(WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ) -- The Olde Stone House, aka the George Jr and Sarah Morgan House, in Washington Township looks strange these days - sporting ugly plywood doors and boarded up windows on the first floor. Soon, however, the iconic symbol of Washington Township on Egg Harbor Road will have windows and doors faithfully restored to their previous look.
The Window Repairs & Restoration, LLC. Company, an historic preservation contractor, has taken the pieces from the Olde Stone House to their shop in Gloucester City NJ for the restoration. In business since 1988, Ray De Piano and wife Cheryl have worked on restoration projects for the Independence Hall Tower, Philadelphia City Hall, and many others. Two volunteers from the Friends of the Olde Stone House Village visited the shop on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 to observe the progress of the project.
Foreman Chris Capaldi showed three of the first-floor windows in various states of needed repairs. One window, with wood that has held up pretty well, will only require stripping, coating with a special epoxy, and then repainting with an approved Sherwin Williams paint meant for historic work. Another will take more restoration or replacement of wood, and a third is missing its muntins and glass entirely (muntins are the cross pieces that hold the small panes of glass) and needs to be rebuilt. Specific woods are required by the architect and glass will be replaced with similar panes dating to the first restoration of the building in 1986. In all cases, a special chemical epoxy will coat the restored structures to prevent future water damage.
Likewise, the three doors to the house, two facing Egg Harbor Road and the third opening onto the herb garden in the rear, are in various states of disrepair. Wood rot has taken a toll and the white pine has in places softened considerably. At least one door will require a patch known as a ‘Dutchman’ which will be added with mitered edges to ensure stability.
The Olde Stone House was built about 1765. It is sufficiently significant to merit inclusion on the National Registry of Historic Sites partly because stone was an unusual building material in sandy South Jersey, and secondly, because of its unusual coursed ashlar façade, with squared blocks on the front of the building as opposed to the more usual random placing of stones. The Township acquired the building and its 6.2 acre site in 1980 as a gift from the developer of nearby Saddlebrook Farms. In a state of bad repair, the house suffered from a fire later that year, and in 1981, the Historical Society volunteers began an effort to restore the house to its original appearance. They dedicated the house in 1986.
Restoration work on the first-floor structures has been funded in part by the New Jersey Historic Preservation Fund through a Capital I grant, partially by the Washington Township Historic Preservation Commission, and also through a grant from the Donors’ Trust branch of the Americana Corner Foundation. Grants are provided and overseen by the Historic Preservation Commission, a group of volunteers appointed by the Township to oversee the Olde Stone House Village. For more information, or to donate money toward further repairs, or to join their group of volunteers, click here.
Submitted by Connie McCart, Washington Twp Historic Preservation Commission