Phase 1 Exterior Restoration Completed, Commencing Efforts for the Adaptive Re-Use of Historic Darlington Schoolhouse

New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Click here to learn all about our project at the Darlington Schoolhouse.


DSH 10.10 press eventLeaders representing the organizations and institutions collaborating to raise the funds for the adaptive re-use of the Darlington Schoolhouse gathered at the site to announce the completion of the exterior restoration and the commencement of efforts funding the interior renovation.

“Today we are unveiling our plans for converting the historic landmark to become the permanent regional headquarters for the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and standing with our partners who are going to help us make it happen” said Trail Conference Executive Director Edward Goodell.

In 2007, the Trail Conference – working jointly with Mahwah Township – acquired the landmark building with help from state and county funding.  This project has been assisted by grants from the Garden State Preservation Trust via the Green Acres Program and the New Jersey Historic Trust, as well as the Bergen County Historic Preservation Trust Fund, a part of the Bergen County Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

According to Rick Levine a member of the Darlington Schoolhouse campaign leadership team, “now that the stabilization is complete we are announcing our efforts to secure individual, corporate, government and foundation support for the interior renovation and expansion.  We are forming a campaign leadership team bringing together people and organizations with a wide range of interests—conservation, history, architecture, preservation, and education-- to create a new center for conservation volunteerism and education, continuing the 150-year tradition of education at this site. “

“The 1891 iconic Darlington Schoolhouse in Mahwah had fallen into disrepair and was no longer able to serve its vital role as a community center of learning. Now, thanks to the dedication of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, this community landmark, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been described as “the most architecturally significant schoolhouse in New Jersey,” is now on its way to a full rehabilitation that will both preserve an architectural gem and create a vibrant new educational resource.” said Stephanie Cherry-Farmer, Senior Programs Director for Preservation New Jersey.

Designed by Newport, renowned Rhode Island architect Dudley Newton, the majority of the building remains intact, including chestnut doors, Eastlake-style door hardware, slate chalkboards and rounded-arch multi-paned windows, according to the nomination that resulted in the schoolhouse being listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  This project to transform the schoolhouse into the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Headquarters and Visitors Center preserves the historic building’s exterior and many of the architectural elements and finishes of the interior.

On the completion of the Trail Conference’s Headquarters, the facility will offer many valuable benefits to the public and Trail Conference members including:

  • A  visible headquarters and visitors center that puts the Trail Conference “on the map” at a gateway to a vast network of trails
  • An educational and meeting center for Trail Conference stewardship training and other nonprofit and educational organizations such as the sustainability graduate classes at Ramapo College, and fourth graders meeting the fourth grade NJ curriculum requirement on local history. 

 DSH 10.10 press event


Individuals in photo from left to right are as follows: New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Executive Director, Edward Goodell; Darlington Schoolhouse Stakeholder Action Team Member, Rick Levine; Mahwah Town Councilman, John F. Roth;  Mayor of Mahwah Township, William C. Laforet; Ramapo College of New Jersey Board of Trustees, William F. Dator;   Dean, School of Theoretical and Applied Science at Ramapo College of New Jersey, Eddie Saiff; Bergen County Superintendent of Parks, Todd Cochran; Preservation New Jersey Senior Programs Director, Stephanie Cherry-Farmer;  New Jersey Historic Trust Principal Historic Preservation Specialist, Glenn Ceponis.