Monday, February 27, 2012

Lewis M. Green

Lewis M. Green, one time travelling clock salesman, notable Freemason and five-term mayor of Woodbury, made his eventual fortune from a handful of flowers. A sufferer of dyspepsia, Green was prescribed various herbal remedies that worked so well (not least to mention some of the ingredients being opium and alcohol, legal in those days), he purchased their formulas and went on to market, "Green's August Flower" and "Boschee's German Syrup". Green eventually sold the business, with an annual royalty agreement and stipulation that the enterprise need remain within Woodbury, to his son George Gill, who went on to become the city's first millionaire.

The Green family are largely identified with the general improvement of Woodbury during the Victorian era, adding to its growth and beauty by the erection of magnificent dwellings and places of business and entertainment. Lewis M. Green's own home is not exempt from this proud status. Once located at 255 South Broad St.,  on the NW corner of W. German St. (now Barber Ave.) and Broad St., the former site of this fine Italianate structure is now home to a drug store chain and large parking lot. It was torn down in 1944 for a gas station. Let that be a lesson to us. NOT ALL PROGRESS IS GOOD. Sigh... *

This fine home was built soon after the Civil War.
It stood for almost 75 years and was known for its
French plate glass and handsome ironwork.
circa 1886
circa 1883
Lewis M. Green was personally responsible for constructing the Second Empire style mansard roofed Green Castle Hotel which has been recently threatened to be razed. Another notable contribution was the establishing of the lovely Green Cemetery located on Barber Avenue. Carpenter and Carter (1937) write:

In the early spring Lewis M. Green had purchased 2000 trees and shrubs for transplanting in his cemetery enterprise out Glassboro avenue. They included European larch, curl leaf birch, many varieties of evergreens, the variegated althea which flowers early in the fall, and many other ornamental trees and shrubs. The cemetery was a favorite interest of Mr. Green, and in his last will he made ample provision for its permanency.

On a Tuesday evening, 2 Jan 1894, Lewis M. Green at age 77 died at his home. He was buried Saturday the 6th in Green's Cemetery. Happy to say his cemetery at least still exists today in 2012.

image: Walter Hellerman

image: Walter Hellerman

Carpenter, J. D., & Carter, B. F. (1937). History of Woodbury, New Jersey: From 1681 to 1936. Woodbury, NJ: Gloucester County Historical Society.
Cushing, T., & Shepard, C. E. (1883). History of the counties of Gloucester, Salem, and Cumberland New Jersey : With biographical sketches of their prominent citizens.Woodbury, NJ: Gloucester County Historical Society.
Woodbury (N.J.). (1971). Century of progress: Woodbury, N.J., 1871-1971. Woodbury, N.J: The Committee.
* this is what the site of the house looks like today:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Historic Preservation Needs Survey

I urge anyone interested in Woodbury's historic buildings to fill out the New Jersey Historic Trust needs survey. This survey will help the Trust identify historic buildings with specific needs and begin to quantify the costs associated with making these structures relevant and useful in their communities.

The survey began on February 1, 2012 and will run until May 1, 2012. It will pose questions about a building's use, repair needs, projected repair costs, and, if appropriate, its participation in heritage tourism development.

A "historic building" is defined as a structure that was built more than 50 years ago, or prior to 1962. A property does not need to be listed on the state or national Register of Historic Places to be included in the survey. Buildings that may participate include: historic residences, farmsteads, factories, theaters, museums, houses of worship, fire houses, libraries, railroad stations, schools and more. Buildings owned by private homeowners or businesses are not eligible for this survey.

It is our understanding that the more folks that fill out this survey, the better chance we have to garner local interest. Some eligible buildings in Woodbury that should be included in the survey and their required information are as follows (pick your favorites to list!):

*The following are considered contributing buildings in a listed historic district, except the G.G. Green Opera House, Woodbury Friends' Meetinghouse, and the Hunter-Lawrence-Jessup House which are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Green Castle Hotel (currently threatened)
85-89 Cooper Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
Block: 118
Lot: 27
5388 square feet
built: 1881

Green Estates Stable House part of the former Green Estates (which was most recently used as Catholic Church Convent)
211 Cooper Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
Block: 142
Lot: 9 and 10
approx. 4000 square feet
built: 1889

Sketch Club Players Theater (formerly West End School)
433 Glover Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
Block: 57
Lot: 14
3832 square feet
built: 1889

Christ Episcopal Church
62 Delaware Street
Woodbury NJ 08096
Block: 79
Lot: 1
3045 square feet
built: 1856

Catholic Church Rectory (formerly Daniel Steelman residence)
64 Cooper Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
Block: 117
Lot: 26
approx. 4000 square feet
built: 1880

G.G. Green Opera House Block
104 S. Broad Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
Block: 113
Lot: 1
18736 square feet
built: 1880

First Baptist Church
544 N. Broad Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
Block: 123
Lot: 10
approx. 3000 square feet
built: 1858

Kemble Memorial United Methodist Church
19 S. Broad Street
Woodbury NJ 08096
Block: 77
Lot: 17
approx. 6000 square feet
built: 1891

Presbyterian Church at Woodbury
67 S. Broad Street
Woodbury NJ 08096
Block: 77
Lot: 1
approx. 3000 square feet
built: 1834

St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church
86 Cooper Street
Woodbury NJ 08096
Block: 145
Lot: 1
2453 square feet
built: 1909

Woodbury Friends' Meetinghouse
120 N. Broad Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
Block: 121
Lot: 4
7200 square feet
built: 1716

Gloucester County Historical Society (Hunter-Lawrence-Jessup House)
58 N. Broad Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
Block: 120
Lot: 6
approx. 4000 square feet
built: 1765

Woodbury Train Station
101 Cooper Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
Block: 112
Lot: 1
1420 square feet
built: 1883

This is a partial list and does not include various historic Court Houses, Fire Stations, City Hall, Post Office, etc.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

HELP! Green Castle Hotel threatened.

 UPDATE 10/23/2012: Great News! City Council has denied the appeal made by the Holy Angels Parish/Diocese of Camden to raze the Green Hotel!!
UPDATE 8/14/2012: Please note that Woodbury's City Council has scheduled the application for Holy Angels Parish – Appeal of Planning/Zoning Board Denial of Certificate of Appropriateness– to be fought on October 22, 2012.

UPDATE 6/8/2012: The church and their legal representatives are seeking to appeal the city's decision preventing them from tearing down this contributing historical building within the officially recognized Green Era Historic District  #88000992 on the State Register of Historic Places! Apparently they just don't get it. I urge you to contact them to express your interest in preserving this unique Second Empire Victorian Era Hotel! See below for their contact info.

Hotel Green Woodbury New Jersey threatened by the Holy Angels Catholic Parish for demolition

Your help is required! Woodbury, NJ stands to lose yet another Green landmark. This time it's the Green Castle Hotel, a lovely Second Empire Victorian building with beautiful keystone lintels built by Lewis Green (former mayor of Woodbury and father to G.G. Green, Woodbury's first millionaire). This hotel is located at the corner of Cooper St. & Railroad Ave in the Green Historic District and was built in 1881 to accommodate the many trains arriving across the street at the now preserved Eastern Stick style train station, home of the successful Woodbury Station Cafe. It does not go unnoticed that many in this town would like to raze structures such as this one that stood as welcoming symbols to visitors and tourists arriving everyday from far and wide to visit this once, and still proud city.

The Details:

An application has just been submitted to the Historic Preservation Commission by the Holy Angels Catholic Parish and their governing Diocese of Camden requesting permission to raze the building for yet another parking lot! This is an absolutely absurd request as there is ample free parking all around the area including the church's own large parking lot, free street parking at the side of the church on Euclid Street, a free city parking garage a half a block away on Cooper Street and plentiful free city off street parking across the street on Railroad Avenue.

They are stating that as a religious / charitable organization they do not have the money to maintain the structure, which is apparent given the current visible condition of the building, but they certainly were able to come up with the $271,000 to purchase it in 2005 knowing they would need to maintain the structure. They are also stating there is no historical value in the building and its architectural style and that it could serve no other purpose. One could easily see this as an Internet cafe, coffee shop, art gallery, or better yet, a fully preserved Victorian hotel bed and breakfast to attract some historic-minded tourism to the town. How about a Green-themed historic center showcasing the many innovations and attractions the Green family brought to the area in the 1800s?  If the diocese does not want to donate or sell the building to more interested parties, Paul Willham, owner of the Indianapolis based Victorian Antiquities & Design Historic Restoration company suggests they think of potential adaptive reuse of the building, maybe as classrooms, a meeting space or future community center space.


call, write, email or Facebook the parish and diocese KINDLY stating that you are not happy with their plan to demolish the building. It is apparent from past efforts in obtaining architectural restoration quotes and applying for preservation grants that the parish would like to see the building saved.

Can you offer them any suggestions?

The Diocese of Camden, Holy Angels Parish and their legal representative contacts are as follows:

Diocese of Camden 
631 Market Street
Camden, NJ 
Phone: 856-756-7900 
Fax: 856-963-2655

Holy Angels Parish
64 Cooper Street
Woodbury, NJ
Phone: 856-845-0123 
Fax: 856-845-7409

Rev. Msgr. Joseph V. Di Mauro, Pastor


Holy Angels Parish's legal representative: 
Francis J. Monari, Esquire, McKernan, McKernan and Godino
113 North Sixth St.
Camden, NJ

Sands, R. W. (2006). Woodbury: Images of America. (p. 128). Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing.