By Sergio Bichao March 4, 2017 5:55 PM
BELLMAWR — It survived the Revolutionary War and stood for two centuries more.
But without warning, it all came crashing down this week.
In a move that has shocked and outraged local and federal officials, a state Department of Transportation contractor early Friday morning took a wrecking ball to the Hugg-Harrison-Glover House.
The demolition has raised questions about whether state transportation officials may have violated federal historical-preservation regulations.
The DOT has had its sights set on 515 West Browning Road since 2001 for a planned $900 million interchange construction for Interstates 76 and 295 and Route 42. The state used eminent domain to take the land from the Diocese of Camden’s New Saint Mary’s Cemetery in 2010.
DOT officials have maintained that the Hugg-Harrison-Glover House did not meet the criteria for being considered a national historic structure.
But after local preservationists learned only for the first time in 2014 that the state planned to demolish the 18th century structure, the state Historic Preservation Office in the Department of Environmental Protection reached a different conclusion.
A December 2016 document obtained by New Jersey 101.5 reveals that the office found that the house meets two of the four criteria for eligibility in the state and national historic registers.
Transportation officials on Friday did not explain this discrepancy. Nor did they explain why they didn’t wait for a judge to hear the Camden County Historical Society’s request for an order to halt the demolition. The DOT green-lighted the demolition early Friday morning, hours after the group had filed their lawsuit the previous afternoon.
CONTINUE TO READ via nj1015.com (image source Camden County Historical)
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