Ocean County Begins Repairs to Historic Cox House

By Eric Englund | Sep 25, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Barnegat — Renovations are underway at Barnegat Township’s historic Cox House, which became part of the Ocean County Parks and Recreation Department at the beginning of 2018. An ordinance adopted by the township committee in 2017 approved the transfer to the county, noting that the county has better resources for maintaining and improving the historic site.

A study performed more than  20 years ago by Margaret Westfield, an architect specializing in historic preservation, said the original portion of the house, including the rear kitchen area and second-floor bedrooms, was built around 1825. The house’s main feature, the large front rooms, date back to 1854, when they were constructed by Capt. William Cox.

Michael Mangum, county parks director, said that since early last year, the house has undergone extensive evaluations from architects and engineers. It was decided the first project will be replacing the roof. The front of the house is covered in blue netting to contain dust and materials.

Mangum said the roof work will cost $178,000.

“Because the roof leaks, there’s other areas inside that have water damage,” he said. “This is the type of project where I’m sure we’ll find other issues as we go along.”

Mangum said that down the road, the iconic structure, which listed on the national register of historic places, is looking at mitigation for asbestos, mold and lead.

“Hopefully we’ll be done with everything by this time next year,” he said. “I don’t know how much it will cost because we’re still not sure what the total extent of the work will be.”

Prior to the county taking over, the Cox House was used for special activities, such as a holiday open house, Victorian tea in the spring and a meeting place for various community organizations.

“The county will do the Cox House justice,” said Mayor Alfonso Cirulli. “Fixing up these historic buildings takes specialized work because you have to maintain the houses’ historic character. The township did a few minor projects, but we couldn’t afford to do any large scale. Now we’re in good hands.”

— Eric Englund

ericenglund@thesandpaper.net

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