Pics from 8/02 & 11/05

Not really sure where the name “Pickerel” came from; a friend of ours told us that’s what he called it, and I guess we were tired of saying “the woods by Clemente’s house”. These woods, found between Hooper Avenue & Fischer Boulevard in Toms River, were a stomping ground for me since my freshman year in high school. There were always strange things to be found back there, since the place is a dumping ground for slackasses who can’t be bothered to go to the actual dump. More interesting, though, were foundations and what looked like some sort of fountain or pool made of concrete. We knew some sort of building was back here at some point, but just what? It would take 9 years to find out.
About 6 years later I returned to take my first (and really bad) batch of photos and post the place on the site. 3 years after that, a friend of mine learned the true identity of the ruins in the woods…and we returned yet again.

Kids have done some interesting things in these woods over the years. In 2002 a big portion of the place was a paintball arena made of logs and the various trash lying around. Now it seems that’s all gone, and in its place we found a bunch of hangouts and forts, some built right on top of the foundations and rubble from the place’s original incarnation…which I’ll get to in a bit.

We were impressed with this one….not only are there stairs, but the back is like a log cabin.

OK, so what about the “pool”, and what about the foundations? Turns out decades ago, this area was a sort of theme park called Wild West City. Yes, I’m aware that there’s one up north somewhere. Whether the 2 are related or if the park was simply moved up north, I don’t know yet. We don’t know when exactly it closed or how long it was open, but from the sound of it, it closed in the early 60’s. Other than the pool/fountain/whatever it is and the occasional foundation, nothing is left of the park.

Painted on the side of the “pool”. Who you gonna call? Black power!

Old pics of the “pool”:

Trashed van that used to be off the trail:

If I find out any more about this seemingly forgotten Wild West City, I’ll be posting it. If anyone knows more about it, feel free to drop me a line. I’d love to hear about it.

Author: Stu

9 thoughts on “Pickerel

  1. Where is this can I get directions Im a local and I skate Id like to visit the bowl

  2. A trail across from the Water’s Edge condos led right to the bowl… if it’s even still there at this point.

  3. How far back in the woods just like Alex Im a local skater that is in need to visit the bowl……. I f you could put more detail into the directions, it would be greatly appreciated. Get back to me ASAP. Thank you,

  4. It wasn’t that far back; maybe 500-1000 feet from Fischer Blvd, if it’s even still there anymore. The trail has a gate across it now.

  5. You can get a good idea of where to find this spot if you visit HistoricAerials.com. You can see the area where Wild West City existed back in 1963 – http://www.historicaerials.com/aerials.php?scale=8E-06&lat=39.9979970472676&lon=-74.154944215092&year=1963.

    If you look towards the center of the photo, you will see a long, oval-shaped ring. Just to the left of the oval, you will see a faint round ring — that is “the pool”. If you click on the various dates on the left side of the photo and bring it up to 2007, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of how to get there. If you’re a skater looking to ride it, better bring some shovels — last time I was there, it was filled with dirt. It was a pretty great spot back in the 1980s.

  6. I know pickerel very well form what we called the mountain to pickerel pond as well as abandoned vehicles. Me and my friends spent many years back here with many others from Tom’s rivet. I know who built the log cabin. It was me and several others around 1990. We gave up after about 6 rows or so of logs. We became of age to go to bars and never returned to finish it. I lived off Fischer on yellwbank road at the time. The was a homeless man named Crazy Kenny who lived there and we used to visit him. He had plastic flowers all around his makeshift hut. People who really know the pickerel woods would realize a lot of the landscape by the hill changed from sandy floods. I went back to the hill last year where we used to build fires but that is under water now

  7. The van in the photo hit a tree on the passenger side and broke the wheel. That happened in late eighties or early 90s

  8. Here’s an update: the Pickerel Pool still exists and is now empty! I wanted to skate it since we found it as kids in the late 80s. It was always full of water and debris, so I never had the opportunity to skate it — something that always stuck in my craw. I decided to hike back there, bail it out, and finally give myself the chance to skate it. Midlife crisis? Maybe. Who cares though, I finally skated that thing after decades of wanting! The concrete is super rough and crusty but I had a lot of fun and am stoked to have finally done it. Animal Chin is alive and well in the Pickerel Pool. If any skaters are reading, there are still a few buckets back there for maintenance bailing in case it rains. Go get ’em!

    PS: The pool was built in 1958 and used as a dunking pool to “punish” the bad guys during the wild west shows.

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