Freeman’s Funeral Home in Freehold NJ, owns the property next door to them.
On that property is the historic Christopher House.
The Christopher House is a Greek Revival building that was built between 1830 and 1840 and the last of this type on Main Street.
Although covered in plastic siding, the building was leased out to some local business’ and was a nice addition to Main Street Freehold.
It is surprising most of the historic character has been maintained by the owner of Freeman’s Funeral Home because the funeral parlor is also in a historic building.
As you can see in the photo, the architecture of the current funeral home was remuddled and covered with cheap looking plastic siding, plastic windows, shutters, and fake stone.
Unfortunately there was an oil tank under the Christopher House that was leaking.
The oil tank was apparently located under the house which seems odd, yet the leak could have been remediated.
One option stated in the local newspaper was to elevate the house and do the remediation before the oil leak became worse. The cost could have gone as high as $90K.
If the cost was to be this high one would think the borough could assist with the clean-up costs for such an important Main Street building. However this was enough for the Land Use Committee and the Council to approve demolition.
The Freehold Historic Preservation Commission, known for allowing demolition to historic buildings surprisingly opposed the demolition. They opposed the demolition because there was no solid evidence of a leak. The Historic Preservation Commission argued that this must be referred to the Planning Board but the Council ignored this request. (Thanks for trying HPC) One wonders why the Council would ignore the HPC in favor of demolition. Something here seems very fishy. Of course we will never know if anything was discussed behind closed doors?
Here is a newspaper article stating the lack or evidence and speculative information presented on behalf of Freeman’s Funeral Home. Click here.
Here is a later newspaper article stating that the Council has authority to demolish the historic building without looking into it further. Click here.
The historic building was demolished very soon after. The oil leak turned out to be very minor and was cleaned up in less than a day. Sod was laid down immediately after, so quickly that no one hardly saw anything.
A landmark building on a downtown Main Street was allowed to be demolished with hardly a blink of an eye. This is proof that the Freehold council does not care about the few historic buildings remaining, but they do care about catering to a business that has a big name in town and didn’t want them to pay the high price of remediation. This is how Freeman’s Funeral Home and the government of Freehold operate.
I just wonder what is next to be added to a long list of historic demolitions in town. Demolitions that should never have been allowed but were. Money is more important than history. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. There are a few trees planted there now and a flag.
In a few years I am sure we will see that piece of property being used for funeral parlor parking. If not that, a new building in a Disneyland historic style will be built like there is up the street. It will be all plastic and everyone will say how nice it looks. Simple-mindedness has effected the masses, including architects when it comes to architecture.
Another Greek Revival building directly across the street was also lost a few years ago. Read about the historic Richmond House and how Freehold demolishes history.
Sadly there is more. A homeowner gets awarded for remuddling their home .
What’s next Freehold?