The Cranbury Station hamlet may potentially be preserved as a history district.
The hamlet is an unincorporated community of Cranbury Township that abuts the border of Monroe Township and contains Halsey Reed Road. Residents of the hamlet are seeking to preserve the area as a historic district. They approached Cranbury officials in 2019 about the possibility of the hamlet being preserved.
Cranbury officials are continuing discussions on this issue, as it is one of the recommendations from the adopted 2019 Master Plan.
“This was brought to our attention by residents who lived in the area. My view was that if this is truly a historic area and district, which in my view it is with the history that is there, it should support it,” Committeeman James Taylor said. “Then it should be protected as we protect Main Street as an historic district with all the requirements.”
The hamlet still contains the former railroad station house for the Cranbury Station, which was on the Camden and Amboy branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
According to Deputy Mayor Mike Ferrante, township committee members are not caught off guard with the issue due to this being one of the master plan recommendations.
“We are going to try to address this in 2020. We have a subcommittee that is looking at the master plan recommendations and this will be definitely one of them,” Ferrante said. “We are looking at what it would take to do that and how that would work. We are definitely working on that.”
He added that he does not have a strong feeling on the issue.
“Essentially this is a process. The residents and the historians need to document the case on whether that is a historical hamlet and meets the criteria and should be preserved or can be preserved or if there are enough elements to be preserved. I think they make the case to the historical and preservation society and the state,” Ferrante said. “I support their efforts into exploring that and we will help them in any way feasible that we can. I am not an expert in the process of re-designating items or historical hamlets. I certainly support their efforts to go through the process.”
Mayor Matt Scott said this is one of the items officials in town need to have conversations about.
“Locally there is talk about making Cranbury Station a historic district and this is something that is recommended in our master plan,” Scott said. “The Cranbury Historical Preservation Society is looking at this to see if anything can be done.”
Taylor said he supports the investigation into whether the hamlet would qualify for a new designation and on also moving forward with making it a historic district.
“This is a process that will cover multiple years. The reason why I say that is because in the 1980s when Main Street was designated as a historic district it was a lengthy process,” Taylor said. “So I can only imagine the requirements and restrictions in the vetting process are more complex. I do not see this being a process done in a month.”