Two things you should know right away about the Cookie Jar House:
One, there are no giant cookies inside the jar.
Two, it’s for sale!
The kooky curvy home in Glendora — located in Gloucester Township in Camden County — looks like a giant cookie jar (keep your hands out of there!). It is also known, somewhat less colorfully, as the Round House.
“There’s always people driving by and waving,” says owner Robert Berman, whose rents the house to his babysitter and her husband. “People knock on the door, too.”
The Cookie Jar House is a private residence, not a museum, so you should take those smartphone photos on the street if you decide to drive down Rowand Avenue.
It’s apparently the only cookie jar-shaped house in America, not to be confused with the Round House in Wilton, Ct.; the Teapot Dome in Zillah, Wash.; the Pickle Barrel House in Mich.; the Kettle House in Galveston, Tex.; the Spaceship House in Signal Mountain, Tenn.; the Dome Home in El Prado, N.M., or any other of the wondrously eccentric homes and structures found from coast to coast.
The Cookie Jar House is three floors of wraparound whimsy, with storage room and bathroom on the ground floor, living room and kitchen on the second floor, two bedrooms on the third floor.
There’s a deck, backyard, metal-rimmed roof and, in the front yard, a headless statue the Bermans bought in China and shipped home.
The 1,564-square-foot house appeared in season 1 of HGTV’s Offbeat America, a fun experience, although Berman seems miffed he and his wife, Tina, were never reimbursed for the hundreds of cookies they had made for the show.
Amazingly, there doesn’t seem to be much detail about this goofy, glorious home. Local historian Paul Schopp told South Jersey History and Adventures the home was built in 1949 and was advertised as “a house for the atomic age,” purportedly able to withstand an atomic bomb blast.
Weird N.J., the unsurpassed chronicler of the state’s bizarro world, interviewed the former owner, John Dobbins, who said the home was built in 1947.
“I do have some problems getting furniture up and down the staircase,” Dobbins said in Weird N.J. Issue #8. “Still, it’s very comfortable.”
The neighbors surely know all about the Cookie Jar House. The community? Maybe not so much. When I stopped in a local convenience store several years ago and asked about it, the clerk and two locals had no idea what I was talking about.
“People don’t know it’s here,” Berman said.
Strangely enough, the Cookie Jar House was to be the first of an entire community of cookie jar houses. But, for reasons unknown, it was the only one built.
The original owner, Berman believes, “was a woman from Kansas who had it built because her house kept getting whipped around in tornadoes.”
The Bermans bought the house in 1997, by happenstance. When the two were dating, Tina, who then lived in Philly, told Robert “if you can find an interesting space, I’ll consider moving (to New Jersey).”
He found it, all right, in the form of the Cookie Jar House; an employee of his dad’s candy and tobacco business, in adjacent Runnemede, tipped off the elder Berman that the property was available.
Berman, co-owner of Rasta Imposta, a wholesale Halloween costume supplier, now has the Cookie Jar House for sale. It’s listed on Zillow; the asking price is “give or take $165,000,” according to Berman.
Tina Berman, though, hasn’t quite let go yet.
“When we moved to Haddonfield, it took over a year for her to move (everything),” he says, laughing. “She didn’t want to leave.”
Berman says the Cookie Jar House “would be perfect for an artsy couple with one kid or no kids. Why would you want to live here?” He smiled. “Why not?”
Wood-burning stove, DirectTV, attic — and one of the state’s more singular structures.
“It’s small but it’s so warm and homey,” Berman said. “It was a fun house, a great place to be.”