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Weekend Speakers' Series: The Preservation of the T. Thomas Fortune House

  • Reeve House 314 Mountain Avenue Westfield, NJ, 07090 United States (map)

Gilda Rogers and Roger Mumford will visit the Westfield Historical Society to tell the amazing story of how a group of determined Red Bank citizens and a generous developer preserved the T. Thomas Fortune house, a national historic landmark devoted to African-American heritage. Their presentation, “From Failure to Fortune: The Battle to Save and Develop a National Historic Landmark,” is part of the Westfield Historical Society’s Weekend Speakers Series. The talk will take place on Sunday, January 21st at 2:30 p.m. at the Reeve House in Westfield, New Jersey.

The Thomas Fortune House is one of the most historically significant properties in the United States. It is one of only two National Historic Landmarks in New Jersey that is significant because of its role in African American History. The stately 1870s house was home to T. Thomas Fortune, an activist newspaper editor and crusader for social justice, from 1901-1915. There are only 57 National Historic Landmarks in New Jersey, and only around 2,500 in the entire United States.

Ms. Rogers, a journalist, teacher, historian and playwright who lives in Red Bank was instrumental in forming a group of concerned citizens who fought to preserve the home. Mr. Mumford, a homebuilder, played an equally vital role in this historic preservation project. He worked closely with the Red Bank zoning board to find a creative solution. Mumford’s solution, which was approved by the Red Bank zoning board, was to restore and donate the home as a cultural center and also create 31 apartments on its one-acre property. The painstaking renovation of the T. Thomas Fortune House is currently underway, and the cultural center is expected to open in the spring of 2018.

Space is limited and prior registration is required so to make a reservation kindly email or call 908-654-1794. There is a suggested donation of $5 to help offset costs and to support the Society.

For more information about the Westfield Historical Society and the Reeve House, which is located at 314 Mountain Avenue in Westfield, NJ visit