Save Milltown's Historic Firehouses!
Save Milltown's Historic Firehouses!
Milltown's two historic firehouses are threatened! There has yet to be any official commitment from Milltown's mayor or councilmembers to save either iconic firehouse, since our new firehouse is now fully operational. Some of them have made these proud Milltown landmarks sound like budget-solving line-items that can be discarded for a short term, one-time gain. However, because of the amount of history and beauty that exists in both firehouses, the folks of Milltown deserve to have them preserved for posterity. These proud buildings must be logically repurposed in a manner that doesn't add another empty lot or storefront to our town, and that doesn't increase the number of cars or apartments in town. Time is short, as the subject will undoubtedly be brought up for discussion in the near future, since the Milltown Fire Department has been given until January 1st to get everything out of the firehouses and Eureka Fire Museum.
The Milltown Historical Society is ready, willing, and able to lease the South Main Street firehouse, with the same terms as that of the small neighboring Milltown Museum and Museum Annex, and turn that entire small area into a Milltown Heritage Park. By simply expanding the lease agreement to include the firehouse, the Society will be able to take on the long term project of funding, repairing, and restoring what was originally a schoolhouse, to it's earlier glory. This addition to the Milltown History Museum, would provide a space to finally display the Milltown artifacts, pictures, maps, and blueprints that are currently stored throughout the basement, attic, and closets of the two small farmhouses that serve as the Museum. The Society's desire has been mentioned at several council meetings over the years, and this petition will reinforce the amount of interest in this plan. The South Main St Firehouse is the absolute most historic and most important borough-owned building, having originally been built as a school house in 1889, and then being converted into a Borough Hall/Municipal Court/Firehouse in 1911; and even being the original meeting place of the Rescue Squad, who parked their LeSalle ambulance in the barn out back; then becoming solely a firehouse, years later after a new borough hall was appropriated.
Our town's Cottage Avenue Firehouse, having been the first purpose-built Milltown firehouse in 1923, has the classic firehouse look that every American knows and loves as a firehouse. With "Milltown Fire Department" permanently emblazoned in concrete above the engine bays, it is a mighty example of our Fire Department's history, and one worth saving and repurposing for use as the new Eureka Fire Museum. The current Eureka Fire Museum is situated in an old barn that is weathered and beaten, cannot accept visitors at this time, and is no place for so much history and Fire Department artifacts, including the Department's antique fire engine, to be stored.
Please sign this petition to show your support for our Milltown history, and to help encourage our mayor, councilmembers, to pledge their support for these beautiful, historic, and iconic Milltown buildings and their logical repurposing for all future generations of Milltownians to enjoy.
This would be done at NO additional cost to Borough taxpayers- as funds for any restoration, renovation, preservation, and upkeep, will be raised by non-profit organizations and volunteers, as well as having them always be on the lookout for applicable grants to help with various projects. Much the same as what the Historical Society currently does for the Milltown History Museum.
Our Milltown firehouses have been listed in Preservation New Jersey's 2019 Top Ten Most Endangered Historic Places list, as prime examples of something desperately worth saving throughout our entire state.