Archive for the ‘Nazi’s’ Category

Bill Ervolino seeks the Iron Door

I’ve visited the Iron Door a few times. I actually suggested the idea to him but didn’t go with him because he’d already gone to the jet in the woods with me. His editors wouldn’t have gone for another trip with the same guide, so I suggested Brian Snat and voila. Another expedition for the intrepid Record writer.

Advertisements

Federal Hill

irondoor2

Federal Hill has a very extensive history that goes back all the way to the Revolutionary War. Unfortunately its future is in peril. Located in Bloomingdale near Route 287 it provides an excellent view for miles around, making it a prime target for real estate developers.

MUTINY ON FEDERAL HILL

In January 1781, General Washington was advised by a Commander that a mutiny was being planned. Washington replied that the “army is ruined” if the mutiny succeeds. He ordered the commander to quell the mutiny by asking those in question to surrender, and to execute them if they refuse. At Federal Hill, the potential mutineers were surrounded, the two most vocal leaders executed, and the remaining men were ordered to surrender. “The spirit of mutiny seems to have completely subsided and have given place to a genuine repentance.” Ya think?

The area lay quiet for 150 years until 1917 when an ammo dump was established at the base of Federal Hill for the purpose of storing ammo for use in WWI. Stored in a closet (not much more then a small cave in the hillside), the foundation of the building can still be seen today on the top of the southern hill.

CAMP BERGWALD

Not long after this the area was settled by Germans who started a Bund Camp called Bergwald. (Bund means German society or Federation, I’ve heard it translated to mean both things so I’m not sure which is correct) In NJ during WWII there were over 100,000 German Americans in NJ, making them the largest ethnic group in the state next to Italians. Most did not support the behavior the Nazi’s, but a small following did and in the mid 30’s they establish a Camp at Federal Hill dedicated to the Nazi cause.

Fritz Kuhn was the leader of the Camp, having been picked by Hitler himself, and he secured funding for the camp from Germany. There were several camps in NJ, the largest being in Andover. The camps were a place where Germans could sing German songs, speak German, & discuss German issues without fear of being observed by others. Although the Camps maintained a pro-peace & pro-American attitude their true beliefs were not easily concealed and eventually locals began complaining about the camps.

The Camps toned down their public rhetoric, but still gave fascists salutes and marched around in uniforms with swastikas. Eventually scandals & legal problems began giving the Camps problems as well. Andover lost its liquor license after serving liquor to minors. One leader was accused of rape & molestation. By 1939 Jewish group and even Germans were protesting the presence of the Camps. In 1940 Kuhn was convicted of grand larceny for stealing money from the Bund Treasury.

Eventually the Camp was on the verge of collapse so they did what any modern day corporation would do: they tried a merger. They invited the KKK to join them for a rally, hoping to unite with their fellow racists against the mongrels they both hated. This so incensed the locals that they attacked the camp, causing the camp leaders to call the police for protection. Things began getting really ugly when terrorist attacks began, including an explosion at the Hercules Powder Company which killed almost 50 people. By 1941 we were fully participating in WWII and Nazi’s were officially enemies of the state. The IRS had been going after the Camp for tax evasion, but once we joined the war, the camp was doomed to die. The Camp at Nordland (Andover) now stand within Hillside Park.

RUMORS AND ARTIFACTS

There are rumors of lost artifacts and hidden things to this day. The Iron Door and the remnants of the Ammo Building & Bund Camp buildings are an easy find. But a surveying party allegedly found a brass cannon. How old it was is unknown but most likely it would date back to the revolutionary times. The surveyors left it there intending to return and retrieve it but were unable to locate it again.

There also is an odd carving, which appears to be a grave marker (possibly) as it looks to have been cut professionally into the rock face, it lists several names & dates, but it doesn’t say why the inscription was carved. Many artifacts have been found here including bullets and weapons dating back to revolutionary days, as well as remnants of the Bergwald Camp. When I explored, I found the remains of a rusted bunk bed.

buildingside

remainssmall

fedpickup

tressle

rowstones

irondoor

irondoorinsideout

Clinton Road

Clinton Road is the most legendary road in all NJ folklore. This 8 mile long road has no street lights and no cross roads for the majority of it’s path thru the woods of West Milford. There are so many stories about Clinton Road where does one even begin? Theres a ghost that will cause you to crash at Dead Man’s Curve. Cross Castle is was haunted. There are nazi’s in the woods. Also the KKK and witches. And rabid dogs. And let’s not forget that if you driving late at night you will be chased by a black pick up truck. To truly appreciate the area, read the Weird NJ page on it.

All the urban legends aside, there are some things that are true. Clinton Road is home to one of the last remaining Iron smelting furnaces from the colonial era. Surrounded by a fence (with gaping holes in it) it’s a relic from 200 years ago. It is tall, and it is creepy as hell. When I ducked inside the structure, I got the distinct feeling of entering a huge gaping maw, as the rocks that made the opening were smaller, numerous & of varied colors, giving the impression of a mouth of teeth….

furnacefence

furnacemouth

furnaceblackhole

Photo submitted by jerry, see his post below

clintonsign

The black pick up truck of Clinton Road

One of the greatest urban legends of Clinton Road is that you will be chased by a black pick up truck if you drive down it late at night. One weekend I drove down Clinton Road and I told the passenger in my car of the legend of the black pick up truck. She thought it was a big joke. “Black pickups trucks?” she said as she laughed. “What imaginations people have!” The day was mostly sunny and nothing terribly scary occurred while we drove the length of Clinton Rd, but a black pickup truck DID appear behind us. She thought this was hysterically funny so she took pictures.

rearviewmirror

pickupquick

pickup

pickuptimes2

So what’s the deal with the pick up trucks? The majority of Clinton Road has no side streets and no street lights. It a major thoroughfair from Route 23 to the northern end of West Milford. If you drive on it, any cars or pick up trucks behind you will appear to be following you. They really aren’t following you, there’s just nowhere for them to turn off. The area of West Milford is quite mountanous and pick up trucks are very popular among the local residents.And if they are tail gaiting you, that’s probably because a lot of people drive faster then they should on this treacherous road.

The Hitler profile in the NJ Palisades

hitler

Photo courtesy of NJ Palisades website

The NJ Palisades is a stretch of forest going from the George Washington Bridge up north into NY state. It faced destruction at the hands of a rock quarry that was breaking down the sides of the cliffs to build roads in NYC. It was the destruction of a perceived profile of George Washington on the cliffs that spurred protests which closed the quarrying down in 1900.

A second profile can still be seen today, an Indian, near the Giant Stairs (a long & difficult section along the river’s edge.)

A third profile was more disturbing. A rock slide occurred on one of the cliff faces in July 1939. A Yonkers Ferry crew noticed that the rock face now bore a resemblance to Adolph Hitler. Was this just paranoia due to our involvement in WWII? The profile was 160 feet high and 50 feet wide. We’ll never know because on March 15, 1947, another rock slide obliterated this cliff face, 2 years after the defeat of Hitler by the Allied Forces.

random odd stuff in jersey

as always, some of this may be old news, but so be it…

Came across an interesting book called Utopia, New Jersey: Travels in the Nearest Eden about communities in NJ that were utopian in their nature. Fascinating look at what different people’s idea of a perfect community is…

A police helicopter discovered a swastika carved into a Mercer County cornfield

Want some rally picturesque NJ calendars? check out http://www.jerseyshorescapes.com/

Here’s an article about haunted houses in NJ