BELLMAWR, New Jersey- The Hugg-Harrison-Glover House, a Bellmawr landmark that survived the Revolutionary War, became a casualty of a highway construction project Friday says

Borough Mayor Frank Filipek said demolition crews arrived with a New Jersey state police escort about 6 a.m. at New St. Mary’s Cemetery on West Browning Road, where the house was formerly used for administrative offices.

“I can’t believe it,” said the mayor, who late last year announced that the borough had found a new location for the house — which had become a cause celebre among historians, officials, and residents.

 “I talked to the [state transportation] commissioner’s office this morning, and they told me it was their property and they could do whatever they wanted with it.”
 The New Jersey Department of Transportation took possession of the house and six nearby acres from the cemetery’s owner, the Diocese of Camden, about six years ago. The structure stood in the path of the DOT’s “Direct Connection” project to reconstruct the I-76, I-295, and Route 42 interchange.

On Thursday — the same day an attorney for the Camden County Historical Society sought an injunction to prevent demolition — Bellmawr issued the state a permit to tear down an adjacent garage, but not the house, the mayor said.


But at midday Friday, the garage still stood but the house, once owned by the commander of a militia involved in two Revolutionary War battles, was a debris field of shattered bricks and broken timbers, the report said.

Ellen McDowell, the historical society’s attorney, said she had filed a motion in Superior Court seeking an injunction to prevent the state from carrying out the plan to remove the house.

On Friday, she was seeking to amend the motion to prohibit the state from removing the debris. The state earlier refused to allow historians to document the building’s interior.

The early morning demolition “was quite a shock,” McDowell said.

Chris Perks, president of the society board, used stronger language.

“I would say this is probably the most irresponsible and despicable action by any government agency I’ve ever witnessed in my life,” he said.

See complete report here.