Restoration of Historic 15 Washington Street

Rutgers University has undertaken the renovation of the historic building at 15 Washington Street in Newark, New Jersey. Designed by the architecture firm, John H. & Wilson C. Ely in the neo-classical style in 1930, the building remains one of the tallest in Newark. The facade boasts classically-inspired columns and a roof-top cupola tops a brick and limestone tower.

15 Washington Street was originally home to the American Insurance Company’s headquarters. In 1963 the building became known as the Fireman’s Fund Building when the American Insurance Company was acquired by the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, which in turn donated the building to Rutgers University. Rutgers School of Law-Newark occupied the historic skyscraper until 1999, when the relocation of the school caused the building to sit empty for over a decade.

Now Rutgers has partnered with the New Brunswick Development Corporation to renovate the building for use as student residences and academic space. Renovations are being overseen by Newman Architects. The school hopes that the re-opening of the building will spur further development in the Newark neighborhood as nearly 400 students move into the building. The original 15-foot windows in the “counting hall,” a nod to the insurance company’s customers who paid their premiums in the great room, brass-lined mail chutes, marble walls, and original lighting fixtures will be all be restored.

Remains Lighting has taken on the restoration of several early twentieth century chandeliers and lighting fixtures throughout the building. The interior neglect has taken its toll: the fixtures are certainly in need of care and attention.

Photos courtesy of Newman Architects.

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