Lawsuit: NJ tore down historic Bellmawr house ‘intentionally’

The Camden County Historical Society alleges New Jersey tore down the historic house intentionally.

According to the Courier-Post, “The Camden County Historical Society filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the state for tearing down a historic Bellmawr house in the way of a major interstate construction project.” Upon orders from the New Jersey Transportation Department, a state contractor tore the house down the morning of March 3.

“The house was located behind New St. Mary’s Cemetery on Browning Road. Officials tore it down to make way for a sound barrier wall as part of the Direct Connection I-676/I-295 interchange improvement project that seeks to create a seamless I-295 thruway,” the Courier-Post reports. The house belonged to Colonial militia captain William Harrison and a Revolutionary War battle was fought nearby under command of Marquis de Lafayette.

The Courier-Post reports:

Under post-demolition provisions of the historic preservation act, the society asks the court to mitigate damage to the historic site by ordering the state to build or create one or more of the following:

  • Replica of the house

  • Revolutionary War museum

  • Monument commemorating the original house

  • ‘Ghost structure’ at the original site, similar to one at the site of Benjamin Franklin’s former home in Philadelphia

  • Commemorative signage

  • Intensive-level archaeological excavation.