RVC & FOODSHED ALLIANCE HISTORIC CENTER
In 1990, when Ridge and Valley Conservancy (RVC) was founded, the United National Bank, First National's successor, offered the old First National Bank building, located at 16 Main Street in Blairstown NJ, as a donation. RVC was still in the process of obtaining their 501(c) 3 non-profit status and was unable to accept the donation at that time.
Fortunately, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF) was able to step in and accept the donation on RVC's behalf; NJCF held the title on the building until transferring the title to RVC for a nominal consideration in 2001.
Ridge and Valley Conservancy currently shares office space with two local conservation-related or and Paulinskill-Peqeust Watershed Association. ganizations; the Foodshed Alliance
Brief History of the Bank Building
The bank's history began in 1900, when a group of local businessmen and farmers saw their months of planning come to realization in the granting of the charter for the First National Bank of Blairstown. The bank was opened in the building on lower Main Street latter occupied by the law office of Archie Roth, located just to the right of the present day post office. The bank started with capital of $25,000.
The site where the building is now located on the north side of Main Street was previously occupied by a blacksmith shop. The bank purchased the lot on January 1901 from Abram Williams for $1,200. The site did not become home to the bank until 10 years later, when the bank opened for business on October 16, 1911.
An important milestone in the progress of the institution was the appointment on February 1, 1901 of Theodore B. Dawes, later to become a New Jersey State Senator, as cashier and later president of the bank.
Senator Dawes remained active in the bank's business for over 50 years. There were very few incidents to upset the orderly conduct of business at 16 Main Street over the years, but the morning of April 21, 1935 was a major exception. Three armed bandits entered the bank and made the employees and patrons lie down on the floor while they scooped up $20,000 in cash and four times as much in securities. A successful escape was made in an automobile parked in the front of the bank. Fortunately the loss was fully insured and everyone was unharmed. Along with many other architectural features, the building is constructed of brick, the front is ornately faced with Gouverneur marble, and supported by three highly polished Vermont granite half-columns. The building still contains the massive safe deposit vault manufactured by the Diebold Safe and Lock Company of New York.
The process of restoring RVC headquarters is a continuing effort. From major repairs such as repairing and replacing the roof, broiler, lighting system in main office and repairing the front entrance way, to more cosmetic changes as spackling, and painting. To keep our operating cost to a minimum, a majority of all repairs are done by RVC's trustees and volunteers.