UNION, NJ — The grounds of the Caldwell Parsonage recently got a makeover, and now the historic parsonage and home to the Union Township Historical Society is looking all spruced up.
Christian Glaser, 17, a member of Union’s Boy Scout Troop 63, took it upon himself to beautify the grounds of the Caldwell Parsonage as his Eagle Scout project, and he got his fellow scouts, along with their parents and grandparents, to join in the initiative.
Glaser, along with his team, went to work clearing out weeds and poison ivy, built and installed a bird feeder, and installed park benches in the far corner of the property across from the parsonage barn.
To complement Glaser’s work, David Arminio, vice president of the UTHS, along with his wife, Kathy, dug a drainage ditch, spread yards of mulch and planted 130 bulbs of spring blooms.
Glaser told LocalSource that he was inspired to launch the project because of his interest in the history of the landmark. “I have always been interested in the history of our country, and the Caldwell Parsonage is a great museum to teach us about the role that Union played in the formation of the country,” said Glaser. “As a troop, we have visited numerous times and have volunteered there before as well.”
Troop 63, who call themselves the Cobras, currently has 20 members ages 11 to 17. They are chartered by Elks Lodge 1583 in Union and meet at both Washington Elementary School and the Elks Lodge.
Glaser, who has been working on the project for the past three months, said that he and his troop have cleared an overgrowth of plants in the back of the property, as well as placing two benches and a planter with a bird bath in that area. They also refurbished the base of the flagpole that stands in front of the parsonage.
Most of the supplies, said Glaser, were purchased from Home Depot or Lowes, although a family member did step in to help out. “The lumber and tools required for the benches were donated by my Uncle Matt,” Glaser said.
Barbara La Mort, president of the historical society, said the parsonage was definitely in need of an exterior makeover. “The grounds of the Caldwell Parsonage were in need of some sprucing up,” La Mort told LocalSource. “When Christian Glaser offered to do his Eagle Scout project for us, we enthusiastically accepted.”
Arminio took Glaser, along with his father, troop leader Peter Glaser, on a tour of the property to decide what could be done. “And six months later, we have a beautiful park-scape in the southeast corner of the yard,” said La Mort. “Christian and his fellow scouts and their families spent hours clearing brush from the area — sometimes in sweltering heat and risking poison ivy. Christian built a bird bath and two large benches for the enjoyment of our visitors. We’re so grateful to him.”
Arminio told LocalSource that he is thrilled with the results. “Christian took on a task that, for years, I have been contemplating, but I just could not find the energy — or should I say courage — to tackle it,” Arminio said. “Besides the beautiful benches and flower area, he cleaned up an eyesore with the help of his troop.”
Troop leader Peter Glaser said that he is proud of what his son has accomplished. “I, personally, will be most proud of my son, Christian, for achieving the rank of Eagle,” Glaser told LocalSource. “I am pleased that he chose a place of such historical significance in our home community to focus his effort.”
Christian Glaser said that he wants those who visit the parsonage to enjoy their time there, and he hopes the work that he and his troop invested will help accomplish this. “This project was important for my troop and I to get involved with because hopefully it will give the Caldwell Parsonage the facilities to allow people to sit and enjoy the outside of the museum as well as the inside,” Glaser said. “The best moments from my project had to be knowing that at the end of it all, my fellow troop members and adults built something useful for a community historical site.”