Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Donovan Rypkema, consultant for Main Street U.S.A. and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, visited Woodbury last July, 2011 to assist in the city's ongoing revitalization efforts. Having visited 2500 downtowns across the globe, Rypkema is considered a downtown redevelopment expert of sorts (Scott, 2011). His subsequent presentation assured city officials and residents that there is hope, that our downtown is not a hotbed of criminal activity as some are lead to believe, but that there did indeed exist a “culture of incivility." Foul language, public urination, obnoxious behavior, etc., all things that drive away potential businesses and their prospective patrons, are present in our downtown area. Rypkema's solution is one of no-tolerance; the good citizens of Woodbury need to take a stand and confront/report any and all unacceptable social behavior.

I often seem to rose-tint Woodbury's Victorian-era past here on the blog, but the truth is, similar problems existed even during Woodbury's heyday. One needs only to peruse a turn-of-the-century copy of the Woodbury Daily Times (now the Gloucester County Times) to illustrate this point. But things were a little different back then and law enforcement at the time could get away with more "direct" behavioral modification techniques, i.e. punishment. Take, for example, Woodbury's solution for their "culture of incivility" problem in 1904, transcribed here from a Philadelphia Inquirer article for your enjoyment....

Woodbury’s Effective Way of Ridding a Nuisance
Special to The Inquirer.
     WOODBURY, N. J., March 29. – The city authorities are trying another experiment in ridding the community of the tramp nuisance. The dozen or so of this gentry who were “run in” a few nights ago were put to work on the streets this morning, much against their will.
Water Superintendent Wilmer and Assistant Ford took the men out on Evergreen avenue this morning and set the gang to work with pick and shovel digging trenches for the extension of water mains. The men worked like Trojans after being told that thirty days would be added for refusal. All of them declared they will be glad to get away and steer clear of Woodbury in the future.

Scott, R., (2011, July 13). Consultant: Start small with downtown woodbury revitalization and big things will happen. Gloucester County Times. Retrieved from http://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/index.ssf/2011/07/consultant_start_small_with_do.html
Put the tramps to work: Woodbury's effective way of ridding a nuisance. (1907, March 30). Philadelphia Inquirer, p. 4.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Preservation Potentials: 220 Hunter St.


Attention: Victorian House Lovers, Steampunks, Anglophiles, and fellow appreciators of all things antique! I'm not sure old-house hunters outside the immediate area realize the unique architectural offerings Woodbury, NJ has in store. In some cases these houses will require a little creativity to restore them to their former glory, but most will have retained a large semblance of the magnificent days of English-inspired American architecture, for a fraction of the cost found in other areas.

Our Preservation Potentials feature this time around is the lovely and seemingly immaculate 220 Hunter Street, a 2083 square foot Victorian abounding with original exterior and interior details! Our last post highlighted Woodbury's wonderful lake system and now here's your chance to live right across from it! The photos speak for themselves, but the listing goes on to mention: Wonderful Covered Front Porch Greets You First, Then Enter The Front Parlor With Its Wood Flooring,Elegant Staircase And High Ceilings. Walk Through Into The Second Parlor Again With High Ceilings And Wood Floor And Trim, Complete With Quaint Window Alcove. The Large Diningroom Has A Side Porch Adding Yet Another Victorian Touch. The Eat In Kitchen Has Two Ceiling Fans, Stainless Stove And Built-In Microwave . The Large Wooden Deck Is Just Out The Kitchen Door, Ready To Entertain And Enjoy The Views From The Lake That Is Within A Few Steps of This Home. The Second Floor Holds Three Generous Sized Bedrooms With Ample Closets And A Full Bath With Claw Footed Tub And Pedestal Sink. The Third Floor Offers The Master Bedroom With Separate Sitting Room That Overlooks The Fenced Back Yard. You Can Walk Downtown, To The Schools At Either End of The Street Or Just Meander Around The Beautiful Lakeside Areas Just Steps Away. Just recently put on the market for $185,000, check the full listing HERE.

It is my opinion that reviving a once grand city is a community effort that largely starts at home. Vested homeowners that value the history and heritage of their house and who treat their home as an extension of the family and not just some place to crash, can and do make a difference. Preserve the past, to better the future!