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Cold Spring Village celebrates 40 years with Saturday event

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LOWER TOWNSHIP — What began as an immersive lesson in history has built up some history of its own as Historic Cold Spring Village celebrates its 40th anniversary.

While the attraction opened in 1981, work began years earlier.

Annie Salvatore and her husband, Dr. Joe Salvatore, founded the village in 1973 when they acquired the Cold Spring Grange, which had been built in 1912 as a civil, commercial and cultural center for the then-rural community.

The grange continued that use until about 1970. It later became a centerpiece for a collection of historic buildings on a 30-acre site. Over eight years, they collected buildings from the 18th and 19th century and moved them to the property. The oldest was built around 1690.

“It was a challenge,” said Annie Salvatore, although Joe Salvatore could be heard in the background describing the long effort as a nightmare. They had young children at the time.

Annie Salvatore said they were driven by a love of history and never did anything on a small scale. They later founded the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum at the Cape May Airport in Lower Township, with a focus on aviation history from World War II.

Annie Salvatore described history as their avocation.

“We didn’t realize it would become our life,” she said.

Within and among those buildings in the Cold Spring section of Lower Township , the Salvatores created a living history museum, representing historic crafts and daily life in Cape May County from the early 1800s. That includes educational reenactors in costume and an eight-acre farm with animals and 27 restored structures.

On Saturday, a gala is set to celebrate the anniversary. Starting at the Seashore Road entrance to the village, the event is set to run from 5 to 8 p.m., with a limit of 200 reservations. Tickets are $40 and available at

“Experiencing the village’s fall foliage, lit at dusk, makes for a truly memorable evening,” said museum coordinator Patricia Raspa, who is leading the gala effort.

The evening starts at the Cold Spring Grange Restaurant with hors d’oeuvres. Beer from the Cold Spring Brewery and wine will be served at the Grange in addition to several of the Village’s restored historic buildings.

In the village, the Dennisville Inn, Spicer Leaming House and Country Store will be open during the event. Desserts provided by the Friends of Historic Cold Spring Village will be at the pavilion near the Cold Spring Brewery.

Earlier this year, the staff at Historic Cold Spring Village cited the brewery as a big help in keeping the attraction solvent in the face of COVID-19.

In 2016, the Salvatores renovated an 1804 English barn into the Cold Spring Brewery, the first nonprofit brewery in the state, according to staff. All of the brewery’s proceeds go toward maintaining the village.

Walking tours were also part of the pandemic response, emphasizing the outdoor, with visits inside some of the buildings, including the Marshallville School, built in 1850, the Dennisville Inn, built in 1836 and the oldest structure in Cape May County, the Coxe Hall Cottage, built in 1691.

Contact Bill Barlow:


Twitter @jerseynews_bill


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