SADDLE RIVER, N.J. (AP) - A 19th century Dutch Colonial house
that gained a spot on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places
has been gutted by fire.
The house, known as the Achenbach House, was owned by Stephen
Perillo, who took ownership upon the death of his father, Mario
Perillo. The elder Perillo was known for his Perillo Tours
television commercials hawking trips to Italy.
It was not immediately clear whether the younger Perillo was
living in the house.
In the 1960s, the house was owned by actor Larry Blyden and his
wife, Carol Haney. Blyden was also known as a host of the game show
"What's My Line" in the 1970s.
Fire officials said the cause of the blaze remained under
investigation. The fire erupted about 6:45 a.m. Friday and took
firefighters just under three hours to bring under control.
Officials said the fire appears to have started in the living room.
Tax records put the value of the house at $1.2 million.
The house was built by John George Achenbach, a shepherd from
Germany who eloped with his boss's daughter and sought haven in New
Jersey. Achenbach became a teacher in Saddle River.
Several generations of the Achenbach family owned the house
before it was bought by a borough couple in 1921.
Blyden bought the home in 1961 as a retreat. He and his wife
came to believe it was haunted, saying they saw apparitions in
Colonial dress. In 1962, they hired a parapsychologist to conduct a
seance in the house.
Blyden died in a 1975 car accident in Morocco. Haney died in
1964.
The house was put on the state Register of Historic Places in
1978 to save it from a road project.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)