Archive for ‘Hidden Valley Park’

April 11, 2012

Abandoned chorister

Just hangin' out. You know.

Just, y’know, a choir boy on the side of the road.

At the church I used to go to, this is almost identically the outfit that the kindergarten choir had to wear, right down to the big black bow. We always pitied them.

April 9, 2012

Lake house

It is a red house on a lake. Come on, what do you want from me, a song and dance?

When Union County purchased the land for Hidden Valley Park, apparently there were some residents living there. Union County probably said, “Hey, we’re trying to build a park here, why don’t we buy your land from you, that’d be great” and the residents said, “WTF? Hell no!”

So there is a resident-shaped hole in Hidden Valley Park, with all kinds of “NO TRESPASSING” “PRIVATE PROPERTY” “NO FISHING” signs all over the place, presumably to dissuade curious hikers (like me) from skulking about and investigating this mysterious house on the lake.

EDIT, 8/31/12: I’ve just discovered— I think this is the Sayre Homestead, and it’s on the National Register of Historic Places!

April 4, 2012

The abandoned Rahway Valley Railroad: Part 3

Success!!! The Rahway Valley Rails!

You may or may not remember that I went hunting for the Rahway Valley Railroad a few weeks ago (as I mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2 of this saga).

To recap, the Rahway Valley Railroad was a short set of tracks that shuttled between the modern-day Morris & Essex line and Raritan Valley line. It was formed in 1904 and closed in 1992 after a long decline.

Rahway Valley Railroad, shown in context of modern NJTransit lines

Morris & Essex in green; Raritan Valley in orange; Rahway Valley (defunct) in pink

 

When I explored a few weeks ago, I did not succeed in finding the tracks.

But this week, I took a roundabout route, all the way through the long Hidden Valley Park (which lies adjacent to the area of interest, and it is an official Union County Park and therefore legal for me to traverse. Look, they publish a PDF map and everything, it’s got to be okay).

Success!

Incidentally, now that I’ve traveled the path, if I were to do it again, I’d start behind the Knights of Columbus; there’s a sort of a trail head behind their parking lot, which is much closer to the tracks. I’d also bring a friend; I got a really creepy vibe from those woods. (No human remains [that I saw], don’t worry.)

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(This is part 3 in a series of posts on the Rahway Valley Railroad. Click here for Part 1, or click here for Part 2.

March 8, 2012

The abandoned Rahway Valley Railroad: Part 2

At the top of the embankment... a service road. Not a rail in sight!

As I mentioned yesterday, the Rahway Valley Railroad operated only between Summit and Roselle Park, connecting the Morris & Essex Line to the Raritan Valley Line. It was formed in 1904 and finally closed in 1992 after a long decline.

Rahway Valley Railroad, shown in context of modern NJTransit lines

Morris & Essex in green; Raritan Valley in orange; Rahway Valley (defunct) in pink

But there are still remnants of it lying about.

Although the majority of those remnants (in Summit, anyway) are secured behind fences with daunting “NO TRESPASSING” signs, I did find an unofficial entrance near the Summit chapter of the Knights of Columbus. But after climbing to the top of the embankment (which I was SO SURE must have been for the railroad), all I found was a maintenance road, as seen in the top photo. No rail tracks, and it’s probably too curvy to be repaved tracks.

According to an old map, that area apparently used to be a quarry.

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After I got home and compared aerial photos to an old map of the region, I discovered that apparently I’d been walking all over the former railroad at the base of the embankment. If there are any tracks still there, they’re apparently either buried or so far off the beaten path as to be invisible.

 

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For more information (and for where I got my sources), here are some links:

Cunningham, J.T.* (October 1950). “New Jersey’s Streak o’ Rust.” Trains Magazine. http://trainsarefun.com/rvrr/streakofrust.htm.

King, R.J. (2009). “Rahway Valley Railroad History.” Trains are Fun {personal website}. http://trainsarefun.com/rvrr/rvrrhistory.htm#pass%20history and (to a lesser extent) http://www.trainsarefun.com/rvrr/rvrr.htm.

Wikipedia. (2012, last edit). “Rahway Valley Railroad.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rahway_Valley_Railroad.

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(This is part 2 in a series of posts on the Rahway Valley Railroad. Click here for Part 1, or click here for Part 3.)

March 6, 2012

Glasses on a chain-link fence

"Glasses on a Fence." It's like a movie title or something.

No idea what the story behind this is.

I’d prefer to ignore Occam’s Razor and instead believe it’s some crazy explanation involving the Spectacle Goblins, who mischievously steal people’s glasses in the night and leave them in strange places. The Spectacle Goblins are in fact an offshoot sect of the Sock Goblins, who are best known for stealing socks from the dryer.

But this here is clearly not the work of Sock Goblins.

March 4, 2012

Pond in the ruins

Pond in the ruins. Do you see the duck?

I think this circular pond used to be the foundation of some structure, but it sure isn’t anymore.

It was in an area where I probably wasn’t supposed to be, near the remains of the Rahway Valley Railroad), and I can’t really find any information on this particular landmark.

FYI, this is what it looks like from above:
Map of this pond. See, it really is circular!

 

It’s also apparently in Springfield. I thought I was still in Summit until I checked a map just now.

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