Monday, December 16, 2019

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Toms River Blockhouse

Posted by Stu On January - 21 - 2006

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Don’t know why I didn’t put this up sooner; I took these pictures last year.

Just about anyone who passes through downtown Toms River has seen the small waterfront Huddy Park, with a few gazebos, a bridge, and…..a fort? There is a replica blockhouse, or small fort, of the original one that stood on the hill that is now Robbins Street. It’s not very large or complex – just 4 walls made of wood posts, spiked at the end. A few wooden cannons sit at the corners.
Not too many people are aware a battle took place here in 1782. Captain Joshua Huddy, high on the British and Loyalists’ hit list, was in charge of the fort. A group of about 80 British troops and Tories attacked the small village of Toms River; Huddy’s handful of men had no chance. The blockhouse and all of the town, save a house or 2, were burned to the ground. Huddy was taken to New York to be tried. He was found guilty of murdering a British officer even though they were well aware he didn’t commit the murder. He was hanged in Monmouth County’s Highlands shortly afterward.

Popularity: 4% [?]

Union Clay Works & Cemetery

Posted by Stu On November - 21 - 2005

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Clay Works pics from Spring ’05 & 11/05
Graves pics from 11/05

Next to nothing is left of Union Clay Works, which is well hidden in just about the middle of nowhere. Even more hidden is a tiny, tiny graveyard not far from the Works that Henry Charlton Beck briefly mentioned in Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey. The site of the Clay Works may have very little left, but the surrounding woods hide quite a few interesting treasures, such as cellar holes, remnants of other buildings, and several piles of terra cotta and bricks. Here and there you’ll find metal pipes sticking out of the ground.
Not a whole lot for thrill seekers, but for people appreciative of little known Pine Barrens history, the area around the Clay Works is worth exploring.

Finding the stuff around the Clay Works was nice, but what I really wanted to find was the cemetery. I did quite a bit research and made many trips to the area for over a year.

I’m saying this once, and only once – I’m not giving directions for this place to anyone. It’s far too fragile.

When Beck visited sometime in the 1930’s, there were 5 headstones, 2 of which he said were marked with “Jersey stone”. We saw 3 stones, one of which has crumbled. What’s interesting about these 3 stones is that they are made of clay. One is very cracked but still stands; if you so much as sneezed on it, it would probably shatter. Another stone that broke back in Beck’s time has since been put in a frame, and sections of it are still readable. To the side are 2 larger pieces of rock, which are the “slabs of Jersey stone” the author mentioned.

Front & back of the cracked stone.

Willie’s shattered stone.

“Gone but not forgotting”

Popularity: 5% [?]

Hollow Field Cemetery – aka “The Pet Cemetery”

Posted by Stu On October - 21 - 2005

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This was one of my obsessions. For years I heard about a pet cemetery hidden somewhere in the woods near Bamber Lake. I asked about it many times but nobody knew what I was asking about. I looked for it quite a few times at quite a few different places and always returned disappointed. Well, I finally found it; one of my more obsessive hunts is over.

The cemetery in reality is not a pet cemetery; it interred people during the 1800’s, including people from a nearby community that was known as Ten Mile Hollow. Very little identifies it as a graveyard today though. A large cross made of signposts is at its front. Around its perimeter are posts of where a fence used to be, some of which have wood wired to them. As for the graves themselves, no markers remain….there are several bits of broken markers among the area though. We didn’t see any names on any of the pieces. I found it strange that only the grass inside the posts was more than waist-high.
I don’t really know why this has been rumored to be a pet cemetery. My guess is because of the lack of headstones, or maybe due to its small size. I also heard a few people describe some of the graves being covered with piles of rocks, which may have also led to the idea that it was for pets. But we saw no piles of rocks.
A few foundations are supposed to be in the nearby woods as well, but we didn’t look for them this time. I was happy enough with finding a place that had eluded me for years.

Popularity: 10% [?]

Route 539 Painted Rock

Posted by Stu On July - 21 - 2005

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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.

Popularity: 6% [?]

“The Stinkhouse” – Abandoned Fish Factory

Posted by Stu On May - 20 - 2005

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Just offshore of Mystic Island is an island with an abandoned fish factory on it. Some people refer to it as “The Stinkhouse” because of the alleged stench coming from the island. A group of us, including William from It’s New Jersey, rented a small boat and headed out to the island. We saw some docks in front of the factory but couldn’t land at them because they were in too bad of shape. So we beached the boat and attempted to find a path to the factory. Upon landing, we noticed lots of pieces of cups and plates along the island’s shore. We still don’t know where they came from or why they’re there.
We tried hacking through a thicket, but I found a semi-path along the docks to the right side of the island. It was a dangerous path, and we were covered with gnats the entire way. We had to hack through the last 15 feet or so to reach the main building.

Dead horseshoe crabs covered with flies.

Approaching the building.

After finally getting to the factory, the bugs seemed to vanish. As we poked around inside, a big owl swooped down from another room and then flew out a hole in the roof. Ospreys are also abundant on the island. There is some graffiti inside, but not nearly as much as I was expecting. People have been here, but not too many.

This building was inaccessible due to it being surrounded by poison ivy.

Popularity: 5% [?]

Hut of The Gatherers – 2 Years Later

Posted by Stu On May - 20 - 2005

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Originally visited 6/03

I decided to go back to the hut to get some better photos and possibly talk with anyone who may be there. Well, after 2 years I was rusty with the directions, and we got lost for a good 20 minutes or so. We stumbled upon 2 kids who told us about an “underground hut”. I was confused by this but figured it was what I was looking for, so I followed them. We ended up having to cross the Wounded Heart Bridge that I found last time. Someone had nailed random planks together so you can get across the creek without having to go all the way around. I don’t know how we managed, but we got across the shaky thing. A ladder at the end got us up over the skeletal trestle.

Part of the bridge. It wasn’t very sturdy.

After crossing I realized we were right near where the Gatherers, um, gathered. Unfortunately, I was too late….the large stick house was no more. It’s been taken apart and stacked in large piles.

The meeting place for the Gatherers is no more. How long it’s been gone, I don’t know. Our 2 guides seemed to remember it but said it was gone a while. I asked them about the group of people who used the place, but they had no idea what we were talking about.
But that wasn’t the “underground hut” they were talking about. What they wanted to show me was something completely different.
A bit up the trail from the now non-existent teepee I saw this underground thing they wanted to show us…..a small one room structure with wood walls was built into the side of a hill. I don’t know who built it; I highly doubt kids did. Maybe it was something the Gatherers made, but I swear it wasn’t there the last time we visited. It had a roof that was hidden by pine needles. It even had a makeshift glass door, which was shattered. The 2 kids told us homeless people used to live in there, but people would harass them and throw rocks at the place. I doubt anyone lives there now, if they did at all. All I know is that there was a lot of porn in it…on the walls, on the floor, in the stream behind the building, etc.
The kids also told us about fires being set to scare the homeless off, as well as something about 5 people going missing back here and never being found. This is most likely all stories.

2 views of the roof.

One of our guides at the doorway in the side of the hill.

This was a disappointing yet interesting trip. I was upset to see the large hut was taken apart. I don’t know who did it, and I don’t even know if the Gatherers still exist. But I got to cross a scary, badly put-together bridge, and I found some sort of underground……whatever it is.

Popularity: 3% [?]

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Kindred Spirit Mailbox

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Profile Rock

Posted by Stu
Mar-15-2014 I 1 COMMENT