This is the first of 12 posts in our A Laker’s Dozen: 12 “Sweet” LHF Achievements from 2016 series – reflecting on and celebrating 2016 and the Lake Hopatcong Community.
Hello Lake Friends,
We would like to update you on the progress we have been making on the renovation and restoration of the Lake Hopatcong Station building. In the past year, the station was added to the National and State Register of Historic Places, a historic preservation plan was completed by the Connolly & Hickey Historical Architects, and restoration efforts began. The intent is to restore the station to its 1911 appearance as much as is practical to enable its reuse as a community center and home of the foundation. Local builder Bob O’Donnell of Mount Arlington, who specializes in historic structures, has been continuing his incredible efforts on the project. See video by Bob O’Donnell on the parapet restoration below.
The first phase of work was to address structural issues and masonry repairs. Fortunately, the building was basically sound. The issues stemmed from renovations made over the past 50 years which weakened two walls. The internal structural work was completed in spring 2016 and work then progressed to address the masonry issues on the roof. The stone parapets that you see as you drive by had greatly deteriorated in the 100+ years since the station was constructed and needed to be rebuilt. We are happy to report that the restoration work on the parapets is being completed as this is being written. This was the final step necessary to be able to restore the original tile roof.
THEN AND NOW
Replacing the roof with the original ceramic tiles was considered an essential step from both a historical and durability standpoint. The Morris County Historic Preservation Trust agreed and we received a $215,571 grant in August to buy and install the tiles. Competitive bids were obtained and the roofing contract was awarded in September to Alden Bailey, a firm specializing in tile roofs. We are currently awaiting shipment of the tiles from the manufacturing plant in Ohio.
In addition to the grant for the restoration of the roof, during the past year the foundation also received a grant in the amount of $13,265 for the masonry work from the 1772 Foundation and $10,000 from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help with the cost of interior architectural services. Most grants we receive require the foundation to contribute a designated percentage, which is why contributions from the community are so important.
Many of you participated this past June when the first portion of our native plant garden was installed on the station grounds. Thanks to Hopatcong resident Nick Karpiak and his work on his Eagle Scout project, along with Hopatcong Boy Scout Troop 88, many local businesses and other volunteers, the station grounds provided beautiful flowers all summer. The garden was designed by students and faculty at County College of Morris Landscape Management and Design program and our Landscape Committee Chairman, Tom Wiss.
In September, the American Chestnut Foundation joined the effort by providing five chestnut seedlings. American Chestnuts were once the predominant tree in the Lake Hopatcong area but they were wiped out by the Chestnut Blight of the early 1900’s. These new seedlings are part of a 50-year breeding program to produce a tree with all of the American chestnut features yet blight resistant. We are very pleased to assist this effort and reintroduce the American chestnut at Lake Hopatcong. At the same time the chestnut seedlings were planted, a new section of the native garden was also installed.
The intent is to start using the building for programs and community events in spring 2017. Completion of the train station project is expected to take several more years. Work will continue in phases. The foundation plans to fund the completion costs through additional grants (several significant applications are currently in the works), donated in-kind services from local craftsmen, and financial contributions from the public.
Many thanks for all of the support we have received to date and please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Lake Hopatcong Foundation Chairman of the Board
Look for the second post next week in our A Laker’s Dozen: 12 “Sweet” LHF Achievements from 2016 series on Aquatic Invasives Species Prevention!