LEGACY OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION

Article in The Jersey Journal Looks Back on 1960s-Era Advocates Who Saved Courthouse - And New Groups Like JC Landmarks That Carry the Preservation Torch!

tedconrad

ACROSS THE ANTI-PRESERVATION AGE

By John Gomez for The Jersey Journal

Published Monday, February 21, 2011

A childhood memory as magnitudinous as the monument itself: my mother driving her dark-gold-tinted Cadillac up Newark Avenue -- it is the early 1970s, and Jersey City's abandoned architecture has already started to pull me in -- while her young son's astonished face is pressed against the back seat window to absorb, in a sudden explosive view, a boarded-up Beaux-Arts colossus.

I had never seen the Hudson County Courthouse before, even though it stood only a few blocks away from our First Street tenement apartment. But there it is in a single-second architectural drive-by: a lost-era edifice entirely new to me, sorrowfully deteriorated and vandalized, soiled and slimed to its Maine granite core with fossil fuel soot -- a muddied monument appearing and vanishing in an instant as our family car speeds away to Five Corners for an unwanted appointment with the doctor.

SECOND VISIT

Architecture often plays with fate -- one moment you are a small child encountering a magic-pulsed edifice from a moving distance and the next moment you are literally standing within its soaring sanctum, that same structural magic matured and magnified by the widened gaze of adulthood.

And so here I am on Newark Avenue in 2011 -- that back-seat discovery far behind me -- entering the courthouse to participate in a public panel that will analyze the building's contextual architectural history and reflect on the citizen-driven battle to preserve it...

Read the Full Online Jersey Journal Courthouse Article by John Gomez >

View the Online Hudson County Courthouse Photo & Caption Gallery >


Back to Top