Route 539 Painted Rock

New pics from 12/07

This is finally being posted, after roughly 4 years of being put off, for an important reason…..I almost lost the opportunity to post it at all. I’ll get to that in a second.

On the side of Rt. 539 is a large rock, which is rumored to have fallen off a truck that was carrying it to Long Beach Island. The rock was to have been part of a new jetty….possibly the very jetty which caused the Sea King to end up buried under sand. Over the years someone has been painting the rock. The painter used to change the rock rather frequently. Sometimes it would be decorated for a holiday, and other times it would just be a solid color. When I first saw it over 4 years ago, it was a solid dark green. Ever since 9/11 it’s been painted to look like an American flag.

Now for the story. If you have an opportunity to photograph or visit someplace….take it. Don’t put it off.
As I said, I put off writing about this rock for over 4 years. I passed by it numerous times and said to myself “I’ll get it next time” or “it’s kinda dumb; nobody’ll care about that. Maybe I’ll get it some other time.” Well, not long ago I almost lost the chance completely. On the weekend of the 4th of July, the rock was vandalized. Some losers spraypainted it a crappy blue and covered it with a lot of poorly made peace signs. I’ll admit that after 4 years I wanted to see something new on it…..but not in this way.
We passed by it a week later and saw it had been repainted as a flag. The blue has run a little bit, but I’ll take this over the craptastic vandal job.

I was lucky and got a 2nd chance to photograph the Rt. 539 Rock as it was meant to be seen; you don’t get 2nd chances very often in this hobby. Once something’s gone, it’s gone.
Except for painted rocks, it seems.


I was in the area visiting my wife’s family for Christmas. I had heard someone half-assed painted the rock, and I wanted to see for myself. Well, they were right. It has a turtle and what appears to be palm trees on it. Whoever did it isn’t quite an artist, and they also left parts of the flag’s stripes visible in a few areas:

Seeing all the flags still in front of the rock made me chuckle.

For a long time I was hoping someone would come along and reclaim the rock’s randomness….but I was hoping it would be someone who could actually paint. This just sucks – almost as bad as the vandal job a few years back.

Author: Stu

2 thoughts on “Route 539 Painted Rock

  1. Actually, if you look at the difference in the red stripes between your first set of photos and your second, someone repainted the flag. In the first flag, there aer 13 stripes. In the flag under the badly rendered turtles, there are way more than that, and they are skinny stripes.
    I just went by it today and it’s back to being a flag but I didn’t stop for pictures b/c I was on my way somewhere else…

  2. I have lived in New Jersey my whole life.My family and I would pass by the rock every year on our way to Ship Bottom.It brings back a lot of memories.It was considered a half way point to the shore for us and we loved it.Check out a song called 539 on the EP Under Sunny Skies on i-TUNES.Funny I found this pic and heard that song.Thanks for the post

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