Historical LBI farmhouse at risk of being torn down

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Historical LBI farmhouse at risk of being torn down. Nora Muchanic reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on April 28. (WPVI)

A piece of Jersey Shore history is at risk of being torn down.

The historic Beck farmhouse is on Liberty Avenue in Beach Haven. The three-story, 14 bedroom farmhouse is one of the only remaining homes on Long Beach Island that dates back to the 1800s.

Ron Marr of the LBI Historical Society said, "It's really a neat old house, very typical of the period. It was originally built in the mid-1870s."

James and Ethel Frazer, the owners of the property, died within the last two years and now their 6 heirs are trying to figure out what to do with the house. Local preservationists are worried it'll be knocked down.

Beach Haven Historian Jeannette Lloyd said, "It's important because it's embedded deeply into the history of Long Beach Island and especially Beach Haven. It represents so much of what was Beach Haven-- the good things."

The house sits in the middle of what could be 6 1/2 and valuable building lots.

If we can save the oldest part that would be great.

The family has hired developer Mark Davies to come up with a plan. He's recommending subdividing the land and taking off porches and additions from the old home.

He would then move the original farmhouse to one of the lots, so the Frazer children could sell the others.

Mark Davies, developer said, "They are willing to take a bit of a beating to try to preserve it but not on the whole piece. They have six heirs and it's time to move on."

Some preservationists think that's a way to satisfy everyone.

Bob Smith, Beach Haven Historic Preservation Commissioner said, "In my view it's the best solution to do both - save the house and develop. 'Cause this is really wasted land. All we really want to see is the house saved.

The family has to get the plan to subdivide the land approved by the borough. If all goes well Work could begin here in the fall.

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