MANALAPAN, NJ – Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon is pleased to announce that Patricia “Pat” Butch of Millstone Township is the winner of the 2019 M. Claire French Award for Leadership in Historic Preservation. The award will be presented at the County Clerk’s Archives and History Day on Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters in Manalapan.
“Pat Butch is a trailblazer and embodies all aspects of the M. Claire French Award through her dedication to the maintenance and preservation of historic sites in Millstone Township and farmland throughout Monmouth County,” said Clerk Hanlon. “It is my honor to present the award to such a deserving community leader.”
Pat Butch’s dedication to preserving historic properties is evident through her leadership on various restoration projects, involvement with numerous preservation societies, and continued volunteerism and service today.
In 2000, Butch helped form the Millstone Township Trailblazers, a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable New Jersey organization. With her skill in grant writing, she was able to fund the organization’s projects through donations, fundraisers, and grant awards. The Trailblazers worked with local, County, and State government to identify individual trails for an interconnecting trail system, to be used for walking, jogging, bicycling, and horseback riding. Butch spent three years helping to clear the properties for the horse trails.
In 2011, alongside Millstone Town Historian Joann Kelty and Frank Curcio, Butch helped to save the beams, timber, and joints of the two barns on the property of the Allen House, which was slated to be torn down to make way for new public housing. The saved wood and materials from the two Allen House barns were used in the building of the two new barns currently located on the Baird Homestead in Millstone Township.
After preserving the barns, Butch became a founding member of the Friends of Millstone Historic Registered Properties (MTHRP), a non-profit organization focused on furthering public interest in conservation, knowledge, and understanding of the history of the township. With fellow founding members Kelty and Curcio, the organization quickly expanded due to an increase in local people with similar interests.
Millstone Township later purchased the Wagner Farm Homestead, which included the Thomas Baird House, built in 1830. The Baird family were prominent early settlers and their 5-bay center hall plan farmhouse showcased original Greek revival style. The Monmouth County Historic Sites Inventory referred to the homestead as one of the best examples of its style remaining in Millstone Township.
A true testament to her writing skills and dedication, Butch worked tirelessly and ultimately secured the necessary grant money to turn the homestead into the present-day Baird Homestead Education Center. Along with preserving the homestead’s original pine plank flooring and moldings, she also received 400 items on a permanent loan from the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture to house and display at the educational center.
Presently, Butch oversees the frequent class trips of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students from Millstone Middle School and provides the students with hands-on activities related to their curriculum. She also coordinates with local girl scouts and boy scouts to host their silver and gold awards and Eagle Scout projects on the grounds of the Baird Educational Center.
In addition to the Baird Homestead, Butch has also played a big role in the recent restoration of the Clarksburg Methodist Church, which is listed on the State and National Registry of Historic Places. Millstone Township purchased the nineteenth century rural church after it was slated for demolition, leading Butch to again use her writing skills to obtain grant money needed to preserve the historic church.
Along with her focus on the Baird Educational Center and Clarksburg Methodist Church, Butch also serves on the Monmouth County Agricultural Development Committee, where she assists in the preservation of farmland across Monmouth County.
The M. Claire French Award for Leadership in Historic Preservation recognizes outstanding achievements of an elected official, government employee, public servant or civic organization in supporting historic preservation in Monmouth County through education, development, planning, rehabilitation, advocacy, community leadership or other means. Created in 2015, the award is named after M. Claire French, Hanlon’s predecessor, who was County Clerk from 1997 until her retirement on April 1, 2015.
The M. Claire French Award Committee members are Clerk Hanlon, former Clerk M. Claire French, Hon. Robert D. Clifton of Matawan and Hon. Susan M. Kiley of Hazlet.
For more information on Archives and History Day, visit the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office website at www.MonmouthCountyClerk.com/Archives, or contact the Monmouth County Archives Division by phone at 732-308-3771 or email to CountyClerk@co.monmouth.nj.us.
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