Famous for its past, a small town in Central New Jersey is struggling to define how it wants to present itself in the future.Flemington is located only 60 miles East of Manhattan, and it has a population of only 4,500 residents. Despite the small size, residents are proud of their history as many of the historic buildings on the main avenue have illustrious past. Without a doubt, the most famous among these buildings is the Union Hotel. Unlike most other hotels, the historic building is not famous for its past guests; instead, it is famous for its “Trial of the Century”.
Nearly 86 years earlier, just after the Great Recession, the Trial of the Century took place at this hotel. The Lindbergh baby kidnapping and murder case was also dubbed as the greatest story ever told after the Resurrection. The extensive coverage of the case was reported worldwide as Western Union installed 132 telegraph wires. Prominent judges and reporters from across the country stayed inside the 50-room hotel for days. Despite the fact that the government tried to keep public away from the site, everyone wanted to get inside the hotel. Adjoining streets were crowded by members of public and press who did not want to miss even a single second of the unfolding Saga. According to historians, the hotel and the town were nothing less than a big amusement park.
However, the current mayor and his supporters want to demolish the site for modern commercial complex in the area. According to the mayor, the hotel and adjoining historic landmarks remained vacant throughout these years, which made it nearly impossible for the town to make an economic recovery after the recession of 2008. To increase economic momentum, the mayor has plans for new buildings including a school and a hospital that will reshape the fortunes of residents.
On the other end of the spectrum are long-time residents and historians who are trying their best to preserve the building. They claim that historic buildings such as Union Hotel are still strong enough to undergo renovations. Instead of pulling down the great landmark, the city government should work on rehabilitation, which can house commercial shops, hospitals and schools inside the historic landmarks. As of now, the future of historic landmarks is in doubt.