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Investigation Under Way Into Fire That Destroyed Historic 19th Century Farmhouse At Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area


An early morning fire on March 12 destroyed the Van Campen-Miller farmhouse in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. NPS photos.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fire that burned to the ground an early 19th century farmhouse at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. 

"The destruction of this building is a true loss by any measure," said Water Gap Superintendent John Donahue in the wake of the fire that destoryed the James Van Campen House.

The fire was reported shortly before dawn on March 12 to the park's 24-hour emergency communications center by a motorist on River Road in Pennsylvania. The caller could see something burning on the New Jersey side of the river, according to a park release.Within five minutes, a second phone call was made to confirm that a building was on fire.

Firefighters from the Knowlton Fire Department, Blairstown Hose Company # 1, Portland Hook and Ladder, and the National Park Service responded. However, by the time they arrived, the house was gone, park officials said. The building was vacant at the time of the fire.

The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time, but is under investigation by the National Park Service. Anyone with information that might aid with the investigation is asked to call the park’s emergency communications center at 1-800-543-4295.

James Van Campen built the original portion of the two-story, frame house in 1812 on property he inherited from his father, Abraham Van Campen. The Van Campen family owned the property until the mid-1840s; it subsequently passed through several owners until it was purchased by the Miller family in the early 1940s. The federal government acquired the property in 1970.

The James Van Campen-Miller House was typical of the early, rural farmhouses in the area and had local, historic significance as part of the Old Mine Road Historic District.


Were the results of the investigation into the September 2010 structure fires just a short distance down that same road ever made public?

This was my great-great-grandfathers uncles house. my great-grandmother
Azelia Van-Campen came to california in 1849 and lived in mariposa co. and
homesteaded in Wawona where she married into the Bruce family.

Should this be investigated by another party other than the Parks Service? What if negligence on their part was the cause? Would they be impartial? Just asking because it seems a bit of a conflict of interest to investigate in your own house. Not saying they were negligent, but appearances are important. The public deserves an impartial investigation.

What the author neglects to mention is that the house was built on the foundation of a much older house, from sometime in the 1700's. The cornerstone had the original date, and the original structure must have burned down with the foundation being reused. A terrible shame this had to happen. Our local and national treasures being lost by benign neglect.

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