This website is dedicated to the Michelin Plant on Ford Avenue, the Evans Family, Dr Forney and his sons, who they have given so much to the town of Milltown and for playing an important role in forming the town we love and respect. Also dedication goes to the remaining historical sites that are remaining that we hold dear to our heart, also to the ones that we have lost to the senseless disregard of our town history and to what makes this town so special, the residents that live and work here. We need to stop the senseless destruction of our historical landmarks and Milltown's history now before its to late and is lost forever.

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December 31 2008

Demise of Forney House distresses resident

With a heavy heart, I read in a recent Sentinel that it appears the old Forney House is imminently destined for the wrecking ball despite the disastrous turn of events in the banking industry. Dr. Forney had not only been our family dentist when I was a child, but he and his wife, Rosemarie, were also friends of the family. Knowing that the end could be near for their once grand old home, I decided to take an opportunity to get a last close look at the old house.

I already knew that the current owner had been less than a model steward of the old home, but upon closer inspection it became immediately apparent that the house had received very little attention or maintenance since I was last in Dr. Forney's care. Besides the crooked shutters, peeling paint and rotting wooden architectural details, there were large weed trees many years old and nearly as tall as the house itself growing all around the property. Ivy that had once been neatly manicured near the office entrance had long been allowed to go feral and had climbed at least halfway up the building. Having studied ecology in college, these cues made it apparent that the grounds had not received proper care in at least eight years, probably more.

This is a far cry from what this home had once been not all that long ago. When Dr. Forney had lived and worked there, the house was the jewel of Milltown. My parents had been invited to dinner with the Forney's on several occasions, and my mother still recalls how splendid and immaculate the house once was.

Unfortunately, it seems that times do change. Where once people took pride in not only serving their communities but in also keeping up appearances, today people only see business opportunities and a chance to make a fast and easy buck: how one can make the minimum amount of investment and reap the greatest amount of financial reward. This may be their right in our capitalistic system, but it is not what being a good citizen is all about.

It is a shame that this once beautiful gem of Milltown has been allowed to fall to pieces, to the point where the wrecking ball seems to be the viable only option. Shame on Valley National Bank for insisting that their right to locate a bank at this site trumps local history and local sentiment. But also shame needs to be placed on the borough of Milltown for allowing this project to get this far in the first place. The generally accepted basic tenets of urban planning usually put such significantly historic structures, like the Forney House, off-limits to demolition. The borough had the zoning authority to not grant a multitude of variances that were needed to get the project approved and could have stopped this long ago. Also, if Milltown had an open-space fund, with allowances for historic preservation, money could have been available to make a deal with the current owner to help preserve the old home.

I may still have hope that these aren't the last days of the Forney House, but that hope is fading fast.

Andrew J. Besold

North Brunswick