The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced on Tuesday the award of almost $811,000 through the Historic Preservation Grant Program at a regular freeholders’ meeting, including grants for the Dunster Squibb House in Bernardsville and The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House in Bedminster.
The program is funded through the Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, and is part of the Somerset County Open Space, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.
The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, an organization that has fostered the establishment of a living history museum at the Jacobus Vanderveer House in Bedminster, was awarded $45,000 for the Pluckemin Cantonment Digital Virtual Presentation.
Each year, the historic home off Route 202/206 has moved further in historic renovations and the establishment of programs. The annual was presented at the end of November and in early December.
The Dunster Squibb House, owned by Bernardsville Borough, was awarded $38,000, said a news release from the Somerset County Freeholders.
According to information on The Historical Society of The Somerset Hills website, James Dunster was a Revolutionary War veteran and most likely built the house sometime in the late 1700s or early 1800s. His son Oliver (1811-1891), except for a few years in his youth, lived his entire life in this house.
A copy of an 1850 map of Somerset County indicates an O. Dunster residence along Mine Brook Road. At the time, Dunster owned all the land on Round Top Mountain. Charles F. Squibb, whose father Edward Robinson Squibb founded Squibb Pharmaceuticals in New York, first appears in the 1910 census at the Mine Brook Road house. The Squibbs continue to own the property through the last currently available census in 1930, the historical society's site said.
Voters of Somerset County approved by referendum the expansion of the existing open space and farmland preservation trust programs to include historic preservation activities.
Eligible applicants for funding include Somerset County government, municipal governments and non-profit organizations whose purpose is historic preservation. Property criteria include historic sites that are certified as eligible by the State Historic Preservation Office or that contribute to an eligible historic district. Acceptable activities include acquisition, stabilization, rehabilitation, restoration and/or preservation of a historic site, as well as educating the public about these sites.