Frequently Asked Questions
How do I join the MPHDA?
Are there any tax incentives for owners of historic properties?
There is also pending NJ State legislation in under the Historic Property Reinvestment Act. Visit Preservation New Jersey’s “Take Action” webpage for more details.
How do I research the history of my house?
The South Orange Public Library, Scotland Road, 973-762-0230, www.sopl.org maintains an informal archive of maps, tax maps, local atlases, and old phone directories dating back to the late 1800’s. The old phone directories are a great source of information. Most provide a list of phone numbers not only by name of property owner, but also by address (reverse listing). You can look up your address and then turn to the page with the former owner’s name and phone number. The older directories often list the owner’s profession.
A Title search of your property, searching back from current deed to previous deed, and so forth, can provide you with a list of the names of all previous owners to your property. You can complete this title search on your own, or pay a Title Company to complete it for you. All of Essex County’s titles are recorded at the Essex County Hall of Records in Newark. For information, call 973 621 – 4960 or visit their website. The Hall of Records also has a map archive.
Seton Hall University maintains historic archives including old maps, atlases, vintage postcards, and photographs. It was popular, years ago, to photograph homes to be used as postcards.
There are also archives available at the New Jersey Historical Society in Newark, and the New Jersey State archives are located in Trenton. Contact the NJ State Historic Preservation office to find out the location of the state archives in Trenton. The State Historic Preservation office publishes a booklet with further information which pertains to researching the history of your property. In addition, the South Orange Historical & Preservation Society, a village-wide preservation group, also publishes a similar pamphlet.
What is the definition of an Historic District?
- Represent a significant period(s) in the development of the town
- Or have a distinctive character resulting from their architectural style. Resources within an historic district shall be classified as “key”, “contributing”, or “non-contributing”.
What is an Historic Site?
- Of particular historic significance to the Village of South Orange by reflecting or exemplifying the broad cultural, political, economic or social history of the nation, state or community; Associated with the historic personages important in national, state or local history; The site of an historic event which had a significant effect on the development of the nation, state or community; An embodiment of the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of architecture or engineering; Representative of the work or works of a locally, regionally or nationally important or recognized builder, designer, artist or architect; Significant for containing elements of design, detail, materials or craftsmanship which represent a significant innovation;
- Able or likely to yield information important in prehistory or history.
A site is defined as real property, whether public or private, with or without improvements, which is the location of a significant event or series of events, a prehistoric or historic occupation or activity, or a building, structure, or object, or any configuration, portion, or group of the foregoing which has been designated by the Commission as having historical, archeological, cultural, scenic, or architectural significance.
Is my house within the Montrose Park Historic District of South Orange?
Within this shaded area, there are properties which are considered to be “contributing” to the district (the majority of properties), and some which are considered to be “noncontributing”. Some properties are considered to be “key” properties.
What is a “contributing” versus a “noncontributing” property to the Historic District?
Non-Contributing is defined as any building/s, structure/s, site/s, or object/s that are not integral components of a defined historic district because they neither date from a time period for which the district is significant nor represent an architectural type, period, or method of construction for which the district is significant.
(An object is defined as a material thing of functional, aesthetic, cultural, historic, scenic, or scientific value.)
What is the definition of a “key” property in the Historic District?
How do I determine whether my home is a “contributing”, “noncontributing”, or “key” property to the Montrose Park Historic District?
What is an Architectural Survey?
There are various types of surveys including ‘Windshield Level’, ‘Reconnaissance Level’, and ‘Intensive Level’. The survey noted above is considered to be an intensive level survey.
- Windshield Level Survey, also known as a Reconnaissance Level Survey, includes initial information on local properties including buildings, structures, objects, sites, and districts, etc., as well as a preliminary report containing an historic overview of the survey area, survey methodology, and recommendations for further research.
- Intensive Level Survey. In depth documentation of buildings, structures, objects, sites, and districts already identified in a Reconnaissance or Windshield level survey.
What is an Architectural Inventory?
An inventory is a list of historic properties determined to meet specified criteria of significance.
What is a designated property?
What is a designated district or landmark district?
a) has acquired a unity of character through the interrelationships of the component buildings and sites; and
b) has been designated as having historical, archeological, cultural, scenic, architectural, or other significance.
A Landmark is a building, structure, site, or object which has a special character or special historical or aesthetic interest as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of the township, state or nation, and which has been designated as a landmark pursuant to the provisions of the Ordinance.
What is the difference between “historic preservation” and “restoration”?
Restoration is considered to be the historically accurate repair or replacement of architectural features.