Friday, April 3, 2020

Mighty Joe

Posted by Stu On September - 26 - 2012

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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.


The sign says it all.



Popularity: 10% [?]

Sheppton Mine Disaster Site

Posted by Stu On January - 24 - 2012

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In August of 1963, three miners were stuck 330 feet below the ground when the Sheppton mine caved in.  Two of the miners stuck together and waited two weeks for rescue, initially eating tree bark and sucking water out of the bark for survival.  Within a week, holes were drilled to them that allowed air, food, water, and the beginnings of a rescue.  One miner, Louis Bova, was never seen again, despite making contact with his two coworkers, and his body was never recovered.

I first heard about the Sheppton mine disaster from a principal in a nearby school where I was doing some observation hours.  I was told a memorial could be found along a main road in Sheppton.  It surprised me that I had never heard of this mine disaster before, and it was more confusing that there was little information regarding its location.  I was determined to find it on my own, so one day in May 2011 I decided to make a small trip out of it; in addition I decided to check out and geocache in a few surrounding towns I had never been to before:  Sheppton, Oneida, and Brandonville.

Sheppton and Oneida are right next to each other, and each is just a few blocks long; the mine site was between the two towns.  I drove around and found no roadside monuments.  Sheppton actually reminded me of Children of the Corn, to be honest; most of the buildings on the main street are vacant, and I saw nothing but groups of kids walking around.  Down one road, however, I saw the following sign, and I figured that was a good starting point:


I parked near this sign and simply started roaming the field behind it.  For a little while there was a path, but it served little good since it went right into a pond:


I walked across a rocky stream because I thought I saw another trail to my side:


Following this path a bit, I saw something off in the distance:



This monument was certainly not just off a main road, but rather a good distance off a back road.  Still found it all by myself.  It’s much more a grave than a memorial for a mine disaster, however.  It’s dedicated to Louis Bova, the miner who could not be found.



Popularity: 98% [?]

Henry Hudson Springs

Posted by Stu On March - 21 - 2011

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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?

Part of the Henry Hudson Trail runs behind the spring site.

Can you drink water from it?  The town says no, but other people say otherwise…


Popularity: 10% [?]

Alexander Hamilton/Aaron Burr Duel Site

Posted by Stu On March - 21 - 2011

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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.





Popularity: 100% [?]

Plymouth Rock

Posted by Stu On December - 28 - 2009

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Plymouth Rock, one of the oldest tourist attractions in the US, is just that – a rock.  Said to be where the Pilgrims first set foot in the New World, Plymouth is more of an ideal than an actual physical place, mostly because we aren’t 100% sure of the exact spot where the Pilgrims first touched ground.  This rock is really just a section of a larger one; this portion was cut off quite some time ago and has been moved around numerous times before being placed on the beach in Plymouth’s port.
And for the record, the Pilgrims landed in Provincetown first, not Plymouth.


The Rock is the center of this monument, right at the shore.  It’s a decent drop down to it, and all the sides are gated to deter souvenir hunters from chipping off parts of it.


As a friend told me before I left for my trip, “it’s just a rock.”  It sure is, and is probably more based in folklore than reality, but it’s still symbolic and one of the original pieces of Americana.


Popularity: 6% [?]

Jim Thorpe Memorial

Posted by Stu On April - 15 - 2009

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I often looked at maps and wondered why there was a town named Jim Thorpe and just who the guy was. Now that I live only about 20 minutes away from the town, I decided to find out.
Turns out Jim Thorpe was a very prominent athlete in the early part of the 20th century, so prominent that Sweden’s King Gustav V said to Mr. Thorpe at the 1912 Summer Olympics, “You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world.”

Jim Thorpe died in 1953. Also during this time, the town of Mauch Chunk, PA, was struggling to attract tourists. A deal was struck between the town and Thorpe’s widow. Jim’s remains were moved to Mauch Chunk and a memorial was built for him. In addition, Mauch Chunk was renamed to Jim Thorpe.
There has been controversy over the years because some of his descendants and his home state, Oklahoma, want his remains sent back home.

Jim Thorpe (the man) had an impressive athletic career involving numerous sports, Olympic titles, controversy, and stripping of said titles, among other things. I’m not going to get into all of that here; look it up if you’re interested. Let’s get on to the memorial.

The area of Jim Thorpe’s memorial is decent-sized, but it looks neglected. Some of the signs are showing wear, and I don’t know how popular the spot was in the past, but I’ve driven by it numerous times since my initial visit and have only ever seen one other person there. Jim’s grave is in the middle, and to its sides are a statue of him and many signs telling his history and achievements.

I’m not sure just how effective it’s been as a tourist attraction (from the looks of it not much), but it’s still a quirky roadside attraction.

Popularity: 8% [?]

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