LEGACY OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION
Jersey City has witnessed storied preservation battles. Legendary community figures–such as Ted Conrad, J. Owen Grundy, and Morris Pesin–valiantly fought for the preservation of the Hudson County Courthouse, the Loew’s Jersey Theatre, and the historic landmarks in Liberty State Park. Neighborhood advocates successfully worked to obtain the designation of four national historic districts in downtown Jersey City.
BIRTH OF A PRESERVATION ORGANIZATION
In the late 1990s, Jersey City began to undergo a development boom. This welcome phenomenon posed its own challenges. Rapid, unchecked growth threatened the destruction of Jersey City’s historic buildings and sites.
In 1999, several Jersey City residents concerned with the danger posed to Jersey City’s historic fabric and structures met to discuss ways to manage this threat. This group included an artist, an educator, a banker, an economic development official, a contractor, an attorney, and a minister-in-training. These residents quickly realized that Jersey City had a diverse and active citizenry supportive of historic preservation. However, Jersey City lacked an umbrella organization to coordinate and support citywide efforts.
In 1999, the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy was founded as a not-for-profit corporation and it adopted the iconic Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Powerhouse as its flagship campaign (and its logo!). Almost immediately, JC Landmarks began a wide range of activities to preserve, promote, and protect Jersey City’s historic buildings and landscapes.
Since its founding in 1999, JC Landmarks has held walking and bus tours to share the history of Jersey City with visitors and residents. It has advocated for landmark preservation at the local and state levels. It has partnered with neighborhood associations, students, artists, churches, and individuals and organizations throughout our diverse city. The Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy believes that preservation is not simply about saving historic buildings and structures: preservation weaves these treasures into the vibrant economic and cultural fabric of our great city.