Progress Vs. History
This winter it seems that a slew of new businesses are emerging in Jamesburg. They could
not have come at a better time: Jamesburg is literally scrambling for money to keep taxes low
due to the state budget crisis/freeze. Although our town is 99% built up, new business seem to
be forthcoming on the few areas of open space that are available and through a process of
"urban renewal". These new ratables will be beneficial to Jamesburg's tax base in the long run,
yet can have detremental results to a community such as Jamesburg where traditions and history
are an integral part of everyday life.
History is very important to Jamesburg. First settled in the late 1600s, the area around
Jamesburg has had many historical firsts and has been regarded as a hub of activity around
the time of its incorporation as a Borough in 1885. Strolling down the streets, many of the
large historical houses can be seen on East and West Railroad Avenues, Harrison Street, West
Church Street, and Gatzmer Avenue. Of course, many more estates and mansions existed
at the turn of the century, yet most have succumbed to fire or demolition. Although many of
the houses are gone, history remains strong. The Presbyterian Church has been standing for over
125 years and is a historical treasure to the community, in addition to the famed Buckelew
Mansion, circa 1685.
Today, Jamesburg is losing another of its historical houses. This time it is victim to the
wrecking ball. The house, known by some as the Kirpatrick House, Stoffler House, or more
recently, the DiBrizzi House, has been standing proudly since 1910. Jamesburg resident Tony
was at the site on the day the pictures were taken. "The house was beautiful.
It had seven acres, tennis courts, and a boathouse down by the lake," commented Tony.
The house is only seven years away from its 100th birthday. Though many generations of
Jamesburg residents have owned the house, the beauty of its architecture and historical value
is still strong. Some may say it looks shabby, yet once you think of the grandeur that the
house once had not too long ago, one may realize its importance and character to the community
A CVS will occupy the land that the house now sits on. In some ways, it will help raise
property values and add to the tax base of the community, which is great. Yet, the CVS is
a double-edged sword. Which is more important? A house rich in history or a CVS which can
generate tax revenue? Some may think that money is important, yet can money buy history?
Once the house is demolished, the memories, character, and historical value at the corner
of Perrineville Road and Forsgate Drive will be lost - Forever.
Open space is rare in Jamesburg. Being 99% built up in a 0.9 square mile area, one may think
that there is no space left for new buildings. But sadly enough, builders have chosen an
area of woods that measures about two acres on Forsgate Drive across from Beaver Brook Run
to house a new office/store complex. Not only is Forsgate Drive busy enough, Jamesburg has
lost more of its woodlands. Some may cite safety issues or noise/light disturbance as being
a problem, but no one has commented how Jamesburg has lost one of its last untouched open
It is hoped that these new businesses thrive and aide in Jamesburg's quest for lower taxes.
It is also hoped that the destruction of historical sites and open spaces is not on builder's
agendas. Unfortunately, the future does not look hopeful. With 1st Constitution Bank vying to occupy
a house on West Railroad Avenue, it is only hoped that we do not lose another important and
unique structure for the sake of ratables.
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