Archive for October, 2010

October 31, 2010

Trick or treat! and a diner.

Summit Diner

Happy Halloween! When you’re done being impressed by the Summit Diner, check out those adorable trick-or-treaters. It’s Luigi (from the Mario Brothers) and a carton of milk! Apparently lots of kids trick or treat through downtown Summit the day *before* Halloween.

But back to that snazzy Summit Diner! So according to Wikipedia (which we all know is a 100% reliable source), it’s a pre-war Art-Deco streamline style diner that was built in 1938. It was produced by the Jerry O’Mahony Diner Company during its heyday, and it’s one of only four O’Mahony diners still in use!

According to Yelp, the food is pretty okay too.

P.S. Did you know that New Jersey has more diners than anywhere else?

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October 30, 2010

Disrepair

An abandoned house!

The site has been part of the Watchung Reservation since the 1920s. Since the 1960s, Feltville has gone through various phases of repair and disrepair, becoming rental houses, outdoor education classrooms, and full residences.

Currently, three of the houses in the “deserted village” are being lived in. (Which has got to be annoying when visitors like me come along, amazed that there’s still a lace curtain hanging in the window! after all these years! and go to take a photo, and then notice there’s a light on inside, plus a stern-looking woman standing at the window. and oh yeah a teeny little sign in front announcing “private residence.” whoooops.)

Aaaaaand that concludes our Deserted Village of Feltville tour!

Reference:
Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Eds.). (n.d.) A Self-Guided Tour of the Deserted Village of Feltville/Glenside Park. [Pamphlet.]

(This is part of a series on the Deserted Village of Feltville. Click here for other Feltville posts.)

October 29, 2010

Abandoned

Yeah, so, turns out you're not supposed to do this. Whoops. Don't play on rotting porches, kids.

Starting in 1916, the local summer visitors of Glenside Park/Feltville started getting CARS, so they could go FAR during the summer—like to the Jersey Shore! (Side note: those—the summer visitors from New York or north Jersey, especially obnoxious ones—are what native Jersey Shore-ites call “bennies” or “shoobies.”)

And thus Glenside Park/Feltville went through a second bout of desertion.

Reference:
Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Eds.). (n.d.) A Self-Guided Tour of the Deserted Village of Feltville/Glenside Park. [Pamphlet.]

(This is part of a series on the Deserted Village of Feltville. Click here for other Feltville posts.)

October 28, 2010

Masker’s Barn

Masker's Barn

This is Masker’s Barn, built in 1882 (when Feltville was purchased and renamed to Glenside Park) for summer resort visitors from New York, Newark, and Orange. Horses and carriages were housed here so businessmen could have, in essence, a taxi service to the nearest New York-bound train station; their families stayed in Glenside Park/ Feltville to enjoy their summers. Sometimes they’d clear out the horses and hold dances in the barn!

(I will bet you they called at least one of them The Masker-ade. ‘Cos it’s Masker’s Barn, get it?! aaaaahahahahahah! No, seriously, I’ll bet they really did.)

It’s been listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places since 1980, and it’s been undergoing renovations ever since. Currently, the barn is undergoing a restoration/ rehabilitation effort, as stated on a couple large nearby signs. This may be in reference to its status as the unofficial headquarters for the Feltville Archeology Project (and Operation Archeology, a program for fifth-graders).

Reference:
Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Eds.). (n.d.) A Self-Guided Tour of the Deserted Village of Feltville/Glenside Park. [Pamphlet.]

(This is part of a series on the Deserted Village of Feltville. Click here for other Feltville posts.)

October 27, 2010

Archeology!

An Archeological Dig Site! or just some square holes

I think this is the foundation of David Felt’s summer house, but regardless, it’s one of the Operation Archeology initiatives in Feltville.

Students and professors from Montclair State University’s Center for Archeological Studies have excavated some pretty nifty stuff here (some of which is in display in the general store, when it’s open). There’s lots to find out!

a foundation? or...... no, yeah, I'm pretty sure that's a foundation.

For example, by excavating the privies, they discovered:
1. Residents mostly did their own hunting and fishing, rather than relying on livestock.
2. The class system of the village ran from east to west.
a. Felt lived in a “mansion” on the east side, where the privy was “constructed from cut and mortared sandstone blocks, and its vault remains pristinely intact today.” The west side had a privy with a wall that partly collapsed sometime in the 1800s and was never fixed, plus a vault of loose basalt, no mortar.
b. The west side privy had artifacts much older than any found in the east-side privy, indicating that it didn’t get cleaned out very much. (cough.)

Reference:
Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Eds.). (n.d.) A Self-Guided Tour of the Deserted Village of Feltville/Glenside Park. [Pamphlet.]

(This is part of a series on the Deserted Village of Feltville. Click here for other Feltville posts.)

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October 26, 2010

Feltville: THE BEGINNINGS.

(Adirondack posts not included)

David Felt, Unitarian Universalist and New York stationary businessman extraordinaire (famous for his marbleized ledger paper), purchased this land in 1844 (from the Willcocks and other early settlers) and built up the town of Feltville from 1845 to 1847. It included a mill, two dams to provide water power for the mill, surprisingly well-constructed privies (according to local archeologists), a church/ general store, and housing for mill workers.

Most of the existing houses were built in 1845 (without porches, dormers, and Adirondack railings, which were added when the town was converted to a resort in 1882). They’re standard suburban-sized houses nowadays, but back then, each one housed about four families (living separately, of course)!

Here’s a zinger: village residents—that is, Felt’s mill workers—were required to attend religious services each week on the second floor of the general store (hence “church/ general store”). They were “allowed to worship and practice religion in accordance with their own beliefs,” though… apparently Felt cycled a minister, priest, and rabbi to conduct the weekly service before finally hiring a generic non-denominational minister.

Reference:
Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Eds.). (n.d.) A Self-Guided Tour of the Deserted Village of Feltville/Glenside Park. [Pamphlet.]

(This is part of a series on the Deserted Village of Feltville. Click here for other Feltville posts.)

October 25, 2010

Cemetery

Cemetery for earliest settlers

This week, we’ll cover THE DESERTED VILLAGE OF FELTVILLE

…which isn’t half as spooky as it sounds.

This is the Feltville cemetery, within the Watchung Reservation. It’s a short hike from the church/store.

Only one of the five stones is original—the one for John Willcocks, who died on November 22, 1776. The other four stones were placed here in the 1960s, and none of them actually match up to the right body.

The Original.

There are thought to be about 24 bodies here from the first settlers (mid-1700s to mid-1800s, I’m guessing—the headstones have dates ranging from 1776 to 1802).

In 1736, Peter Willcocks was the first to settle in this immediate area (that is, what is now the Berkeley Heights portion of the Watchung Reservation). An Englishman from Long Island, he and his family (including his wife, Phebe [sic] Badgley Willcocks) began clearing the local forest. This set the scene for incoming settlers—who now had lumber AND farmland to settle. Brilliant!

Reference:
Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Eds.). (n.d.) A Self-Guided Tour of the Deserted Village of Feltville/Glenside Park. [Pamphlet.]

(This is part of a series on the Deserted Village of Feltville. Click here for other Feltville posts.)

October 24, 2010

Open road!

Streetshot!

This is for all the folks who think I’m crazy for choosing to live in the suburbs.

I work in New York, and it seems that commuting to the ‘burbs is something you do when you have a wife and kids, not when you’re young and single. Most of my coworkers live in Brooklyn.

But LOOK! This is a major road through New Providence! And it’s got trees! Open roads! Hardly any traffic! Trees! Grass! Trees!

Boy it’s nice to get out of the city! It’s totally worth the longer commute.

October 23, 2010

Recycle Flags Here

Retired U.S. Flags, Yo.

From the American Legion Post 433.

October 22, 2010

Bleachers

Fence me baby

Bleachers overlooking a softball field in a park. Yyyyyep.

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