The Upper Township government is the recipient of the 2012 Legacy Award presented by the Cape May County Historical Museum & Genealogical Society for its ongoing support of the Historical Preservation Society of Upper Township.
In addition, Joan Berkey and husband Scott Smith, of Dennis Township, received the Heritage Award for their work in preserving the Thomas and Zilpah Ludlum House, and Catherine Gibbons, of Upper Township, received the Young Historian Award.
The society works to preserve Upper Township's past through the restoration and maintenance of its three historic sites: The Friendship School in Palermo, The Gandy Farmstead in Greenfield and The Tuckahoe Train Station in Tuckahoe.
These historic sites are owned by the township and leased to the historical society for $1 per year. The society is the leading force behind the restoration of the sites with a mission of educating Upper Township residents of their township's heritage.
Its members hold community events at the properties, including the annual strawberry and apple festivals at The Gandy Farmstead and Kindergarten Day at the Friendship School. They also offer guided tours of the sites.
Township government was honored for assisting the society in its mission by allocating funds to pay for the maintenance and helping with the physical upkeep, such as cutting the grass and shoveling snow on the properties when necessary.
Upper Township Mayor Richard Palombo, who accepted the award on behalf of the township government during the Cape May County Historical Museum & Genealogical Society's annual dinner and awards ceremony Nov. 29 at the Lobster House in the Schellengers Landing section of Lower Township, said the township is committed to preserving its past.
"Upper Township has a very rich history, and we need to preserve it," he said.
County museum Director Pary Tell said the annual Legacy Award is dedicated to a government entity or individual in the county who has demonstrated exceptional support of a historic issue or involvement in historic preservation within Cape May County. She said Upper Township is very deserving.
Preservation Society historian Sonia Forry said the maintenance of Upper Township's three historic sites takes a lot of work, but the outcome is worth it.
"Once it's gone, it's gone," Forry said.
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