The Trent-town Barracks is the only one of five eighteenth-century British army barracks constructed in New Jersey to survive. Built between 1758 and 1762 to provide winter quarters for British troops during the French and Indian War, the Barracks housed Hessian soldiers, loyalists, and refugees of both sides during the American Revolution. The building was the scene of one of the engagements that culminated in the pivotal victory George Washington and the Continental Army over British forces the day after Christmas, 1776. Following the war, a section of the building was demolished and the Barracks was converted to residential and institutional uses. In 1899, the Old Barracks Association purchased the southern half of the surviving structure and created the Old Barracks Museum.
As a principal and project manager for John G. Waite Associates, Architects, PLLC, Robert A. Petito Jr. managed the phased restoration of the Officers’ House interior and the full restoration of the Soldiers’ Barracks and the Barracks Lot. Preceded by the earlier preparation of a historic structure report and reconstruction of the exterior brick façade of the Officers’ House, Mr. Petito supervised the preparation of construction documents for Officers’ House interior, an HVAC equipment project, and the exterior and interior of the Soldiers’ Barracks. The work scope included: cleaning and repointing of the stone masonry facades; reinstallation of brick arch lintels above windows and doors; recreation of the original cantilevered second floor porches and stairs; new wood shingle roofing; restoration of existing windows and doors and design of new period windows and doors; and, reconstruction of brick chimneys. On the interior, spaces were constructer for period soldiers’ barracks rooms, exhibit spaces, educational activities, a museum shop, visitor orientation, and collections care facilities. New systems included mechanical, plumbing, fire protection, electrical power and lighting, telecommunications, and life-safety. Sitework included lowering the parade ground and enclosing the original Barracks Lot with a wood plank fence and gates based on original eighteenth-century construction records.