Poor maintenance and vandalism threaten the survival of two historical sites in Gloucester and Camden Counties, a report published Wednesday by a nonprofit preservation group says.
The Green Castle Hotel at Cooper Street and Railroad Avenue in Woodbury, built in 1881 by five-time Mayor Lewis M. Green in the Second Empire style, is vacant and suffers from "neglect and poor stewardship" by its owner, says Preservation New Jersey's annual 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list.
The brick hotel was subdivided into apartments and is now owned by Holy Angels Catholic Church. A woman answering the phone there Wednesday declined to comment.
In February 2012, the church sought permission from the city to demolish the site to build a parking lot. The city denied the application.
Such a change "would further strip Woodbury of its sense of place and the historic character that has defined the community for over 100 years," the report says.
Preservation New Jersey recommends that the church use, sell, or lease the space.
The group also lists the Benjamin Cooper House at Point and Erie Streets in Camden as endangered. Built in 1734, it is Camden's last remaining ferry tavern, according to the group, and became the headquarters for British Lt. Col. James Abercrombie during the Revolutionary War.
The Cooper House, now owned by a real-estate investment firm, was later used as a saloon and office space. On Nov. 22, 2012, the vacant house caught fire, tearing open the roof. The New Jersey Historic Trust recently provided a grant to Cooper's Ferry Development Corp., a local nonprofit, to restore the house, the report says.
But "the prospect of securing additional funding for its preservation and determining a future use for the house remains uncertain," the report concludes.
Preservation New Jersey cannot provide funding, but hopes the list will give these sites "a boost in attention, and hopefully that's a catalyst for something to happen there," said Stephanie L. Cherry-Farmer, senior programs director.
Other endangered sites include Princeton's first integrated elementary school and a deserted village in Union County.