Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Ice Tunnel

The Ice Tunnel also more commonly named Roseville is located right behind C.O. Johnson park, which lays on the boder of Forset Lakes. This tunnel was part of the Lackawanna railroad which streched from Hoboken NJ to Buffalo NY, the tracks were abandoned in 1983. The track area is no longer in use but the tunnel in which the train use to go through still has pieces of the track.

The Tunnel opened December 24th 1911 and was patroled by watchmen working couple hour shifts. The tunnel would allow for a speeds of 70mph. Ice Tunnel got it's name because no matter the time of year it has a cooler temperature then the surrounding outside temperature. During the winter months this leads to giant ice crystals to hang down from the ceiling!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hamburg Paper Mill

When we were looking for the Ginger Bread Castle we saw this giant smoke stack sticking out of the woods from a distance. I remember exactly saying "Bobby we should go! that probably has an interesting story." We set out through a new housing development and into the woods on the side. We were only a little into the woods and we had to find a way down the side of this steep cliff with loose rocks. As we got down we came upon the first part of a structure.

After walking along side the cliff we got down to notice down more graffiti.

This building structure was the old remembrances of the Hamburg Paper Mill. The Mill was from the late 19th century and offered many locals full time employment and farmers money during the winter giving them straw to keep the mill running. However the Mill had its problems having multiple fires and flooded from the dam and creek nearby.

To get across the river running through we tight roped walked across a beam that ran above it. About halfway through I stopped to snap that picture of the river running down underneath us, it was kind of scary looking down as it was about a twenty foot drop onto sharp rocks!

As we crossed the river we had to jump over some little gap in the foundation then we came across the smoke stack I original spotted and what we set out to find!

 Sorry there was not much historical facts about the old paper mill I could not seem to find them. This was a hard one, to be honest we had no idea what it was when we first found it!

Camp Nordland

Prior to World War II America was in one of the worst depressions and unemployment crisis they have ever faced. In the little state of NJ there was a massive amount of German Immigrants living there, over 100,000, and they needed a way to express there anger toward the government. There were many bloody fights between plant workers and the people who owned the plants, the Germans looked back to their home land and saw Hitler had turned around the poverty stricken economy and turned it around. Only a certain portion of the immigrants accepted the Nazi ideals that Hitler was using, they soon became known as the Bund having over 10,000 members just from NJ, the Nazi party back in Germany actually gave the Bund funding. The leader of the Bund was a man by the name of Fritz Kuhn, he was a WWI vet and hand picked by Hitler himself to lead this radical movement in America. Camp Nordland which was opened in a little town, also my hometown of Andover NJ drew a ton of people to the little area. Over 10,000 people turned out to the opening of this camp, the people of Andover which only had a population of a little under 500 people at that point accepted the Bund because they brought a ton of revenue to the small town. However they did not like them per say as they walked around saluting Hitler, wearing swastikas, and military uniforms. As time went on people would start to protest the camp and claim that they were doing wrong things, the leader Fritz Kuhn was being looked at the FBI and IRS for embezzlement of money, DWI charges, and many more. The camp would hold weekend get aways at the camp for children, they would learn to march, learn the ranks of Hitler's army, and that the only perfect man is a white Christan German. Soon the deputy of Andover started to set up a personal crusade to kick them out he would attend meetings and take down every one's licence plate and watch all the activities going on and tell the FBI. I remember when I was a little kid going to Hillside, which is now a children's park. Kinda creepy when you think about this dark party of history there.

Little bridge thing we had to cross to get over a little stream/mud

abandoned near the abbey

The same day we had traveled to the Edison Mines someone we were with had said something about an old abandoned house near Saint Paul's Abbey. Saint Paul's Abbey was founded in 1924 by missionaries that had just coming over from Germany and East Africa. The main purpose of the setting up of the Abbey was to teach American Monks how to run a proper monastery, note the house you will see pictures of is not actually part of the Abbey but it is close by. To this day the monks who live there continue to take missions to Africa, also the Abbey is now home to Newton High School's Soccer and Lacrosse teams. During the winter seasons you may be use to a ton of cars parked there as the Abbey is a cut down your own Christmas tree farm.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In search of the GingerBread

One day while kicking around a soccer ball my friend told me the story about this gingerbread castle located literally 10-15 mins away from my house. I went home that night and told my mom all about it and she informed me that when I was a little kid it use to be an amusement park of sorts and we use to go there almost every weekend. That just made me so much more determined. We put the address into our GPS and headed out onto the adventure!

This paradise for little children was created back in the early 1900's and even when the man who originally planned for it to be built sold the mill next door he refused to sell this place. When children are young parents read them stories of fairy tales and girl's dream to become princesses. This really made you feel like you were in one of those stories, as soon as you walked up to the gate there was a giant story book, where most people would take their picture. Sitting on the wall right outside the is no other then humpty dumpty who had to be put back together. Now over 70 years later when I went searching for this wonderland humpty dumpty sat there still sitting on his wall.

Visitors to the park could have the option of being led on a tour by Hansel and Gretel. It was truly a place where all the fairy tales came true, kid's could even walk by statues of beloved characters such as Cinderella and snow white.

However when the place started to be to much to keep up they closed down for business. Then the park became a seasonal place used for haunted hay rides till a fire made it close down for good. My old high school cross country coach told me at one of our practices that they also tried making it into a club, I have yet to find that story anywhere else but I guess I will keep searching!

Thomas Alva Edison famous for inventing the light bulb

One of the first places I will write about was one of our first adventures of the summer. We came across this set of mines on a run in local mountains, after some research we found out we came across the old Edison Mines. In the late 1800's Thomas Alva Edison had opened these set of mines and many others, the mines were used to get cheap iron out they could use for furnaces used inside housing. The workers of the Edison mines actually had it pretty good back in the day, it was one of the first places to give electricity to the workers home and it was how the area first had started to become populated. Back in the day when the mine was still operational there also stood a mill and a processing plant not to far away. The mines are located in the Sparta Mountain Wildlife area, once you find the opening there is a tribute to Thomas Edison, as soon as you walk onto the trail you will come upon your first shaft. Please be careful there are fences up around the mines don't fool around it will cause serious harm and some of the holes you will not be able to get out.

Many of the caves or shafts that we had found had been flooded over, slowly over time collecting water. Most were not accessible to people.

There is a fence around the deep holes for people's protecting, I advise if you want a closer look to make sure you are not on the lip of the drop it is loose gravel. We think this deep hole was used as one of the old elevator shafts, we aren't completely positive however.

This mine that was low to the ground was accesible to crawl in although there are pictures of us inside of it I would not reccomend it. It is very narrow and over 100 years old and could fall at anytime. The cave came to an end about 100 feet into the end.