30 Bridge is now officially an 'historic' site
Jack and John Farley are ready to celebrate.
The father and son tandem are owners of a restored, three-story, Italianate, brick building in New Milford known as 30 Bridge Street.
Their cause for revelry?
The venerable red edifice next door to the railroad tracks has been listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
"It's been a labor of love," said Jack Farley about the restoration of the former Merritt Beach & Son building.
"My son and I started six years ago, did the first go-round and got distracted," he said. "Then several months ago, we spruced up the building to show it off. It was at that time we learned of the National Registry designation."
The Farleys invested about $2 million to buy and restore the downtown property, west of the village center.
They did the renovation to preserve and expose the red brick beauty.
"The designation from the National Registry is as a landmark piece of history on the outside of the building," Mr. Farley said.
"When we added the annex on the back of the building for the elevator, we were worried we'd lost that possibility.
"But were told that we'd complied with current regulations for handicap accessibility, so the annex didn't affect the designation."
A large 1900s iron safe sits in the lobby. It once belonged to the C.M. Beach Co. Barlow.
An open house is set for next Friday, May 20, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the building.
Among the guests will be the great grandson of Merritt Beach, local resident Charles Beach Barlow.
"It's a great addition to New Milford, the best project I've seen in a long, long time," Mr. Barlow said following the restoration in 2006,
"No trouble has been spared, and no expense has been spared either in the restoration to preserve and expose the brick beauty," Mr. Barlow said.
Mr. Barlow donated historic pictures now hanging at 30 Bridge Street. They hearken back to a time when the building was originally a tobacco warehouse and housewares store in 1873.
Today, it houses a mix of 11 professional, medical and public offices.
Pat Greenspan, vice president of the New Milford Trust for Historic Preservation, was among the first to discover the building is listed on the National Registry.
The New Milford Trust for Historic Preservation will have an article on the building and its restoration in its June newsletter, she said.
"It really and truly is wonderful how they've preserved the exterior," Mrs. Greenspan said. "It's nice when you get a wonderful building with a wonderful owner."
"Jack and John truly are preservation friends," she added.
"It's been a labor of love."
Owner of 30 Bridge Street