Newark Landmarks would like to thank Preservation New Jersey for adding the James Street Commons to its Most Endangered List of 2021.
More than 40 years after being listed on the national and state registers of historic places, James Street Commons, Newark’s first properly designated historic district, is now at a critical juncture in the city’s social, cultural and economic development.
Hopefully the listing will alert residents and the conservation community across the state to the enormous and pointless destruction the wrecking ball has wreaked over the decades.
Many regional institutions such as Rutgers-Newark, Audible, L&M Development, and the Hanini Group have recognized the district’s assets for both their historical value and future viability of Newark, America’s once-innovation city.
The Preservation New Jersey listing is a major recognition for the ruthless demolition of buildings at risk, most recently and particularly by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
At the current demolition rate, there will soon be very little to tell in the James Street Commons, a trend that should frighten Newark’s other properly registered historic neighborhoods.
Preservation New Jersey’s listing also draws attention to the approval of state and city governments on the decisions that are causing these devastating losses.
The annual list of people at risk draws attention to the widespread benefits of monument preservation. Let the James Street Commons buildings, abused by myopic planning and parochial business interests over the common good, learn some important lessons for any historic New Jersey neighborhood. May their loss not be in vain.
Newark Landmarks, formerly the Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee, was founded in 1976 and is the city’s premier nonprofit monument preservation organization. It has over 70 local buildings and structures on the National and State Register of Historic Places.
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