Maintaining A 120 Year Old Historic Landmark

As the owner and operator of Idylease in West Milford, NJ, I am fully aware that I am only a temporary steward of this Historic Landmark. I am fourth in the line of owner/operators who have made the preservation of the structure a part of my lifes work. As a preservationist, I am a proponent that the past can educate. Architecture as an example, is a direct and substantial representation of history and place that can teach us about our collective past. By preserving historic structures, we are able to share the very spaces and environments in which the generations before us lived. Preserving historic buildings―whether related to someone famous or recognizably dramatic―strangers are able to witness the aesthetic and cultural history of a period in time and an another era. Old buildings maintain a sense of permanency and heritage. There is no chance to renovate or to save a historic site once it’s gone. And we can never be certain what will be valued in the future. Jaqueline Onassis once said, “If we don’t care about our past, we cannot hope for the future. … I desperately care about saving old buildings.” At its best preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future. There may have been a time when preservation was about saving an old building here or there, but those days are gone. Preservation is in the business of saving communities and the values they embody. Every day I think about my dad, Doctors Day and Drake who were the previous owners of Idylease. I also think about the myriad of people who have passed through her door since New Year’s Day in 1903. I would like to think they would all be proud. When my hands run down the stairway banisters, I feel a connection that their hands, along with Thomas Edison and other luminaries, have also touched those same places. We have a great past and look forward to a great future here. With the latest round renovations at Idylease I am honored to play my small role in the preservation of this Historic Landmark for future generations to come.

-Richard Zampella
May 2024

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