Caldwell Public Library Makes Preservation New Jersey’s Most Endangered List

Caldwell, NJ – Preservation New Jersey relesed its 2022 list of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in the state and Caldwell Public Library is on it.

Here’s how the library is described:

The Caldwell Public Library is a 1917 Classical Revival Carnegie library, designed by architect and Caldwell resident Lynn Grover Lockward. It is one of four Carnegie libraries in Essex County still in its original building. The Library is a 1 story, 3 bay brick building, and is distinguished by its temple-like austerity and diminutive size. The civic and formal appearance is reinforced by decoration derived from classical elements, including tri-partite vertical division with a projecting central bay, round arched multi-paned windows and a frieze parapet. The Borough is planning to demolish the Caldwell Public Library and redevelop the area as part of a Municipal Complex to include Borough Hall, the police department, a community center, and a health and human services facility.

It is special for a town to have a Carnegie Library. The Library and its ability to tell the story of Caldwell and the legacy of Andrew Carnegie to future generations is irreplaceable. The building can be adaptively reused or at minimum the facade can be preserved and incorporated into the plans for the new building. Preservation New Jersey urges the Borough of Caldwell to reconsider their plans for demolition and adopt a policy of adaptive reuse for this landmark building.

The 10 Most Endangered Historic Places program spotlights irreplaceable historic, architectural, cultural, and archeological resources in New Jersey that are in imminent danger of being lost. The act of listing these resources acknowledges their importance to the heritage of New Jersey and draws attention to the predicaments that endanger their survival and the survival of historic resources statewide. The list, generated from nominations by the public, aims to attract new perspectives and ideas to sites in desperate need of creative solutions.

Selections to the 10 Most Endangered list are based on three criteria:

· historic significance and architectural integrity,

· the critical nature of the threat identified, and

· the likelihood that inclusion on the list will have a positive impact on efforts to protect the resource

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  1. Sadly, the town council has deemed this library to be condemned and are projecting it to be torn down soon. So much for historical preservation. The quaintness of the town is fading fast. History and beautiful old buildings are being replaced everywhere we look…seems that no one cares much anymore. Such a shame!

  2. Thank you Baristanet for posting about our Landmark Caldwell Carnegie Library that risks demolition for redevelopment.

  3. I don’t get it. How does this get on the NJ Top 10 List when it is not designated historic in NJ…in a town with a HPC, an ordinance, a HP Element of the Master Plan? Seriously, how does this happen? This is clearly not a historic structure.

    However, it seems. Caldwell has decided a public library is not in their future – or is there another branch? That is the big question by Montclair standards.

    I keep saying the mantra of somebody significant to HP – preservation is about what people want to preserve for the future. Not only does Caldwell not want to preserve this building, but they apparently have only 3 structures that were ever worthy of designation. I think it is safe to say the historic preservation in Caldwell, as public policy, is, at best, whimsical.

    Let it go.

  4. Frank …The Caldwell Public Library is designated as a local landmark since 2016. We are working on the state and national designation. It is clearly a historic structure. I disagree that historic preservation in Caldwell as public policy is whimsical. There is much hidden history to bring to light in Caldwell and Essex Fells and in a broader spectrum, from farms to resorts to architect designed summer estates to Sears Kit houses.

  5. The Caldwell Counsel wants to create a modern monster structure that is neither needed or wanted by its residents. It’s current mayor is moving away but wants to force it down the citizens throats before he goes. Why? Leave the charm of the town the way it is. We are not a booming metropolis that needs a municipal complex built by the “lowest” bidder only to be torn down like the parking garage which is now an eyesore and a hazard.
    The library is a Carnegie Library and can not be torn down. The green can not be encroached upon any further than it already had been. STOP the insanity and leave our tiny town to its historic roots.

  6. frankgg,

    Speaking of Sears, maybe one of these is tucked away in Caldwell. Great name for a car.
    Note the Russian angle.

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