To the Editor:
In a letter to the editor, pothunter Rick Patterson discredits and ridicules the Vernon Township Historical Society with an abundance of false information, criticizing the society for the wonderful interpretive signage it created with a grant the society won from the State of New Jersey for the Black Creek Site. It is our belief that Mr. Patterson is still upset with the historical society because he could not shake down the society for $5,000 for something the society did not ask him to do and with which the society had nothing whatsoever to do.
It is very unfortunate that he keeps referring over and over again to the “historical society” when he knows full well that the interpretive signage was all written by a professional, career, and award-winning historian who also happened to write the interpretive plan for Ellis Island for the State of New Jersey!
Mr. Patterson knows well firsthand that the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office (NJHPO) archaeologists and historians reviewed and approved every single word and image in the Black Creek Site interpret signage before the signs could even be created. He knows this because he complained to the NJHPO about the verbiage, but HPO dismissed his complaints and approved the signage. Then the interpretive signage went through review by Parks and Forestry, which approved every word and image.
Lastly, Mr. Patterson knows that pre-eminent Lenape experts and archaeologists Herbert and John Kraft created the images in the interpretive signage, which the society obtained permission to use. This signage was a joint effort of professional historians and archaeologists, not by a person who goes to historic sites and illegally mines for artifacts for his own personal stash. There is nothing racist about these wonderful interpretive signs, and even more interesting is the fact that a lot of the wording in the signs came directly from Rick Patterson’s own writings and his nomination of the Black Creek Site for the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. He forgot to mention that part in his letter to the editor.
Jessi Paladini, President
Vernon Historical Society