TRENTON, N.J. ( Jan. 2, 1998) -- Writing in the lead "From the Governor" editorial of the just-released Winter issue of New Jersey Outdoors magazine, Gov. Christine Whitman praises the volunteers and restoration efforts at Haddonfield's Indian King Tavern Museum.
Ironically, the tavern, a state historic site, was almost closed early in the Whitman
administration as part of across-the-board funding cuts for almost all state historic sites.
||Winter, 1998, New Jersey Outdoors magazine.
In years past, local citizens and publications have had to repeatedly rally public and legislative support to maintain enough state funding just to keep the 248-year-old colonial tavern staffed with a single, salaried state employee.
That employee -- local resident and State Parks Service historic preservation specialist William Mason -- organized a corps of volunteer woodworkers and other craftsmen who have been restoring the interior of the building on Kings Highway over the last several years.
Those restoration efforts are now the subject of the largest and most profusely illustrated article in the 1998 Winter issue of New Jersey Outdoors.
In her editorial, Gov. Whitman writes that 'benefactors and volunteers who are helping furnish the Haddonfield museum with copies of authentic 18th-century tavern furniture and accouterments" are people "who delight in sharing their time and talents to preserve and protect these resources for future generations."
'Rewards of involvement'
She notes that Haddonfield's Indian King volunteers are among a growing number of citizens who are enjoying "the rewards of involvement" and she goes on to say that "On behalf of all New Jerseyans, I would like to thank these volunteers for their enthusiasm and generous support in making our state's natural and historic legacy even richer."
Some observers suggest that the governor's public embrace of the tavern's unique restoration activities would seem to bode well as the Indian King approaches its 250th anniversary in the year 2000. Plans for the formal celebration of that event have not yet been finalized by the state.
The Indian King Tavern, the site where the legislature met in 1777 to change the legal status of New Jersey from that of a colony to an independent state, was also the first facility to be formally recognized by New Jersey as a state historic site earlier in the century.
New Jersey Outdoors is a slick, full-color, state-sponsored magazine that is published quarterly. Available at news stands for $4.25, it can also be obtained from New Jersey Outdoors, P.O. Box 402, Trenton, NJ 08625-0402 (609-984-0364).