Maplewood Library, Preservation Commission Provide Monthly Home History Help

by The Village Green
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Commissioners Ginny Kurshan and Cara Soh were at the Grasmere Local History Room at the Maplewood Hilton Library on Saturday to help residents research the history of their homes and to provide maintenance and care tips.

Commissioners Ginny Kurshan and Cara Soh were at the Grasmere Local History Room at the Maplewood Hilton Library on Saturday to help residents research the history of their homes and to provide maintenance and care tips.

Members of the Maplewood Historic Preservation Commission were at the Grasmere Local History Room at the Maplewood Hilton Library on Saturday, September 19 to help residents research the history of their homes and to provide maintenance and care tips.

When I arrived, one local resident was trying to identify the year his home was constructed. His predates the majority of Maplewood houses as it was built in the 1800s, but there was ambiguity as to which year, specifically. 

I was there to learn about repairing the original windows in my 1925-built home. Most homeowners would begin this process by calling a contractor, but I wanted to know more from a preservation perspective. After all, at various points during my home’s history, beautiful (and most likely drafty) casement windows were replaced with not-quite-operable vinyl windows.  I want to reestablish those lost details as well as learn how to repair our original windows that aren’t fully functioning.

Commissioner and local architect Cara Soh recommends “taking an overall inventory of a home’s windows, then cataloging those that are historic versus those that have been replaced. We would want to take into account budget and needs and, ideally, work to restore the windows.  Or if they have to be replaced, selecting windows that reflect the character of the home’s details and that are appropriate for its facade.”

Visitors to these local research days hosted by the Commission can also learn about their home’s doors and its millwork. 

“We want to help homeowners balance the implementation of modern materials and technologies with the historic context of their buildings,” explains Soh.

Between this monthly ‘Research Your Home Day’ and the recently digitized catalog of donated real estate files available at the library, Maplewood residents should be able to put together a rich picture of their home’s history. 

And for those wanting to learn more about Maplewood and South Orange, in general, the library also recently endeavored to digitize its hundred-year collection of the News-Record of Maplewood and South Orange. This archive is now fully searchable and is available online here.

The Commission offers this free event on a monthly basis. If you’d like more details, visit their website (www.historicmaplewood.com) or the township calendar (www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/calendar).  For residents interested in learning more about the The Maplewood Historic Preservation Commission, they meet the first Wednesday of every month at 8:00 pm at the Maplewood Municipal Building.

Related article: How to Research the History of Your South Orange-Maplewood Home

Click on the photos below to enlarge.

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