Historic Mansion on Colonial-Era Farm Damaged in Fire

MENDHAM, N.J. (AP) -

A historic mansion on a Colonial-era farm in northern New Jersey was severely damaged by an overnight fire Wednesday.

The unoccupied 11,800-square-foot mansion on the Pitney Farm property partially collapsed after the fire. It was inhabited by 11 generations of the Pitney family from 1722 until 2013, according to the Friends of Pitney Farm website. The property and the surrounding 12 acres were purchased by Mendham Township in 2009 and the group was working on a plan to redevelop a portion of the property.

“It’s a devastating loss and an important piece of our local history,” said Omie Medford Ryan, the president of the group. “I got to see the devastation and it’s pretty substantial and dramatic. Huge portions have collapsed.”

Furniture and other valuables had already been removed from the uninhabited building, but Mendham Township Mayor Frank Cioppettini says that the town is shocked by the tragedy.

“We were trying to save the property and we lost a treasure,” he said. “We want to thank all the volunteers for trying to save the mansion, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”