Monday, June 17, 2019

Peters Valley and Thunder Mountain School

Posted by Stu On June - 27 - 2008

Tags: , ,

Located just a few miles north Walpack is the area known as Peter’s Valley. Like Walpack, much of the area was forced to vacate when a reservoir was to have been built. While some developments and buildings were revived or put to different uses (such as the Craft Center), many in the area are still abandoned. It’s a shame too; there are some beautiful houses in the area.

Also in the area is a place called Thunder Mountain School, though it looks like it was more of a camp than a school. There is next to no information about it.

Popularity: 12% [?]

29 Responses

  1. Lisa Hellen Said,

    Great photos!! I am trying to find out how to get to this location, can you write me with directions please?

    Thank you!
    Lisa Hellen

    Posted on October 29th, 2010 at 12:16 am

  2. William Dawson Jr Said,

    I went to school at thunder mountain, It was there in 1986-88, aproximately. I was curious to see if I could find any information on the area, I am planning on going up to sussex county in the spring, there are allot of cool places there, sutch as Jumboland on 206, great ice cream shop, and buttermilk falls I believe in wapack… and more… if anyone knows more on the school please contact me at thank you

    Posted on November 18th, 2010 at 4:10 am

  3. Rebecca Moore Said,

    How did Thunder Mountain near Walpack New Jersey get its name?????

    Posted on April 21st, 2013 at 8:10 pm

  4. Matt Said,

    I found the school 2 yrs ago. It was so cool. Its in a beautiful secluded setting.I loved reading the names and dates carved into the wooden walls by the students. I had a strange feeling in there, wondering what took place in there in the 70s and 80s. This school is in the middle of nowhere. The name is awesome.I went back last year and it was being demolished. What a friggin shame. Theres no information anywhere about this place. Id like William or anyone else who attended to describe it.

    Posted on December 4th, 2013 at 4:50 am

  5. richard levick Said,

    i was in that school an let me tell you it was crazy like a devil house that had f up kids an to hide them away mr. dug housekeeper that ran the place was a big dick head anyone whats to chat with me my name is RICHARD LEE LEVICK if you gone there you would know me well i’m on facebook look me up

    Posted on March 2nd, 2014 at 5:40 pm

  6. Karen Said,

    I went to school at thunder mountain in the 80’s. I can’t remember how to get there if you could e-mail the directions i would appreciate it. Thank You

    Posted on April 3rd, 2014 at 11:42 am

  7. Michael Alwell Said,

    I went there 1986-89 I think. I wouldn’t call it a school they really didn’t teach with books. They let you some cigs, all the grass u could cut and work at green house $2.00 an hour and 100s of tics to take home with you. The gym was in like a shed wood floor. I was working full time & school & Had Mr. Morrison hit me 2xs & threw a book to wake me up.

    Posted on April 9th, 2015 at 5:53 am

  8. Michael Alwell Said,

    I threw back before he worked @ Gray Stone. It was one step away from detention center. You had to be classified ED Emotionally Disturbed, its 1&1/2 miles off any paved rd threw a stream 1/2 mile more ur there Text me @ 973-841 3357

    Posted on April 9th, 2015 at 6:09 am

  9. Michael Alwell Said,

    1day Mr. House Keeper Principal & i were talking / Vince Boyer School Bully 6ft 240lbs me 5/5 140lbs Vince was going nuts and starting wt me i said i love to kick his ass . HouseKeeper shut his office door and said u shut him up I didnt see anything – I said BS? If you got in fight there u get charged with Terroristic Threats 180 day detection center. Next day i walked in Caf Vince running his month I hit him so hard I busted his Nose blood everywere . well Thanks HouseKeeper u Kept ur word . He said goodbye Vince 180days LOL

    Posted on April 9th, 2015 at 6:30 am

  10. ARLENE COHEN Said,

    My husband andI owned THUNDER MOUNTAIN RANCH CAMP for boys from 1958 to 1970 when the government forced us to sell it to them for the recreational area that it has now become. We built all of the buildings some of which were burned down . We are happy that it is being used for the public good and kept forever wild rather than a housing development. Prior to THUNDER MOUNTAIN RANCH the property was a dude ranch that we ran called HOOFBEATS DUDE RANCH FROM 1953 to 1957

    Posted on May 12th, 2015 at 10:20 am

  11. Mitchell Sadowsky Said,

    This was a western camp for boys. Each camper got a horse, saddIe + pad, bridle, etc for the summer. The counselor’s were from Texas and could ride…I was a camper in the early 60’s then became a wrangler for 2 years 69 + 70. Ned and Steve were my bunkmates on the senior side of horse shoe road and wranglers with me in 69 + 70 on the junior side. Those 2 pics in front of the lower camp bunbks was nice to see. My bunk in 69 was above the nurse and remember camper Jonny Rocker. Horse head pool was still there in 1984, so was the road to the senior side and so was the horse bridge going up to the corral + stables. I remember my wrangler John “Murph” Murphy from Texas in 1961 or 62. Also remember getting buzz cut haircuts mid-camp before visiting day, barbers names were Phil and Vito. Went up there today on a visit to Sparta, Newton, Layton and Branchville, where we did our laundry as Wranglers…Took pictures of the present General Store in Bevans but the road to camp “Thunder Mountain Rd” does not go all the way to where camp was, sixty years later it has all over grown – wildlife. The lake where we sail boated and went water skiing was still there but the barn is gone. The camp was owned by Artie and Arlene Cohen, whose father was in real estate. What a lovely setting overlooking the Delaware. All day trips on horse back to Dingman’s, and over night camping in tents, sleeping bags with the horses by streams.

    Posted on November 15th, 2015 at 10:52 pm

  12. Tim Mason Said,

    Any info please email me!

    Posted on February 1st, 2016 at 9:44 am

  13. Jo Anne Davis Said,

    Responding to Arlene Cohen… I have so often wondered about yo and your Family. I am Joe Phelps’ Daughter from Troy Hills Stables in Parsippany NJ back tthen….and supplied you with Horses and tack… Lost Dad back in 1997…But cetainly alwas remember the good ole days… So glad to see your post…And they were good ols days ! Smile

    Posted on July 20th, 2016 at 1:32 pm

  14. Jeanine Hart O'Brien Said,

    My Dad Charlie Hart, Don DeAmato and Charlie Gerth ran the Thunder Mt Environmental Center from 1969ish to 1982 . It was a great program that was handicap accessable and adapted. They had tons of nature programs open to kids from all over NJ . In the summer they had a camp program for all kids mostly handicapped and low socioeconomic. They programs included wild life, vegitation, bird watching and farming. They also had a training program for the special education students from Newton School District. The students would be bused there and learn housekeeping and kitchen skills. They had arranged a contracts with local restaurants and hotels to hire the students after their training. It was a beautiful and wonderful place to be. I worked there as a camp counselor and lifeguard during my high school years. Oh they also had a Youth Conservation Corp program. In the early 80s funding for mentality handicapped special program was running dry so Newton District admins had the bright idea of turning it into an alternative school. Run by an inept crazy person Doug Housekeeper. He ran it ok right into the ground. I worked there as an intern while I was in college as a psych major. The kids had issues but the director had more. My Dad was retiring but he and Charlie Gerth were demoralized by the district doing this. So much so that my Dad wouldnt go to the district retirement dinner for him! It was all about money with the new superintendent. So my Dad who was once teacher of the year for the state of NJ representing Newton Scool District was basically kicked in ass for all his hard work. Still our family has great memories of Thunder Mt. I used to
    Hike the road to walpack where i lived with my park ranger husband everyday. We cross country skiied took the students and campers hiking, canoeing, swimming, indian artifact hunting – it was a great place where great things happened!

    Posted on August 21st, 2016 at 3:22 pm

  15. ALICIA Said,

    Hi Jeanine Hart o’Brien my name is Alicia , I knew your dad and what a wonderful man he was.I would like to talk to you and share the amazing positive impact that your dad had in my life.

    Posted on November 6th, 2016 at 2:55 pm

  16. ALICIA Said,

    Thunder Mountain was an amazing place, so Serene thanks to Charlie hart. He kept the place so beautiful . He made it feel so safe and always cared about the children and there well being. .He was an outstanding teacher man friend and mentor. Thank you charlie hart for everything you stood for and all the positives you instilled in me. You my friend and mentor will always be remembered for your hard work and outstanding kindness and teachings.

    Posted on November 6th, 2016 at 7:05 pm

  17. Noreen Said,

    Wow this was like a trip down memory lane. I was part of the YCC group in 1980. It saddens me to see the old bldg with my name carved on some of those walls. I cleaned the down stairs rooms and lived upstairs. No, no stairs…down path? Thunder Mountain was where I had my first kiss. Where I witnessed the birth of a cow.
    Where my socially awkward self could make new friends that lasted the better part of my twenties. The campfires, canoing, working in the kitchen with Chet, feeding the cows, petunia, the pig, goats, chickens, Ferdinan , the bull, eating ring dings onto of the hay barn ( the roof) loading the hay barn, walking down the amazingly long path/ driveway/ road. Down to the water. To the gap, down to van camps old remains.
    It was the stuff that you read about, or see in the movies, it was a model place. YCC was a great experience. Ill never forget it.

    Posted on November 16th, 2016 at 10:53 pm

  18. Noreen Said,

    I am sorry to know of the drama that was involved. I knew both Charlies also. They were wonderful to all of us 16/ 17 year olds. They were fun mentors that kept us all in line. And knew how to keep 20ish kids entertained and busy. If ya got nothing to do…. Pick up a broom, or a rake. There’s always something to do on a farm.

    Posted on November 16th, 2016 at 11:07 pm

  19. jeanine hart o'brien Said,

    So true Noreen and Alicia. Soooo many great experiences there and within Delaware Water Gap. Im sure that my Dad in heaven reading this. He has a great legacy within education and our family. Miss those innocent days at Thunder Mt. Every young person should go to a camp like that , we had many summers there.. thanks for keeping those memories alive.

    Posted on December 27th, 2016 at 12:45 pm

  20. jeanine hart o'brien Said,

    Also Alicia your kind words about my Dad brought tears to my eyes. He was so gentle and kind . He really cared about the kids actually any kid. A rare person I too am forever grateful to him for the legacy he left my family and his grandchildren. My gmail address is jao53hart if you want to talk.

    Posted on December 27th, 2016 at 12:55 pm

  21. Warren Dean Said,

    Wow. Happy to have found this site. I was also a ranger with the National Park Service. Worked with your husband Jeanine Hart O’Brien. I remember Jim, your dad and Charlie Gerth. One of those Charlies lived in the Gunn House further South on Mountain Road. My wife and I may have been at your engagement/wedding party at Bill Sanders home (Westbrook Bell). Can’t quite remember. It was a long time ago. Maybe it was Bill’s party that Jim and you were at. Also remember Chet from Thunder Mtn, although I had forgotten about him until I was reading the comments above.

    Posted on January 8th, 2017 at 11:07 am

  22. Warren Dean Said,

    Always wondered about the names of Thunder Mountain prior. Great to see the comment from Arlene Cohen and the name Hoofbeats Dude Ranch.

    Posted on January 8th, 2017 at 11:14 am

  23. Leah Said,

    So does anyone know if these buildings still exist?

    Posted on July 20th, 2017 at 10:32 am

  24. Warren Dean Said,

    I’m pretty all of the original buildings at Thunder Mountain are no longer there.

    Posted on September 27th, 2017 at 2:33 pm

  25. Warren Dean Said,

    I’m pretty sure all the original buildings at Thunder Mountain are gone. The buildings at Heron’s Nest still exist last I knew.

    Posted on September 27th, 2017 at 2:33 pm

  26. Jim Said,

    I remember working there in the early 80’s,YCC was a great experience..Wish there was a way to reunite with all my camp people…Chuck,Mary Walsh,Linda Sparacino.Mark aka Wango Tango,And all the others….Great Times…

    Posted on November 10th, 2017 at 12:00 pm

  27. Noreen Said,

    Wango bahaha. Greg from blairstown. Linda loner. Quinton. Liz sheesh. Maura. The Kim’s. Great memories.
    Cheat said on our first day. ” See these people? These strangers? They will be forever in your memories. Make loving memories. They will last forever. ” and 38 years later…. They are a part of me. Like when I hear Wango tango. Or rock lobster. Bahaha.
    Jim count me in on that reunion. Themrspatricke@gmail

    Posted on March 11th, 2018 at 9:42 am

  28. Glenn Said,

    Wonderful to remember back in the summer of ’79 at the YCC camp at Thunder Mountain. The experience was one that affected my life. Both Charlie Hart and Charlie Gerth as well as Chet were great mentors. What educators! Working at Millbrook Village, haying, Peters Valley Craft Fair, hauling cinder blocks for the masons, etc. Great times! Brought my family back to Millbrook Village Days (and soon grandsons) for visits in October. Sad the facility is gone but the memories wont disappear anytime soon.

    Posted on May 30th, 2018 at 1:30 pm

  29. David Douglass Said,

    I worked at the summer camp at Thunder Mountain for three summers (1972,73,74) while I was in college. Newton was running the program then, and in the Spring of 1972 I interviewed with Don D’Amato for a summer job as a lifeguard. He hired me, but by the time summer rolled around Don was gone (to Florida) and Charlie Gerth was running the program. Peter Daubner and Sandy were two of the other lifeguards that summer. Joe Cohen was one of the camp counselors. All of the original buildings were still standing then, including the two barns, and I slept in one of the wooden cabins up in the meadow at the end of the lake. We ate in the main house (and thats where Chester did the cooking). Unfortunately that house burned down later that year. The next summer (’73) we ate in a tent up by the pool. And by 1974 they had a big new metal building up at the top of the hill. Mary Vaughn was one of the lifeguards in ’73 and ’74. I loved being up on that ridge for those 3 summers. I liked the early mornings with the fog rising from the river. The sun soon burned off the fog and the days were hot, but it cooled off during those long summer evenings and the nights were full of stars. Working with the special ed. kids was great. Peter Mooney and Howard Nemeth were two that I remember well.

    Posted on June 28th, 2018 at 5:31 pm

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