Middlesex County will receive the largest grant funding from the National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program to acquire and restore Metuchen Meeting House Battlefield, as recently announced by the federal government.
Grants in the amount of $2,887,423 will be issued to Kentucky, New Jersey and Virginia to protect 221 acres of Civil War battlefields and 13 acres of Revolutionary War battlefields, according to information provided by the Middlesex County Office of Communication.
The Metuchen Meeting House Battlefield, which boasts 13.12 acres in Edison, is the only site in New Jersey to receive this grant; the only Revolutionary War landmark this year to secure funding; and was the recipient of the highest grant amount awarded nationwide at $1,619,977, according to the statement.
“Our historic landmarks and sites are a source of great pride in Middlesex County,” Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said in the statement. “We are honored to receive this important grant to preserve and protect the Metuchen Meeting House Battlefield for future generations of residents and visitors to immerse in the American Revolution, right here in our community.”
“Our vision and passion to commemorate our deep roots in the Revolutionary War in Middlesex County drives us to continually seek funding to preserve our most sacred sites,” Richard Lear, director of Parks & Recreation at Middlesex County Department of Infrastructure Management, said in the statement. “This competitive pitch was hard won by the many members of our department and the Board of Chosen Freeholders; it signifies a major accomplishment for not only our county but the entire State of New Jersey.”
“I applaud the tremendous efforts made by the County to vie for this award, this is a proud moment for all of us who live here and a huge win for American history,” Freeholder and Chair of Infrastructure Management, Charles Tomaro, said in the statement. “Without this vital funding, we risk losing part of history forever and an important facet of our county’s identity. By protecting our historic sites, we honor our forefathers and the sacrifice they’ve made for the freedom we celebrate today.”
The Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant program, administered by the American Battlefield Protection Program, provides up to 50% in matching funds for state and local governments to acquire and preserve threatened Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War battlefield land through the purchase of land in fee simple and permanent, protective interests in land, according to the statement. Eligible battlefields are listed in the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission’s 1993 “Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields” and the 2007 “Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States.”
The Metuchen Meeting House Battlefield is the site of the Battle of Short Hills. On June 26, 1777, Crown forces led by Sir William Howe advanced westward, where they were met by Continental forces under General George Washington, according to the statement. American soldiers positioned themselves on a series of hills adjacent to the roadway, including these lands that will be incorporated into the adjacent Short Hills Battlefield Historic District listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.
For more information on Middlesex County’s history, visit www.middlesexcountynj.gov/About/Pages/History.aspx.