Archive for the ‘Roadside’ Category

The Dinosaurs of Alpha

The G J Oliver Company was founded in 1960, and manufactures and designs lube oil systems, as well as fabricates steel for industrial use. The large metal dinosaurs on their back lawn and in front of the offices are the creation of Woody Hauser, one of the company employees. They were created at the request of the owner, whose grandkids love dinosaurs.

During slow periods at work, Hauser would design and fabricate these steel beasts, working from rubber toy dinosaurs given to him by Mr Oliver. Hauser estimates each dinosaur took roughly 6-9 months to design, build and erect. When he is done building one, he begins work on another, but only during slow periods at work. How many will he end up building? Hauser couldn’t say.

You can see the dinosaurs easily from the road outside the facility. Just find Industrial Drive in Alpha and head towards the end. They are on company property and are visible from the road.

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Another circle bites the dust in NJ

NJ’s circles being phased out, which is a shame cause the traffic circle originated in NJ. And I know some folks loathe them, but when done properly they are more efficient then a traffic light. Generally the bigger they are, the more effective they are allowing for a smooth flow of traffic. This of course takes up a larger amount of real estate, but it’s long sweeping ramps on the entrances and exits to the NJ Turnpike that helped make it the envy of toll road designers worldwide because it made for greater safety. Yeah, yeah, imagine that, something done in Jersey that folks thought was good!

The only problem is knowing whether the people in the circle have the right of way or the people coming into the circle have the right of way. Generally speaking, in north jersey it’s people in the circle, and in south jersey it’s the other way around. And I don’t think either way is necesarily right, I think it depends on the road configuration.

Old ESSO station in WV

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Located in kingwood, WV is an old ESSO gas station where old gas station memorabilia is displayed out in the open. Apparently the owner is a collector of gas station artifacts, judging by a sign in the window seeking such items. The Esso brand is the international brand name for ExxonMobil and originated when it was known as the Standard OIl company (Esso is the phonetic of their initials, S O). In 1972 the ESSO brand was largely converted to the ExxonMobile name, but in the rest of the world it remains the brand name for ExxonMobile.

The 1925 Rockport train crash

20 yards from a non-descript railroad crossing in Rockport, NJ is a memorial to one of the worst train crashes in NJ history. On the evening of June 15 and thoughout the next morning, the Hackettstown area was hit by a ferocious thunderstorm. At approximately 10 p.m., lightning struck a lumber yard in Hackettstown. The ensuing fire consumed the entire lumber yard. Shortly after midnight, heavy rain sent debris down a steep hill where the rock dirt and tree branches accumulated in the Rockport Crossing, where the road crossed the Lackawanna’s Phillipsburg Branch.

At 2:24 AM a train full of German passengers traveling from Chicago, Illinois to Hoboken, New Jersey came down the rail line. This was an annual trip organized for German Americans, who would travel to Hoboken and board a steamship for Europe. The train stopped at Niagara Falls, then Binghamton, NY and Scranton, PA before heading thru the Poconos, crossing the Delaware headed for Hoboken. The engine hit the clogged flangeways at the crossing and derailed the trucks to the right. The engine continued down the track for 198 feet before it derailed entirely. the cars behind it detatched from each other and the passenger car came to rest on top of the boiler. The steam fittings ripped open and superheated steam sprayed into the windows of the passenger cars above and beside. Many passengers were burned to death by the steam.

Despite the fire that was raging across town, emergency personnel soon arrived on the horrible scene. Many of those who had survived the wreck either died from the fire and steam or died soon afterwards. The injured were taken via rescue trains to hospitals Easton, Pennsylvania; Phillipsburg, New Jersey; Dover, New Jersey; and Morristown, New Jersey, as Hackettstown did not as yet have a hospital. Many passengers en route to the hospital or in the days afterwards. A more horrific accident was prevented when watchman a watchman in hackettstown heard the whistle blow at the Hazen road crossing (where the accident happened) but did not hear a whistle at what would have been the next crossing. Fearing the worst he held up a westbound freight train that was about to pass thru the area.

A joint investigation by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) and the New Jersey Board of Public Utility Commissioners found that there was no blame to be apportioned and that the accident had been caused by an Act of God. It is unclear exactly how many passengers died in the accident. It is estimated that between 47-50 people died as a result of the accident. 100 survivors boarded the steamship for Germany the following morning.

A small garden and a brass plaque, laid on the 70th anniversary of the wreck, commemorates the crash site.

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Gods Ark of Safety, Frostburg, MD

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While driving along Route 68 in rural Maryland you might see this large partially constructed building, its steel beams connected to one another but never finished, and you might keep on driving not even giving it another thought. “Just another unfinished building” you might think as you continue on west towards Virginia or West Virginia or points beyond. But you’d be wrong. It isn’t an unfinished building, it’s an unfinished ark, as in the Noah’s Ark. In 1974 Pastor Richard Greene proclaimed that Jesus told him to build an ark. The ark would be a full size replica of the original Ark constructed by Noah before the biblical floods. 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high it would serve as church and a conference center to help- meet the needs of the church and the community at large. Donations were collected but construction did not begin until 1999. 13 years later the project appears to have stalled as donations have slowed considerably. Whether it will be finished is unclear as the church seems unfazed by this fact. They believe it has drawn attention to the church and helped shine a light on the teachings of God and is a reminder that one day Jesus will return, taking his followers with him to heaven.

You can learn more by visiting their website at http://www.godsark.org. You can visit the ark at 18606 Cherry Lane, Frostburg, MD, and it is viewable from Highway 68 just after exit 34

a well placed telephone pole

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The Morse family plot

Cemeteries are for most of us a communal place. Our loved ones are laid to rest alongside hundreds of others, row upon row of headstones. On certain holidays you will find many decorated with wreathes or flowers as surviving family members pay their respects in a manner that is private and personal, yet also on public display. It was not always like this. Many times families would bury their dead in plots on their own property. As these (often large) properties were sold or as parts were sold off, eventually these family burial plots would find themselves hemmed in by development both commercial and residential. Sometimes when the last pieces of the family estate are sold, the dead would be disinterred and moved to some nearby cemetery. In some cases though, the plot remains untouched. One example would be the Mary Ellis grave in the middle of the parking lot of an AMC movie theater.

The Morse graves are another example. The Morse family was one of 80 colonists who, though a combination of grants and sales by local indians came to own nearly 1 million acres in what would now be the Careteret-Linden-Iselin area. They settled in the area in the late 1600’s 200 years later they still owned several hundred acres. and owned several hundred acres of land. John Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil decided that the Morse land would make an excellent site for his new refinery. The land was purchased in 1907 and was cleared with the exception of the family burial plot. By 1910 the faciliy was produced crude oil and 100 years later Standard Oil was broken up by the Sherman AntiTrust Act and the Bayvway Facilities are owned by Exxon. Despite changing hands and name several times, the Morse Plot has never been disturbed. Surrounded by a tall, large hedge it is highly sheltered, rendering it nearly invisible to the people who drive on Lower Rd and Stiles Rd. There are three headstones as well as a marker that tells some of the history behind the Morse family. There is a small ball park across the street where people walk their dogs and watch their kids play baseball. I venture few if any of them known that they are doing so a few dozen yards from the graves of some of the earliest European settlers to live in America….

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dozens of dead deer dumped alongside 287 exit

Piles of dead deer line exit ramp off 287 near Montville. At least four piles of deer carcasses (totally 24+ dead bodies) have been found recently. They believe they were dumped there over a period of more then 6 months.

People need to get a grip

The Cape May cops want the mystery knitter to come forward, as some folks are concerned about god knows what. It’s folks w/their panties in a bunch that make everyone else miserable. I realize the cops aren’t going on and on and ripped them down and threatening arrest or anything but jeez, what’s wrong w/a little whimsey in our lives.

It’s a mystery. It’s amusing. Let’s enjoy it, M’k?

Firs there was the midnight walker… now the Midnight … Knitter?

Someone has been knitting cozies on signs and trees in West Cape May. understand this isn’t knitting something and placing it on a tree or sign… this was knitted *around* the signs and trees. Even if they did 99% of the work beforehand, they’d still have to knit the seam together at the spot. In the middle of the night.