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Bring Back the Nail House!

The ‘Nail House’—that little old one-story with green shutters at the entrance to City Park—has a pretty BIG story to tell—a whole saga of ‘maker’ stories, in fact, that have inspired historians, artists, activists, and just plain folks, to save it—share it—and repair it for over two centuries!

So, when the City approached us for help to Bring it Back,
Yes, we thought, it makes sense.

We joined up—first with the City, then with the 1772 Foundation and the NJ Historic Trust—to build the funding and skills for turning things around. But to take this project home, we also need YOU.

CHABA’s newly published …

“This Little Building is HUGE!…"

This little building opens a magical window on the stories that time and change have secretly scripted on the little City structure long known as the “Nail House”—an unassuming 200-year-old icon at the entrance to Bridgeton City Park. It also marks and celebrates the Nail House’s ongoing restoration—with City, State and private support—as a tourism ‘gateway’ to the park, the Bridgeton Historic District and the entire Bayshore region.

This handsome little hardcover is dubbed an "intergenerational children's book” because it allows kids to see for themselves (AND parents and grandparents to share with them) some of the striking memories of what used to be here. But it also raises and answers the question of how a grungy relic of early industrializing America—a bustling, smoky place where even children were sometimes employed as workers—could possibly morph into the green and pleasant Park and Zoo we love!


Colorful drawings, historic images and simple text capture this transformation. “This Little Building…” slowly unfolds the story of how the little ’Nail House’ evolved over two centuries, holding on to regional history and personal memory while still managing to capture so much hope for a greener future for this …and many other American cities.

Available in English and Spanish versions
Text and artwork by Flavia Alaya with the digital setup assistance of Carola Hartley.

This Little Building Cover.jpg

Your purchase of this book immediately supports repairs to The Nail House. Thank you!

RIGHT: Want to drill down to the nitty-gritty documentary and structural history of this big little place?

Penny Watson’s historical narrative forms part of a full-scale Preservation Plan (2013) for the structure. This study--a treasure of context and information! by Watson & Henry--was funded by the New Jersey Historic Trust via a grant CHABA helped the City apply for when we were just getting underway in 2011; it is now the basis of our fundraising and restoration planning.

Drill down to the amazing illustrations too! 

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