Historic Governor's Property to Get New Garage
Flood-damaged structure will be replaced at Vroom house in South Branch.
One of the township’s most historic properties will be getting a new garage to replace one that has been damaged by flood waters from the South Branch of the Raritan River.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously approved last week a plan by Norby Foss and Christopher Martinez to replace a two–car garage at the Peter D. Vroom House at 975 River Road in the South Branch Historic District.
The late 18th Century house, squeezed between River Road and the river, was the home of Peter D. Vroom, New Jersey's ninth governor, and the only governor of the state from Somerset County.
Foss told the zoning board that the garage, about 20 feet to the east of the house, was badly damaged during Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and was damaged again in 2011 in Hurricane Irene.
Foss, who bought the home with Martinez 18 years ago, said he contacted the state about buying the adjacent property to have more room for building a new garage, but the state said that property was protected under the Green Acres law.
The township Historic Preservation Commission has signed off the on demolition of the garage.
“I’m glad to see you are taking the garage down,” said board member Walter Dietz. “It will look much better than it has in years.”
Vroom, the state’s 12th and 15th governor, was born in Hillsborough in 1791. He first entered politics as a member of the New Jersey House of Representatives, a position he held from 1826 to 1829. He was elected governor in 1829, and won reelection in 1830 and 1831. After being out of office for a year, he returned to the governor's office in 1833, and was reelected in 1834 and 1835.
Vroom also served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1839 to 1841 and served as the minister to Prussia from 1853 to 1857.