New Jersey has a problematic relationship with her past. Most of the historically significant sites I write about on this blog are in a very poor state of repair and in danger of disappearing altogether. Some, such as the American Hotel, are already gone: lost forever.
Money and corruption seem to be the culprits here. History just doesn’t even seem to come a close third to development and profits.
Here in High Bridge, stands an extremely significant building that is very much in need of some kind of intervention. It can be found on the grounds of the old Taylor Iron and Steel Company. This was the first purpose-built office building in New Jersey and was the administrative centre for the 13th oldest continuously operating business (of any kind) in history.
According to the website of the nearby Annandale Historical Society, “The TISCO Office building dates to around 1725, and pre-dates the incorporation of the Union Iron Works. The structure had always housed the general office of the steel companies and contained the offices of the presidents William and Allen in 1742 through George R. Hanks in 1972.”
As you can see from my pictures, the building is in a shameful state and, if left so for much longer, will probably need to be demolished.
I’m told by local historians that this is a common situation in New Jersey which is madness as this state (one of the original colonies) played an enormously important part in the history of the Nation.
The American Industrial Revolution was born in New Jersey and Taylor Steel played a very large role in that industrialization. It is to be hoped that, at some point, town and city officials will begin to take seriously the legacy left by their forebears and begin to make moves towards preserving what is left of the country’s rich past.
Words and images (except where otherwise stated) are my own.