Battlefield Preservation Update:
The Princeton Battlefield Society's appeal of the Princeton Planning Board’s decision is before the New Jersey Superior Court. This involves the filing of the brief, reviewing and responding to the IAS reply brief and making an oral argument before the court probably by May. The critical point: If one or more of the seventeen counts prevails, the IAS will be faced with a critical decision to continue - - either to appeal the decision to the Appellate Division, go back to the drawing board on plans that it took them almost 10 years to formulate and go through the hearing process all over again, or, in our heartfelt wishes, to come to terms with us and plan faculty housing on another site.
The Princeton Battlefield Society is also before the New Jersey Appellate Division to insure that the watershed rules established by the Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission (DRCC) which now prohibit the IAS from carrying out its building plans cannot be waived without a public hearing before a quorum of the DRCC. Finally, the Battlefield Society has evidence that the IAS will be building its housing on wetlands and is planning on bringing an action in federal district court under the Clean Water Act to stop IAS from building on the battlefield.
Clark House Preservation:
In September 2012, the final version of the Thomas Clarke House Preservation Plan arrived from John Milner and Associates (JMA). This marked the end of a multi-year project to document the history of this structure and to prepare for its stabilization and preservation. In order to make the report's results more accessible for the general public, our consultants created a 24x36" exhibit panel which features images of the house over time as well as a brief text block summarizing the report's conclusions. This panel is currently being fabricated and is expected to be delivered to the Park within the next few months.
With the Preservation Plan complete, work has now begun on putting it into action. On February 12th, Structures Committee Chair Will Tatum and Curator John Mills met with representatives of JMA and Historic Building Architects to discuss Phase 1 work on the Clarke House. The work will begin with an investigation of the building's sill. In timber-frame structures like the Clarke House, the sill is comprised of timbers set atop the stone foundation, into which the house's framing connects. It is one of the two primary entry points for water (the other being the roof), which is likely the major cause of most of the deterioration in the building. Tatum is now working closely with JMA to develop a schedule for a structural engineer to inspect the sill in conjunction with a DEP work team, which will temporarily remove and then re-affix the lowermost three levels of clapboard siding. Once this process is a complete, we will have a more exact scope for the work to be done and can move forward into the full project design phase later this spring.
To help with either effort, donations may be made to "The Princeton Battlefield Society", PO Box 7645, Princeton, NJ 08543.