Connolly & Hickey 

Nathaniel Drake House
Plainfield, New Jersey
Client: Historical Society of Plainfield
Grants: Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund, Union County Historic Preservation Trust Fund

Nathaniel Drake House

Nathaniel Drake House Nathaniel Drake House Nathaniel Drake House Nathaniel Drake House
Nathaniel Drake House Nathaniel Drake House    
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Brief Historical Overview:
The Nathaniel Drake House was constructed for Nathaniel Drake and his new wife circa 1746, and remained in the Drake family until c. 1860 when Daniel Drake sold the property to John S. Harberger of New York City. The property remained in the possession of the Harberger family until 1921 when it was sold to a local civic organization who soon after turned it over to the Historical Society of Plainfield. The house has served as the headquarters of the Historical Society since that time and provides space for permanent exhibits and interpreted rooms as well as general exhibit, office and support space of the Society.

The Nathaniel Drake House is significant for its architecture and how the evolution of the building reflects the changes within Plainfield from an early colonial settlement to a modern suburb, its association with the Drake family, who were prominent early settlers in the region, as well as its association with General George Washington during the Battle of Short Hills.

Scope of Services:
As part of a long-range planning process undertaken by the Society, a Historic Preservation Plan for the building was prepared that assessed the exterior and interior conditions, identified specific immediate and long-term needs, determined a period of significance, and made preservation-based recommendations for restoration and rehabilitation. Included as part of the recommendations to restore the deteriorated exterior building fabric, to repair interior fabric and upgrade existing mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems was the recommendation to provide a barrier-free entrance and restroom as well as restore a number of lost features including the front and side porches and the porte cochere, which were removed or modified in the early-twentieth century. Estimates of probable cost were prepared to assist the Society in budgeting.

Connolly & Hickey prepared grant applications to the New Jersey Historic Trust and Union County for the Society. The Society was awarded four capital grants, two from the Trust and three from the County for the partial exterior restoration and structural upgrades at the house, completed in 2006, and for the insertion of new mechanical systems and partial interior restoration work completed in 2009. The second phase project includes the restoration of the front porch and dormer and the integration of a barrier-free entrance to the first floor level: the restoration of the front porch and barrier-free access is complete and fundraising is underway for the restoration of the dormer. Connolly & Hickey prepared the contract documents and administered the contracts during construction for each phase.

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