The $34,163 grant, a first for the Community House, will be used towards a Preservation Plan being completed by Westfield Architects in Haddon Heights. The company is examining and researching CHM to compile a plan outlining the current physical condition, maintenance and engineering issues to make recommendations for ongoing maintenance. Once complete, the Community House can apply for capital grants to address the issues.
“The Community House of Moorestown is such a special place in the community; it’s really one of a kind,” Caryn Lynch, executive director of the Community House, said. “Receiving this state grant is so important for us to continue to support our local organizations and the community at large. We are so excited to be able to plan for the future of our beautiful and historic property.”
The Community House of Moorestown has a rich history in the Moorestown community. In October 1923, the Women’s Club of Moorestown was looking for land and financing to build a community center and approached Eldridge Reeves Johnson, founder and leader of the Victor Talking Machine Co.
Johnson agreed to donate the funds necessary to build the facility if the people in town would show their interest by creating a “permanent maintenance fund” for building operations. Within eight months, more than $106,000 was raised in a townwide fund drive.
Donations came from 740 individuals, 500 schoolchildren and dozens of local civic and fraternal organizations. Johnson donated what eventually became $250,000 to build the Community House. The cost of maintaining the structure was a key consideration in the architectural style of the building.
The current building on 2.2 acres is 25,000 square feet, and has three floors, 40 rooms, seven bathrooms and an elevator. Behind its stately façade are a ballroom, meeting rooms and office space utilized by many local clubs and nonprofit organizations.
“As can be expected, it is very expensive to maintain the large, old building and constantly be ‘event ready.’ But, through the support of the community, and now this grant, we have been able to operate for nearly 100 years and hopefully for the next 100 years,” Lynch said.