Unexpected Natural Treasure: New Jersey Pine Barrens

Recently, I joined family for a private tour of the Pine Barrens conducted by a renown raconteur and writer, Dave Hart who has authored several books which have New Jersey and specifically Pine Barren themes, such as the Jersey Devil.

Dave took us to a building sitting all by itself down yet another quiet one-lane Pine Barrens road. This building houses a bar that has essentially remained unchanged for three centuries, on the ground floor of the private residence of Rudy Koenig.

Dave went around back, past the sizeable garden, to ask Rudy if it were OK that we come in. It is his house, after all. An offering of wine was probably not necessary to gain his kind assent to a brief tour, but it was probably appreciated, and a nice touch by Dave Hart.

After speaking with Rudy, Dave opened the door on the porch and beckoned us in.

The cabinet in this corner is part of the original bar; the room was approximately 8 feet by 15.

The other end of the room where the original bar pieces resided:

Rudy and Dave showing some old clippings and historical documentation.

Rudy laid out some of his rooms, or parts of his rooms, as exhibits; much appreciated. He served in the US Navy during World War II.

Rudy bought this place and five acres of land in 1950, after leaving an unhappy marriage. He had to kick out some vagrants who had resided inside, but soon came to make it and the land his own.

The building at the time had no power or any other connectivity. Rudy made do.

During research into a nearby Revolutionary War battle, a local historian chanced upon some original documents mentioning a tavern at the location of the house, and knocked at Rudy's door to peer inside. To his delight, large areas of the original building remained, especially the bar.

Click here for next page of Pine Barrens Tour by Dave Hart