With the Borough Council's recent of that the Fair Lawn Historic Preservation Commission is responsible for overseeing the repair of the Dutch Colonial-era Naugle House, the commission is reaching out to the community to collect stories detailing the landmark's past.
“The Naugle House was built before the Revolutionary War and we are excited to see what stories will be coming our way,” said commission member Maureen Moriarty, who is heading the story collection initiative.
Members of the commission are pleased with the amount of authority that the Borough Council gave them over the Naugle project.
“We were pleasantly surprised,” member Ray Richter said at last week historic commission meeting. Richter expected Fair Lawn to form an oversight committee for the project, but the council instead felt that members of the historic commission itself would be best suited the job.
At their meeting, historic commission members discussed reaching out to the community and the county to collect stories about the Naugle House, in addition to stories about the rest of Fair Lawn’s past.
“Right now, we are just collecting names, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for people who would be interested in taking part,” said Moriarty.
The commission hasn't yet decied what form the oral history project will take, with one possibility producing a similar to a recent one put out by the Ridgewood Public Library.
Moriarty explained that taking responsibility over the Naugle project is the culmination of more than five years of work to save the house.
“This is pretty cool, to see how this began as a grassroots movement in 2004,” said Moriarty.
The Borough Council in November to purchase the Colonial-era Naugle House and its surrounding property on Dunkerhook Road from developer David Neidani for $1.7 million. Neidani, who bought the 1.76-acre tract that abuts in 2004, planned to build townhouses on the land. Instead, Fair Lawn will turn the property into a passive park with benches, pathways and possibly a bocci court.
The house was listed as one of New Jersey’s Top 10 Most Endangered list in 2007. However, local elementary school raised public awareness attention about the plight of the house, and the council eventually decided to save it from development.
“The Naugle House has an amazing history and since we have working to preserve it, we had the chance to meet a family who lived in the home back in the 1970s,” said Moriarty. “We are glad to be a part of it.”
Those who wish to share their stories about the Naugle House should contact Maureen Moriarty at (201) 797-8769.