The Lawnside Historical Society will show off restoration work it commissioned on the Peter Mott House, Dec. 17 from 12 to 3 p.m., thanks to a grant from the 1772 Foundation of Connecticut. The foundation awarded the Society a $15,000 grant in October. Ramar Construction began working on the house almost immediately.
The open house, rescheduled from Halloween weekend, will also celebrate the Society's 21st anniversary. Admission is free.
The Mott House has been open to the public as a museum of the Underground Railroad, the clandestine network of safe house and abolitionists who helped enslaved persons escape from bondage, since 2001. The Mott House is considered a rare example of a 19th-century two-story, wooden farmhouse in a Black town owned by a free Black agent of the Underground Railroad, the Rev. Peter Mott. Lawnside was established in colonial times and eventually became a settlement of manumitted and freedom-seeking people of African descent.
The National Trust and the New Jersey Historic Trust partnered with the 1772 Foundation to review the grant application.
The 1772 Foundation has as its mission "preserving America's historical treasures." The grant was used to paint the house, repair its chimney, exterior doors, steps, windows and sash, interior plaster and the roof.
The Mott House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. All work on it must comply with the standards of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior and be approved by the state historic trust. The museum is open each Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. and by appointment on other days. A $5 donation is requested for adults and $2 for students. More than 1,000 youth, teachers and history lovers have visited the house-museum annually since its opening.
The Society is seeking additional funding for landscaping, a new fence around the property and to implement a regular maintenance plan for care of the house and grounds. Tax-deductible donations can be sent to the Lawnside Historical Society, P.O. Box 608, Lawnside, NJ 08045-0608.
The Lawnside Historical Society, a qualified organization of the New Jersey Cultural Trust, has received a general operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. The Society is a non-profit, federally tax-exempt membership organization dedicated to the preservation of the Peter Mott House and the promotion of Lawnside's heritage as a uniquely African-American town.