What Should Go Here: The River Building

Centuries-old building remains vacant alongside South Branch of the Raritan River.

It's been vacant for years, looming over the South Branch of the Raritan River for more nearly 150 years. 

The River Building, as it has been called, is made of stone and sits at the corner Schooley's Mountain and East Mill Roads. Much of it is covered by trees, portions of the building somewhat dilapidated. 

But it's history is rich, according to Washington Township Historical Society President Betsy Guzenski.

"It originally had a blacksmith shop in the basement, a woodworking shop on the first floor and a paint shop for wagons on the second floor," Guzenski said.
"A ramp on the river side of the building was used in order to get the wagons up to the second floor using only man power. They housed the paint shop on the second floor because there was less dust and it tended to be warmer and drier.

"Later the bottom floor was used as a store," Guzenski said. According to Lou Staiano, she said, "The front steps were, for years, the gathering place for the young men of the village, their main objective to whistle at passing girls."

A flurry of business took place in the historic building, it seems, but now stands untouched and for sale.

So, Long Valley, tell us what you'd like to see occupy this historic building. Let your imagination run wild and explain in the comments what you'd like to see put in that building.

I. U. Mayo May 30, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Unfortunately a really tough spot for anything except an empty old building. Personally, and I know this is not going to be popular, I would like to see the downtown area of Long Valley revamped. I would like if the original, historical buildings that could be saved were, and those that are not too damaged and in a good location, then restored. The above mentioned building, however, seems to be in such a bad spot and in such a poor location, that I don't think it can or should be salvaged. What truly hurts the old LV downtown is lack of space. It is choked out by the river and roads; no where to grow or go. If money were not an issue, perhaps rerouting some roads is in order to make more room. The area should be like Main St. in Chester Boro.
Jennifer Simon May 30, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Yes, we need space and resources for artists. There are 27 ball fields and a lot of money spent on sports on this town and nothing but Long Valley Arts (is that still going) for artists both young and old!
Claire May 30, 2012 at 09:41 PM
I.u. Sorry Chester is half a ghost town. As much as the Chester folks hated the flea market, once it was gone the Turkeyfarm and most business went under.
Cuse 44 June 02, 2012 at 02:46 PM
I have lived in Long Valley for 4 years now and have admired this building everytime I drive past. I am a commercial general contractor who has done much of the restoration work on Ellis & Liberty Island. Restoring old buildings is my passion. The problem with this building as noted by everyone is location, parking and its small footprint for current retail/ resturant, etc. A museum for local/ historial is a great idea. I would be willing to help repair this old building to its original prominence.
Sue Underwood June 02, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Granted we do need more ratables but to emulate what Chester Boro has would be too much for our traffic system to cope with. That was one reason the idea of the antique market near the Middle School was unsupported. I understood that this historic ruin was owned for years by the Chester Carrousel owners who also own the Lamington General Store. The requirement to connect to the sewer system and the issue of being located in the flood plan was a detrimental factor apparently and they declined to install the necessary plumbing and so it made the structure unable to be occupied. So that needed improvement is an added expense for any potential buyer. I have lived here 28 years and wish the building had been at least cleaned up, made structurally safe and perhaps become an annex to our historical museum. That would require the town to purchase it or a community drive to take it on ourselves. Perhaps like the volunteer work that was responsible for much of the renovations to the Grist Mill, maybe this is another task for the locals to help preserve.


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