Spring Meeting Features Program on Early Building Tradesmen
Discover the human stories behind the histories of several of the Hunterdon County area’s earliest buildings at our annual spring meeting and program on Sunday, March 19 at 2 p.m.
HCHS will welcome architecture historian Robert W. Craig, who will draw on his more than two decades of extensive research and his experience with the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office to discuss the building of “old” Hunterdon County.
The program will be held at the Flemington Presbyterian Church, 10 E. Main St. It’s free, and everyone is welcome to attend.
Titled They Will Build It, If You Come, the presentation is derived, in part, on research Craig has done for a book about the building of the mid-Atlantic colonies. “My research has revealed much about the building up of Hunterdon County during its first several decades, and about the persons who were involved in that construction,” Craig noted.
“I’ve been conducting this research for more than twenty years, in between other projects, and it arose from a desire to find additional methods to document early buildings, and to bring together the human stories of the buildings, themselves, together with a knowledge of them as designed physical artifacts,” he noted. Craig believes attendees will detect several key takeaways from his talk.
“First, colonial America is now far away in time, but its challenges and its accomplishments can still be well understood—much better understood than, in fact, they have been,” Craig said. “Second, much more can be learned about those times, even in specific places such as Hunterdon County, if the names of the building tradesmen who constructed the county could be known. And third, it is possible to learn their names and important facts about them.”
And sometimes what a researcher could learn about them turned out to be a bit of a surprise.
“I had some sense when I began that it was possible to identify who the builders were, because they were not exactly shy about naming the trades they practiced, but I didn’t realize that it was possible to a considerable degree to trace individual careers in the building trades, even in the 17th and 18th centuries” he said.
Craig’s work is well known to the historic preservation community. Craig was the editor of the book Down Jersey, From Bayshore to Seashore. In 2018, he completed a multi-year study of New Jersey’s patterned brickwork buildings for which he received the Paul E. Buchanan Award from the Vernacular Architecture Forum.
Anyone wishing to be notified when Craig’s book nears publication, can contact him at email@example.com.