Historical society eyes major changes

riginally thought to be an ideal place for the Coastal Towns Museum, in the newly defined historical district in Ocean View, the Shores House at 39 Central Avenue, built roughly in 1860, turned out to be a little more than the historical society bargained for — so now, they have a new plan.

“The house has many serious defects, from the foundation to the leaking roof and the amount of money it would take to turn it into a museum… we decided to venture out and build a new building,” said Dr. Richard Nippes, vice president of the Ocean View Historical Society and Ocean View councilman.

They do not want to see the old house destroyed, so at this point the society is looking for help from an architect to see how and if the old building could possibly be preserved in some way and maybe incorporated into the new structure.

The approximately 14,000-square-foot lot is triangular in shape, and gets wider as it goes back from the road. One of the possibilities to have enough space might involve having the town remove the old garage that’s on the property to make a new building more feasible.

The original goal was to renovate the Shores house and make the building ADA complaint and ready for visitors, but Nippes said that at this point that was a “pipe dream” because of the amount of work and money to go into such a product.

“I don’t know that it’s feasible [structurally or financially] to refurbish it — there is a newer addition on a concrete slab but the old part would have to be raised from its foundation,” explained Nippes.

“Since we can’t have that, we thought the next best thing would be to build a new building with the proper lighting, heating and air, etc.” added Historical Society President Diane Dee. The external vision for the new building would be similar to what was built back in the 1860s, but with all the interior comforts and safety features of a modern structure.

They do hope to still seek grants to be able to possibly preserve part of the building, adding that that is why they need help from an architect, to see what is feasible for the project.

“Our first goal is to make a packet and mail to local architects and see if any are interested in helping. We need a simple rendering of what they might envision for that property” said Nippes.

He also said they were hoping the publicity might possibly generate interest from a retired architect that would be interested in helping the historical society in the very beginning stages of their project.

The society generated a lot of buzz with their first “trip down memory lane” with Wanda Powell and guests and will be hosting a second one in June with guest speaker Norman Justice. It will be held Monday, June 3, at 7 p.m. at the Millville Town Hall. They stressed that though they have hopes for the museum to be located in Ocean View’s newly created historical district, it will truly be a “Coastal Towns Museum” with museum artifacts and input about history from area towns such as Millville, Clarksville and Roxana.

In addition to generating interest, they have started to generate funds, as well, and have a long way to go. They are grateful for a $10,000 donation they have received already from the Blaine Phillips Fair Play Foundation and $5,000 from Sussex County through council member George Cole.

“It starts to mount up,” said Nippes of the donations, adding that an actual rendering of a building will help to propel their fundraising efforts.

“Once they see we are serious and we’ll be a real asset to the area and tourism, we’ll start to give an identity to the area. We gotta start and can’t start without an idea.”

For more information, or for questions, interested parities can contact Nippes at 539-8374.