purchasing and/or selling historic homes. While safety should never be compromised, code enforcement needs to be flexible regarding the renovation of historic homes, and questions need to be answered promptly. I'm not suggesting that Matawan has ever had such issues. Rather, I'm saying that by creating a "can-do" environment regarding restoration and code enforcement, Matawan can encourage the sale and/or renovation of homes.

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