By BARBARA S. ROTHSCHILD
The borough's preservation society is looking for a few good projects. The 35-year-old Haddonfield Preservaton Society is accepting nominations for the Joan L. Aiken Historic Preservation Awards for Excellence, which will be presented on May 18 during National Historic Preservation Week.
"The awards recognize the contributions of property owners who have made improvements to their respective historic property, and encourage other property owners to improve their property in a manner which respects the the architectural integrity and historic context of the community," said Carl Nittinger, the society's current executive director.
The exact time and location of the awards ceremony will be named later.
The annual awards are named for the founder and former executive director of the society. Aiken, who lived in the borough for nearly 50 years, passed away in 2000.
Aiken also spearheaded the drive which resulted in a 1971 ordinance creating the 488-building historic district in the center of town.
The awards are presented to organizations, businesses and individuals for outstanding contributions in the following categories of community historic preservation: restoration, rehabilitation, maintenance, addition to a historic building, remodeling a commercial property, exterior paint colors, beautification to the historic district; shop-front window displays and/or treatments, garden design, landscaping/landscape features, lighting and signage.
Award certificates will be presented to as many as five recipients at the ceremony.
Nittinger said the society has its collective eye on several projects nearing completion. Among them is the house at 100 Washington Ave., where owners Thor Nilsen and Camille DiLullo have restored the front and rehabilited the rear.
"The home had become an apartment building and is now being reclaimed as a private home in historically correct colors," Nittinger said. The original porch, once removed, has been restored.
Nilsen and DiLullo bought the Victorian house, built in 1888, almost three years ago and are now renovating the interior.
"We did a lot of research to bring this as close to the original as we could," said DiLullo. She and her husband, Nilsen, were able to find an old pen-and-ink drawing to help guide them, as well as a tape recording from someone who had previously lived in the house.
When they pulled off the added aluminum siding, the couple found vestiges of the original paint, as well as the original gold gingerbread trim. They repainted the house in light yellow, with dark green trim and accents of cream. Nilsen redid the original latticework under the porch.
Another project involves a plot of land at the corner of Kings Highway and Evergreen Avenue which the borough has turned into a park area through government Green Acres funds.
"Originally, this was part of the Tatem property, but they only acquired it in the 1930s. Before that, it was thought to be part of the Gill farm," Nittinger said.
The site, adjacent to the old Tatem house at 309 Kings Highway, was coveted for office buildings and for private homes. But the borough wanted to keep it as open space. Now being transformed by a local landscaper, it is called the Edith and Joseph Tatem Memorial Garden.
"It looks very soft, not harsh ... a natural-looking landscape," Nittinger said.
He added that the society is considering the park, should it be nominated, as a possible site for the awards ceremony.
Nominations are to include a completed form, a narrative explaining why the group or individual deserves recognition, and no more than four color photos, all in booklet format. Completed forms are to be sent to the Haddonfield Preservation Society, c/o 130 Walnut St., Haddonfield 08033. The deadline is April 5.
Blank forms may be available at the public library, the Mabel Kay Hospitality House, and the Acme. They are also available from Nittinger. For more information, contact him at (856) 427-9741.