Friday, December 4, 2009

New Life for the Barracks

It was September 1999 when Hurricane Floyd blew through New Jersey. Towns along the D & R Canal were inundated with water from New Brunswick to Trenton and many sites along the way were devastated. Among them was the well-loved "Muletenders Barracks" in Griggstown. The building suffered major damage as the flood waters rose covering the entire first floor of the structure. That fall the building was closed and has remained so ever since.

Local Griggstown residents, friends organizations and park users were determined to see the building restored and mounted a campaign to that end. Letters were written, articles were published and phone calls galore were made and although ten years have passed, those determined efforts will soon be rewarded.

This past spring the daunting effort to re-purpose the heavily damaged building was begun. The interior was gutted and a new open, more flood resistant interior began to take shape. A concrete floor was poured, electrical outlets raised and all HVAC systems were moved from the crawlspace basement up to the second floor. The end result will no doubt please all those who dreamed of someday seeing the Barracks resurrected.

Work is still i
n progress but soon the contractors will complete their part and the building that has stood on the Griggstown Causeway since the canal's construction (and perhaps longer) will stand ready to begin the next chapter of its story. The Park hopes to celebrate this milestone sometime next year with a proper "coming-out" party so make sure to check back to our site often for updates, details and news!


Historical Travels said...

That clears up a few mysteries I was left with after visiting Griggstown for this blog post The Delaware and Raritan Canal . I just updated the article with some of the information given here.

Asobime said...

I remember growing up on River Road, in the Wykoff/Cortelyou house my father, Albert Kohut restored. I used to play around Tornquist's store, and was invited in for cookies by an elderly resident of the Barracks. This was over 50 years ago, so I don't remember much, but I do remember the little, damp rooms, and I think I remember a small fireplace in one of the rooms.

I remember the wavy glass in the windows, but back then, that wasn't strange; most of the older houses had that. I remember the lock house, where Sophie Bischoff (now dead I believe in New Hampshire) was the librarian: that was the only library around, until you got to Princeton. It was a one room library, with shelves all around and a small desk in the middle for Sophie. I read all of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys novels there, and actually there wasn't too much literature, except for some poetry books.

I am glad to see that the Barracks has been restored, but I remember them as small apartments back then.

Jane Kohut- Bartels
Atlanta...still missing River Road, Belle Mead and Griggstown.

D&R Canal said...

Thank you for taking the time to comment on the MTB! I am always looking for information about the structure and especially it's previous life as a small apartment building. If you ever want to share more about the Barracks, Griggstown or your memories of the canal, please reach out to the park historian. Your memories will be safe guarded and passed along to others who are anxious to learn about the area.