The Wantage Pole

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The Titsworth Fort on Route 23 in Wantage, just north of Sussex Borough, was the original site of the landmark totem pole. The home of the first permanent settler, William Titsworth, was a one and a half story rubble stone house that doubled as a Minisink fort to provide protection from the Native Americans until 1781.

Shortly prior to 1928 Peter Hendricks erected a totem pole in the hopes to attract customers on their way to the new High Point State Park. The original pole was destroyed in a car crash in 2002 which killed 3 people. Due to it’s history, local residents, businesses, teachers, and students worked together to recreate the totem pole. The new pole is 20 feet tall and features the profiles of a Native American Chief, Native American Woman, Blue Heron, and a Tree Frog.

I believe it’s located at the intersaection of Lake Wallkill Rd & Bassetts Bridge Rd but I am not 100% sure,

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Emily Graves on January 27, 2017 at 8:57 PM

    Please, please, please. Does anyone know if it was on the northbound or southbound side????

    Reply

  2. Posted by Jack Rescoe on January 19, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Hi again from Portland, Oregon. Good to see there’s still interest in the old Titsworth fort and “Wantage Pole” that stood by the road (Rte 23) in front of the fort. One thing nobody mentions that I’ve thought about is I’m pretty certain that the old totem pole was a twentieth century creation by somebody with a sense of humor. The old house is the legitimate piece of New Jersey’s earliest history, with the year 1712 and an Indian scuffle at the house. I read that in some old book of Jersey history that I’d gotten my hands on in the 1940’s. I was only about ten years old when my interest in this was at its peak. I’m now 70. That old pole was made of concrete or plaster of paris laid on a mesh frame-I’m pretty certain; so it wasn’t all that old.

    Reply

  3. Posted by joellen on January 19, 2012 at 5:41 AM

    I was wondering if its the same titsworth in my family william berry was married to an emma e titsworth and she would be mygreat great grandmother I was told that she was native american but i dont know that for sure the sliker family is very big and cover many areas in a few states hulda berry william and emma ‘s daughter married william isaac sliker thats my great grandfather sussex county where I grew up also and I remember all my life seeing that totem pole I wondered who made it but its gone now I heard it was taken and preserved but who know for sure any info on emma e and william berry would be wonderful I dont know the parents of either. thanks injunbabe2@yahoo.com

    Reply

  4. Posted by joellen on January 19, 2012 at 5:38 AM

    I was wondering if its the same titsworth in my family william berry was married to an emma e titsworth and she would be mygreat great grandmother I was told that she was native american but i dont know that for sure the sliker family is very big and cover many areas in a few states hulda berry william and emma ‘s daughter married william isaac sliker thats my great grandfather sussex county where I grew up also and I remember all my life seeing that stone totem pole I wondered who made it but its gone now I heard it was taken and preserved but who know for sure any info on emma e and william berry would be wonderful I dont know the parents of either. thanks injunbabe2@yahoo.com

    Reply

  5. Posted by george irving lamb on April 18, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    my grand mother was mary elizabeth titsworth.she married irving lamb and they lived in wantage on route 23.my aunt emma was born there ans always urged me to go see the sites.i never did until it was to late.when i finally got up there i saw the old clap board church and the cemetery where many of my relatives are buried.i believe william titsworth built a grismill there.i know the church is open one sunday in september

    Reply

  6. Posted by Jack Rescoe on April 14, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Hello once again from Portland, Oregon. It is amazing how the memory of the Titsworth fort just stays with a person. It must be 65 years since I first saw that totem pole out in front of the old fort (house). And it was a tiny stone & rubble house with a tiny “living room” and equally tiny fireplace. I watched the place deteriorate over the years from 1945 to about 1960. Vandals seemed drawn to it. I’m surprised to read here that the town of Wantage has its municipal building on the site. I distinctly remember the year 1712 being cited in some long-ago reading of mine as the year of some Indian hostilities at the site.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Rose-Mary Lane on April 14, 2011 at 12:56 AM

    This is my family’s and it pains me that state that it was in and it hard for me to see it now in a new place I was very young when I last saw it and now the only original view I have of it is a picture of my grandfather standing next to it, he is now long gone on to a better place and I now live in Tennessee, Its been ten years since I’ve been to New York and hoping to plan a visit with my children and husband so they can see where I come from and hope they can see the pole as it stands today and I really appreciate what has been done to try and restore a part of my family history. So thank you very much.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Jack Rescoe on July 21, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    As a youngster, my parents and I stopped several times in the late 1940’s at the Titsworth Fort. We knew it as the Minisink totem pole house. I read long ago that the fort was actually the site of a siege by Lenape braves in 1712. I have no idea who built it or when. It was unoccupied whenever I visited. It was wide open and completely trashed in the 1950s. I’ve lived in Oregon now for almost thirty years.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Joe Moor on March 25, 2009 at 10:19 PM

    Nice article, just to clarify. The new pole is at the intersection of State Route 23 and Brown Road on the Wantage Municipal Building Property (approx 41°14’29.41″N 74°37’25.83″W)

    Reply

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