“Our preservation of the past is a responsibility to our future!” – Salem County Historical Sites | The historically rich and beautiful George Abbott House in Elsinboro, New Jersey saved from demolition after private buyer decides to purchase residence after seeing Facebook Posts.
The George Abbott House, a beautiful, historic home built in 1704 that has deep roots in American History (especially Salem County history) was recently purchased by an individual who saw one of the various of posts on Facebook in regards to saving the home from being demolished.
In the Change.org online petition of individuals trying to save the home from being demolished. The George Abbott House is a Salem County historic treasure built in 1704 that was seized by the British in 1778 when local Salem County militiamen during the Revolutionary War were tracked to the nearby Hancock House on March 21. British Major John Graves Simcoe led approximately 300 British soldiers along with British Rangers through a marsh and Alloway’s Creek then surrounded the Hancock House. Around 5:00 AM, the British entered the home to surprise 20-30 local militiamen stationed there with Judge Hancock, a loyalist judge, who was killed alone with seven others at the melee where the rest were wounded and/or captured.
“From the attic window of their home in Elsinboro … William Abbott and his son Samuel witnessed in the dawning morning light, the British and Tory soldiers pursuing and killing the few American militiamen who had escaped the scene of the carnage at the house and surrounding yard.”
“The next morning while driving to a meeting in Salem, several British and Tory troops surrounded the Abbott carriage and after tormenting the occupants by thrusting their bayonets at them, showed them blood on their steel weapons and exclaimed, “See the blood of your countrymen.'” (Wikipedia: Hancock House)
This story is one of TRUE AMERICAN PATRIOTISM and PRIDE! To think the State of New Jersey would CONSIDER demolishing the historically amazing, beautiful both inside and out home is quite embarrassing. Without remembering, learning from, and continuing to tell of our local communities’ past; how can other’s truly appreciate their home and its culture and heritage!? When this is done within one’s community, it is an injustice and our government’s leaders need to remember that such actions will be reflected upon come November!
Thank you to the private purchaser who took history into their own hands!
Staff photos by Zach Ahl
Photos from Facebook Post via The New Jersey Preservation
One of the many posts shared across Facebook and Social Media leading to the purchase of the George Abbott House and property.
See the featured video from SNJ Today to help bring a bit of attention to the issue by clicking here.
The video summarizes the issue that was troubling the likelihood of one of (if not) the oldest residences in Salem County.
See below for screen shots from webpages of Salem County’s Historic Sites Inventory and its criteria for determining the historical significance of homes via 1967. This was recently linked from visitsalemcountynj.com in early July 2016 when first doing research for this article. Since then, the content and links have been updated.
The above documents cannot be found online anymore but one of the connecting URL’s was http://www.salemcountynj.gov/cmssite/default.asp?contentID=718 which now brings up a 404 page.
The following resources have been made available just recently by Salem County via its website which was updated from the above list and pdf’s to the following pages:
Below is an excerpt from the official Change.org page:
The Green Acres program of DEP, state of NJ, has a purchase contract on a property along Alloway Creek in Elsinboro Township. The Abbott House is a stuccoed patterned brickwork house dating from 1704 and 1724. As such, it could be the earliest such house, and certainly one of the earliest, to stand intact.
The Abbott House is in very good, habitable condition. It holds a determination of eligibility for the National Register or Historic Places, that is, it could be listed, but it is not yet listed. It is situated very near to the Abel and Mary Nicholson House which is a National Historic Landmark. Both of these are part of a concentrated collection of surviving early patterned brickwork houses that was recommended in a Salem County survey to be a NR historic district. That is its level of its significance. But Green Acres is not bound by National Register eligibility, it is only bound by NR listing, and it is too late in the process for that.
The sellers have had the house on the market for a year with no success, and, desperate, resorted to the state’s open space program. Green Acres will buy it, but not with a house on it. Penny Watson of Greenwich and I [Penelope Watson] are working with the owner, a potential buyer, Green Acres, and others to make a sale possible, but we need more time. After August 1st, a requirement by Green Acres to demolish within 60 days will kick in.
It is outrageous that a state preservation program requires a perfectly good historically significant house to be destroyed. It is also a misuse of taxpayers’ money. After giving the owners $295,000 for the property, most of that real estate value will go into a landfill. Cultural property into a landfill! By edict of the state! The Abbott House could be given away and moved, but the lightweight narrow road out would not likely support the load or the width of the house, even if someone could be found to spend that kind of money. Not likely.
We are asking people to sign a Change.org petition which will go to our state Senator Sweeney and the DEP Commissioner, to protest the demolition requirement. https://www.change.org/p/senator-save-the-1704-george-abbott-house-in-salem-county-nj-from-demolition-by-the-state-of-nj