def #38 03/02/10
CLOVERDALE FARM COUNTY PARK FIRE INFORMATION
The cause of a structural fire that destroyed the visitors’ center at Cloverdale Farms County Park in Barnegat Township
remains under investigation by Ocean County authorities.
The fire was reported around 6:30 p.m., Monday, March 1. No injuries were reported. The visitor’s center, a two-story
building that dates back about 100 years was destroyed by the blaze. The building housed park’s department offices on the
second floor and displays and information relative to the park’s history on the first floor.
The park will be closed to the public while a cleanup takes place.
Investigating the fire are the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigation
Unit, K-9 Unit, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, and Barnegat Township Police Detective Bureau.
In 2004, Ocean County acquired Cloverdale Farms in Barnegat Township. Katherine Collins, the local cranberry farmer in
town, previously owned the farm. Mrs. Collins had lived on the property for over 50 years with her husband William, who
passed away in 2000. The property, about 80 acres, had been used as an active cranberry farm since the early 1900s.
There are several historic buildings located on the property including the house where one of Mrs. Collins’ sons resided
that dates back over 100 years. Along with a farmhouse, there is a cranberry shed where the cranberries had been sorted
and stored before being shipped out for processing. Much of the original equipment and storage bins remain to this day.
Since its acquisition, the County has been in the process of acquiring permits from the State to upgrade the facility and
to begin using the property as an active cranberry demonstration farm. Once completed, visitors will be allowed to observe
the actual day-to-day operation of the farm from cultivation and growing to the harvesting and sorting of the native
Cloverdale Farms is a unique County park, representing both the natural and historic characteristics of the region and will
be another wonderful addition to the Ocean County Park system.