Anyone driving on Route 206 in Shamong has surely seen the gorilla in the parking lot of Mighty Joe’s, a gas station and convenience store. Formerly found along the Wildwood boardwalk and more recently serving as a decoration at a go-kart track, the gorilla, now known as Mighty Joe, has since been fixed up and moved to the side of Route 206 as an homage to the owner’s deceased son, also named Joe.
Remember that long list of explorers you had to learn in school and likely forgot all of now, besides Christopher Columbus (which is tragic honestly, since not only did he not really do much of anything, he tortured, enslaved, and murdered the local people)? Remember da Gama? Vespucci? Cabot? You know, a bunch of European guys sailing around for various countries? Well, hopefully you remember Henry Hudson from that list. From his namesake we get, among other things, Hudson County, the Hudson River, and Hudson Bay.
Historians know Henry Hudson stopped and got water from these springs during his 1609 voyage. You might be asking, so what? Well, I dunno really. If you’re a history geek, this is simply a little known historical site of very, very minute significance. I bet your text books never mentioned he stopped off in the Highlands of NJ, though.
The spring is also somewhat difficult to find; I have driven by it multiple times on the way to Hartshorne Woods without realizing it. The roads in the area wind and curve all over the place. There is virtually no parking when you get near the spring, and any that is close by is all private. It was a real pain getting to this site.
Again, just an interesting historical tidbit. If you’re into history, go check it out. If you’re not all that into history… why are you on this site?
Hamilton/Burr Got Milk? commercial from sometime in the 90’s
In the early days of this country, if you didn’t get along with a political rival, you didn’t just do the childish mudslinging modern day politicians do. Oh no, you popped a cap. And that’s exactly what happened in Weehawken, NJ, in 1804. Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, and – get this – vice president Aaron Burr decided to put an end to their long-lasting rivalry. Although considered honorable and a “gentleman’s” way of settling disputes, duels by this time were outlawed, so we had two very prominent political figures breaking the law.
As we all know (or at least the guy in the milk commercial up there), Burr killed Hamilton, was charged with murder, and acquitted. Why does this have any relevance? Historically, it has quite a bit. Hamilton was one of the last significant members of the Federalist Party, which long story short was for stronger government and fewer rights to the people. Hamilton was even quoted during a debate with Thomas Jefferson as saying something along the lines of “Your people, sir, is a great beast.” He didn’t want the common person voting people into office; he felt a rich aristocracy should consist of the country’s voters. This guy can somewhat be blamed for that ever popular entity that rears its ugly head in every presidential election – The Electoral College. Had the Federalist Party remained a formidable party, who knows how much different our government would be today?
And, of course, since Hamilton was the one who lost his life, he gets all the honor and everything named after him. He even got the last laugh in a way; the duel was so negatively viewed by the public that Burr crept away and left the political world for good.
The monument is on the appropriately Hamilton Avenue and has quite a nice view of Manhattan behind it. A small park, also named after Hamilton, is nearby. They were filming something in it when I visited – not sure what.
Yet something else that was up the road from me my whole life and I never knew about. These old silos can be found in the woods of South Toms River. They’re in pretty good shape and there are quite a few of them. I wonder why there’s one whole cluster very close together but then others are more spaced out and not so organized. I’m not really sure what they were for or when they were last used. The insides of most of them had chairs and other random junk in them; kind of reminded me of the structures at Mays Landing Brick Company.
The silos are a little tagged up, but there is much less trash there than at other sites I’ve been to. Overall they’re in pretty good shape compared to other similar places.
Although railroads in Central & South Jersey are just about defunct nowadays, there are still several reminders of their presence and significance – Winslow Junction, the track that once ran next to the Freight Station, the trestle behind Hebrew Park are just a few examples. Here is another.
The ruins of a coal dump for the Tuckerton Railroad can be found along Memorial Drive in Barnegat. I lived in the area for 25 years and never knew it was there. Kind of amazing, seeing that it’s just a block away from Route 9.
Not really a whole lot to say about this one. This is the highest point in New Jersey, and to celebrate this fact, they built a large phallus on it. High Point is 1,803 feet above sea level, and the tower is an additional 220 feet. Unfortunately, the tower was closed the day we visited.
I actually attempted to visit this place quite a number of years ago. As we pulled up, the rangers closed the park right in front of us because a thunderstorm was rolling in.
Quite possibly one of the most strangely worded gift shop signs I’ve ever seen: