Connolly & Hickey 

Historic Metlar/Bodine House Museum
Piscataway, New Jersey
Client: Township of Piscataway & NJDEP Division of Natural and Historic Resources
Grant: Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund
Award: The Thomas Barton Post Preservation Award, 2004, Metlar/Bodine House, Piscataway Township's History Museum

Metlar/Bodine House

Metlar/Bodine House Metlar/Bodine House Metlar/Bodine House Metlar/Bodine House
Metlar/Bodine House Metlar/Bodine House Metlar/Bodine House Metlar/Bodine House
Metlar/Bodine House Metlar/Bodine House Metlar/Bodine House Metlar/Bodine House
Metlar/Bodine House      
(click on image for larger view)
Brief Historical Overview:
The Historic Metlar/Bodine House was constructed in three phases between 1728 and 1870. The house is historically significant as one of two houses remaining from the Raritan Landing settlement and is architecturally significant as a fine example of the Greek Revival style. Today the Metlar/Bodine House serves as the repository for the historical artifacts from the Piscataway and Central New Jersey region. The Raritan River Valley has been a vital transportation corridor. As such, the museum interpretation places an emphasis on the role of transportation in the development of this region from pre-history to the mid-twentieth century. A key element of the museum's collection is the Ross Hall Wall, which is an architectural artifact from Ross Hall, originally located a short distance from the Metlar/Bodine House. Ross Hall was the headquarters of George Washington during the second anniversary of the Declaration of Independence; the day was celebrated along the banks of the Raritan River. After the celebration, a ball was held and hosted by General Washington at Ross Hall.

Scope of Services:
A Historic Site Master Plan, prepared in May 2006 by the firm, provides a comprehensive plan for the use and interpretation of the house including expanding the facility to provide improved visitor services and a new Education Wing. The Metlar/Bodine Historic House Museum has become a premiere regional museum that examines the history and evolution of transportation in the region guided by the Interpretive Plan, "From Indian Trail to Interstate," as developed by the Fellowship for the Metlar House.

In 2003, the house experienced a fire in its 1870s section that significantly damaged four of the first and second floor rooms, the exterior siding, windows and doors as well as the roof and roof framing. Residual damage included extensive smoke and water damage to the interior and exterior finishes and the existing heating system. The fire also compromised the existing electrical system. Restoration of the building after the fire was broken into two phases. The first phase entailed the restoration of the exterior envelope including structural wall and roof framing repair and replacement, a new wood shingle roof and restoration of the exterior siding, windows and doors. This work was completed in January 2005. The second phase focused on the restoration of the interior finishes and features and upgrades to the existing electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems so that all systems meet current code requirements for occupancy, and life and fire safety. This work was completed in 2007. Both projects were administered and funded by the Division of Natural and Historic Resources of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Following this restoration work, the Township restored the front and side porches, the brackets at the roof cornice and the window shutters so the building reflects its late-nineteenth century appearance. Connolly & Hickey designed the most recently complete phase of the project which rehabilitated the existing garage to house accessible restrooms and museum support space, and to add a small addition that bridged the garage to the main house and houses additional visitor services and an accessible entrance.

The Fellowship is currently raising the funds for the proposed Education Wing which will house additional program and museum space as well as the Ross Hall Wall. Visit http://www.metlarbodinehousemuseum.org to learn more about the museum.

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Connolly & Hickey  l   P.O. Box 1726  l   Cranford, New Jersey 07016  l   info@chhistoricalarchitects.com  l   973-746-4911   facebook