11 Most Endangered Historic Places
Historic Downtown Flemington
Located within an hour’s drive of both Philadelphia and New York, downtown Flemington, New Jersey (population 4,500), has a wealth of 19th-century architecture, and is thought to be the second-largest historic district in the state.
The centerpiece of Flemington’s historic Main Street is the 1877 Union Hotel, most famous for having served the press, sequestered jurors, attorneys, and families involved in the Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial of 1935. Press reports issued from the hotel, located across the street from the county courthouse, riveted the nation during the trial, which ultimately convicted Bruno Hauptmann of kidnapping Charles and Anne Lindbergh’s son and prompted the government to make kidnapping a federal crime.
“As a testament to Flemington’s proud history as a county seat and home of the 'Trial of the Century,' the Union Hotel and its adjacent historic buildings should be an integral part of Flemington’s future.”National Trust President and CEO, Stephanie Meeks
The hotel was also known for its murals depicting local scenes that were painted during the Great Depression by two area artists, including an award-winning illustrator of the original children’s books Bambi and The Jungle Book.
Flemington’s unique history is threatened by a developer’s proposal that would demolish the now-shuttered Union Hotel along with three other adjacent buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places to create an 8-story mixed use project that would tower over Main Street’s remaining buildings. The town council supports the hotel/housing/retail development despite vocal opposition from citizens, the county historical society, and more than 1,500 individuals who have signed a local group’s online petition urging the preservation of the Union Hotel and downtown Flemington’s irreplaceable historic fabric.
With the groundswell of public support growing, local preservationists in Flemington hope to show their leaders what treasures they have in their midst and what their loss would mean to residents and visitors alike.
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