Threat to Preservation

Maintenance, restoration, and preservation of The William H. Johnson House are ongoing. Other than the standard wear and tear of time, the building does face a significant threat.

The Sinkhole

Initially The William H. Johnson House at 52 Welton Street was on Block 140, Lot 36, while a very similar house was at 50 Welton Street, Block 140, Lot 37. The house at 50 Welton Street was situated above an old streambed that had been built into sewer culvert sometime in the mid-1800’s. During the 1970’s, the sewer culvert was eroded away enough that 50 Welton Street collapsed into a sinkhole and was partly destroyed. It was later determined to be unsalvageable and was completely demolished. Subsequently, the City of New Brunswick purchased Block 140, Lot 37. A few years later, the city allowed one of the former owners of The William H. Johnson House to purchase the lot, and the house came to be situated on a double lot – Block 140, Lot 36 & 37.

Success So Far

Currently, the City of New Brunswick is beginning work to modernize and repair the sewer in front of The William H. Johnson House. We have been able to get the job pushed back to approximately 25’ away from the foundation. We will also be working with the City of New Brunswick to install vibration monitoring to make sure the building is not damaged during the public works project.