Saturday, August 24, 2019

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Monson

Posted by Stu On December - 27 - 2008

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This southern New Hampshire ghost town was the first European inland settlement in the state. Built around 1737, Monson would not last very long; it died sometime in the 1770’s. Considered one of the most archaelogical significant sites in New England, its ruins have remained for the most part undisturbed for over 200 years.

Monson has the usual ghost town stuff – rock walls, cellar holes, a restored house, etc. However, there is also a sign indicating who each house belonged to, and some house sites even have a short bio on the person who lived there.

Monson was supposed to have been developed in 1998, but luckily local citizens fought to have it preserved.

Popularity: 8% [?]

Fries Mill

Posted by Stu On December - 27 - 2007

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Probably one of the least visited and least known ghost towns in southern New Jersey, Fries Mill can be found in the Manumuskin River Preserve. The “official” way to get to it involves a 1.25 mile hike, though it seems there’s a way for ATV’s and dirt bikes to get there as well (both of which are illegal in the preserve; be responsible and just hike to it).

I had a book signing in Vineland one weekend, and I knew it would be the only time for a long time I’d be in the area. So I woke up about 4 hours earlier than planned and hoped I’d have time to both hike the 2.5 mile round trip and find the ghost town. I had some trouble finding the beginning of the trail but I managed. I pretty much jogged the first half mile or so, trying to buy myself as much time as I could. About 20 minutes into my trek I came across this:

A fireplace right along the water. I would find out this was a bit of a distance away from anything else. Before hunting down the rest of the town, I made a small side trip to see a place known as the Blue Lagoon, which was only a few hundred feet through the woods.

Unlike the Blue Hole, this was actually blue. Well, after the first few feet anyway. I heard some ATV’s across the water so I hurried back through the woods so they wouldn’t come over my way.

Back on the path, I finally came across even more ruins of Fries Mill. I found the remains of 2 buildings this time, right next to each other.

Here’s a tip. See that spiky plant in the corner there? If you ever come across one of these while hiking, chances are good you’re near a ghost town or ruins of some sort.

Farther up the trail is a sign that gives some information on the town and has a map of its layout. Across from the sign are your run-of-the-mill cellar holes.

Popularity: 11% [?]

Dana

Posted by Stu On November - 27 - 2007

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Dana, along with 3 other towns – Prescott, Enfield, and Greenwich – was dissolved in 1938 when the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir was planned. The reservoir would have flooded these towns, so the government forced the residents to leave. While the other 3 towns are now underwater, much of Dana was not flooded; Dana Common was untouched. Today, several remnants of the town can still be found – foundations, streets, the fence posts for cemetery, etc. All graves were relocated before the flooding.

If you go to Dana, this road is all you’re going to see for a mile and a half; that’s how far Dana Common is from the nearest parking. At least it’s scenic, and there are plenty of foundations on the way.

When you finally reach Dana Common, a small monument greets you in the center:

“Site of Dana Common
1801-1938
To All Those Who
Sacrificed Their
Homes and Way
of Life
Erected by
Dana Reunion 1996”


The old cemetery’s fence posts.

Popularity: 6% [?]

Concrete City

Posted by Stu On October - 26 - 2007

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This is somewhere I’ve been meaning to get to for quite some time now. While going for some job interviews in the area, I found out it was just a few miles down the road. I looked for the historical marker on the side of the road and then found the trailhead nearby. The sign is actually a pretty good distance away from the place.

We really had no idea where to go, so we followed the main trail for a good distance, passing by several huge puddles. After a while I realized we had probably gone too far, and we began to backtrack. On the way back we decided to take a different trail. Just a few feet down it (after avoiding more pond-sized puddles), I saw this:

Then I saw them all. The path makes a loop. On the outside of the loop are approximately 20 nearly-identical 2-story concrete buildings, all facing the center of the circle. I was told the “courtyard” was once home to a pool and tennis court, among other things. Today, it is a paintball arena surrounded by tall weeds.

So what was this place? If the sign didn’t tip you off, these were homes built by local railroad companies for their coal miners. They didn’t last very long – built in 1911 and abandoned by 1924. As you can tell from the photos, the place is a popular place to play paintball.

Since they’re all virtually the same, we only entered a few. Some were in better shape than others. One had a big section of its top floor missing, and others are actually sinking into the ground.


The basements of the buildings were filled with trash.


One of the sinking houses.

The paintball arena set up in the center of town:


If I didn’t get $100 for it, I’d have probably done this with my old Dell too.

Popularity: 7% [?]

Amatol

Posted by Stu On December - 21 - 2006

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12/06
New pics 12/07

We visited Amatol in the spring, but for whatever reason I never got around to posting it.

There are 2 points of interest to the area’s history.

The first is the munitions plant similar to Belcoville. Amatol served the very brief purpose of supplying the army with munitions during the tail end of World War I. The town was built in a matter of months and was abandoned not too long afterward. Like Belco, once the war was over, there was no need to keep it running.

There isn’t much left of the town or plant; we did manage to find some noteworthy ruins, but there are rumors that more can be found deeper in the woods. I hope to head back someday and see if this is true; I’m sure it is.

The second note of niftiness is that the area served as a race track less than a decade after the town went kaput. For only 2 years, the 1.5 mile, wooden oval track, called the Atlantic City Speedway, was the area’s claim to fame. It managed to become more popular than the Indy 500, if only for a short time.
Today, nothing but the outline remains of the track. Walking down the path, you would just think it’s an unmaintained trail. But an aerial view shows differently. I took a screen capture from Google Earth:

You can walk the entire track, but parts of it are very overgrown. There are also lots of chiggers and ticks in the woods, so I recommend going when it’s cold. Also, watch where you go, because some of the woods are privately owned. The part where the town is, as far as I’m aware, fair game. And keep in mind this is a wildlife management area, so don’t get shot.

For more information or photos of either Amatol or the racetrack, check out this website.


Update – 12/07

These are photos I shot in November. I was right; there was a lot more to see than my initial trip. Sad part was I was only a few hundred feet away from it and somehow I missed it.

Popularity: 9% [?]

Gay City

Posted by Stu On October - 21 - 2006

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Curiously named Gay City was founded just before the 1800’s by families seeking religious freedom and was around for roughly 80 years until the Industrial Revolution and multiple fires killed it. This was the first stop of our ’06 New England trip, and to be honest I was expecting more. Similar to the Pine Barrens ghost towns, all we saw were stone walls, a few cellar holes, and the remains of the final incarnation of the paper mill (it burned down at least twice). There are supposedly a few grave stones too, but we weren’t able to find them.
There are stories of murders and hauntings attached to the ruins, but nothing interesting happened to us while we were there (it never does).

Overall, nothing spectacular, but it’s a very nice park to walk around, especially in the first week of October. I’d like to go back and find the graves sometime.

Popularity: 3% [?]

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Kindred Spirit Mailbox

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Mar-15-2014 I 1 COMMENT