One of the oldest buildings in southern NJ, the Upton Log Cabin, built as a tavern along the South Branch of Big Timber Creek in Gloucester Township is now in need of an organization that will apply for a planning grant to preserve and restore it. The fate of this historic place was thought to be secure. The plan was for the Township to purchase the property with Green Acres, the Camden County Historical Society to lease it, and everyone to move towards obtaining grants and other funding to preserve the historic house. It was thought there would be involvement of the West Jersey History Roundtable and college-based preservation programs in studying the building and unraveling its history, and the Gloucester Township Historic and Scenic Committee and other groups to promote the use of the nearby Marshall House, the waterway, and bike/walking trails to bring public awareness to the site.
Things were looking up as the Township and Green Acres moved forward with the required property assessment in September. But as attention shifted to the fight for the Hugg-Harrison-Glover House, nothing was happening to move the preservation plan for the log cabin forward. January 1st (when the Township’s Open Space funding become available for the property’s use) came and went, and now the fabulous funding opportunities available through the Preserve New Jersey grants are slipping away. The Township Manager stated that the Township had other priorities, and no eligible organization has stepped up to apply for a planning grant, despite the Owner’s willingness to give permission for someone to do so.
The home is very early — late 1600s or early 1700s — and has remarkable integrity. It is built of squared logs. Everything is vertically sawn. The rafters are mortised, tenoned, pegged, and numbered. There’s a lovely paneled fireplace wall with winder stairs, wood door latches, and HL hinges. There are still oil-burning lamps with corresponding smoke bells on the ceiling. Original window sash with Georgian muntins and a few replacement sashes from the Federal period. And a secret hiding place under the attic floor that really could have concealed a runaway slave and now holds 2 pre-historic Native American tools, a cannonball, and a bucket that once held lamb’s livers. This building is a little architectural gem!
Please give some thought to new solutions to save this remarkable piece of history. For more information you can contact Margaret Westfield at [email protected]