Archive for ‘Springfield’

February 24, 2013

Lying on the ground

A rail, wheee

Confession: I haven’t been out shooting much since Hurricane Sandy. It’s seemed pointless. And now that winter’s upon us, well, everything’s dead and ugly in the winter, and therefore winter photography requires more creativity and thinking outside the box than I’m inclined to do at the moment.

“So why, then,” you ask, “do you keep assaulting us with lousy photos and halfhearted posts? Why not just stop blogging, or at least take a break?”

“Because,” I reply, “I’ve always been prone to unmotivated lethargy. It’s the whole reason I started this photoblog in the first place. I’m supposed to force myself to get out and take photos when I don’t feel like doing it. That’s the whole point. And if I stop, I know myself, I’ll never start it back up again. Better to push through!”

Usually, this kind of mopeyness resolves itself within a month or two; I’ll admit this has gone on longer than I should’ve let it. (And don’t worry, the rest of my life is fine— it’s only my interest in photography that’s in a bit of a lull.)

I bring this up now mostly to explain why all my photos this week are going to be outdated and ugly (again)— I didn’t get out to shoot at all this weekend (again). This here is a detail of the abandoned Rahway Valley Railroad.

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January 18, 2013


I love a good curve!

Curlicues and spirals and whorls and Beziers: Nature being awesome.

January 16, 2013

Off-roading at Briant Park

Trickle trickle trickle

I keep stumbling upon delightful little waterfalls on dreadfully overcast days.

Mostly it’s just been dreadfully overcast recently, but man, why’d I bother asking for a ND filter for Christmas if the weather never lets me try it out?

The photo above was just 2 seconds— I wanted to open up the aperture to try to force some depth of field, but I don’t think there was a lot of depth to be forced.

The photo below was a 10-second exposure. Ten whole seconds! I love that my camera can do that!

A 10-second exposure! How awesome is that!

Also, note to self: there’s no point in having a functional tripod if you NEVER BRING IT WITH YOU. Silly Josy.

January 12, 2013

The abandoned Rahway Valley Railroad: Appendix A

When did you say the next train comes through here?

Last year, I had a brief obsession with trying to hunt down the abandoned tracks of the Rahway Valley Railroad (which used to connect two still-existing commuter rail lines). As it turns out, I didn’t need to spend nearly so much time worrying about trespassing, or how to get to the tracks.

There’s a well-marked built-up footpath from Summit’s Briant Park bike path to the railroad tracks, right in the back of the park. The tracks are about ten feet from the path.

Map of Briant Park, Hidden Valley Park/ Houdaille Quarry, and the Rahway Valley Railroad right-of-way

See, now, had I figured that out earlier, it would’ve made for some much easier explorations. But where would the fun be in that?

April 23, 2012

The littlest park

Can you throw them over your shoulder, like a Continental soldier? Do your ears hang low?

This statue in Springfield of a Continental soldier has the distinction of standing on the smallest state park in New Jersey. How cool is that!

…It’s almost the sort of thing they’d make a sitcom episode about!

April 18, 2012


It's a clock in Patriot Park! It's a gas mask! It's something.

Patriot Park (in Springfield) is a small lot of grass on the corner of Wabeno and Springfield Avenues. Apparently the park was only established last June! This is its clock.

…OR IS IT A STEAMPUNK GAS MASK? Can you see it?! With its clockwork goggles and long straight nose-pole? See it? Maybe? No, I’m probably just crazy.

April 17, 2012

Library glass

Pretty glass in the Springfield Public Library!

The Springfield Library [website] has a meeting room with some very lovely windows!

I like context photos. I think they help give things context. As only a context photo can do.

April 12, 2012


The Cannon Ball House in Springfield, NJ!

The Cannon Ball House in Springfield was:

  • Built in either 1741 or 1761 (the second date is currently favored) by Dr. Jonathan Dayton
  • Originally a farmstead
  • Used as a hospital by the British during the Battle of Springfield in 1780
  • Pierced by a cannonball in its west wall during the Battle of Springfield (hence the name “Cannon Ball House”)
  • Operated as a tavern, briefly
  • A residence again, for many many years
  • The home of the Springfield Historical Society (and still is, ever since 1953)
  • Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 (as the Hutchings Homestead)

Here’s what it looked like in the early 1900s:
Springfield NJ Cannon Ball House, circa 1900


In case you’re wondering why I keep misspelling “cannonball,” it’s because I’m using the spelling on the sign out front.

Cannon Ball House, see, it says so right there.


Also in case you’re wondering, two of my references were bronze plaques nailed near the front door:


Just to confuse things, there’s another historical Osborne Cannonball House in nearby Scotch Plains (also Union County), which was ALSO built c.1760, and ALSO pierced by a cannonball during the Revolutionary War. This is NOT that house.



New Jersey State Chapter: Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America. (1957). “The Cannonball House.” (Sign marker). Documented April 2012.

Sanfranman59. (Last edit April 3, 2012). “National Register of Historic Places listings in Union County, New Jersey.” Wikipedia.,_New_Jersey.

Turner, J. and Koles, R.T. (2004). Images of America: Springfield. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738536180.

United States Department of the Interior (n.d.). “National Register of Historic Places.” (Sign marker). Documented April 2012.

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).


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.)



(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.

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