Last call at Lakeview before closing for fix-ups

JAMESBURG – This Sunday will be the last time the public can step inside the historic Lakeview mansion for an estimated 18 to 24 months.

The Route 522 building will undergo a longawaited, county-funded restoration project.

Preliminary work has already obscured some of the public areas in the majestic 23-room mansion, but many of the displays set up by the Jamesburg Historical Association are still undisturbed. The public can view them from 1:30-5 p.m. Victorian-era refreshments will be available.

Following the final tour, the association will begin the task of packing the mansion’s huge collection of Jamesburg-area artifacts, including the famous “Lincoln coach,” and placing them into secure and climatecontrolled storage, according to a press release from the association.

Lakeview, the home of Jamesburg’s namesake, James Buckelew, was constructed in sections between 1685 and 1870. The borough obtained the building in 1979 in an attempt to preserve a part of its history, entrusting its care to the Jamesburg Historical Association. Over the past 28 years, the association has acquired thousands of area artifacts to display in the mansion and two outbuildings.

Two years ago, borough officials and the historical association members agreed that major restoration, repairs and preservation work had to be done on the mansion. They were able to obtain historic preservation grants from the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders to, among other things, repair and replace the main support beams, reinforce the foundation, install a completely new HVAC system to help preserve the artifacts contained within, bring the electrical system up to date, replace the front porch and make repairs to the two outer buildings.

The county has awarded nearly $900,000 for the project.

Association activities will be curtailed somewhat while the mansion is closed, but the members plan to use facilities offered by other area historical and fraternal groups. The association hopes to increase its membership and will begin a major fundraising campaign for equipment needed to preserve and properly display its collection when the mansion reopens.

Further information can be found at: www.jamesburghistory. com, by calling (732) 521-2040, or by emailing jamesburghistory@aol.com.