Archive for the ‘Ships’ Category

Some interesting stuff in the paper: an irish bar and a bunch of worries about pollution.

This bar in Denville seems pretty cool. It’s only the second thatched roof Irish bar in the United States.

In bridgewater Twp, a superfund site got submerged in over 10 feet of water for a long time. Did those water leech toxins and move them around? Probably.

Shipwrecks off the jersey and Maryland coastline are leaking fuel… and thats never a good thing.

Staying on the issue of pollution the long polluted Quanta site in Edgewater will be capped. 150,000 cubic yards will remain underground. Granted paying 5M to cap it is more economical then paying $300M to clean it up right… but why are we not making the companies pay for it? But the EPA is evil folks, it’s *big government*. That’s why Herman Caine would appoint oil and gas execs to head the EPA if he gets elected…. There isn’t a big enough #facepalm for this kind of thinking.

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Plans underway to mark Morris Canal historic sites

There’s a lot of work ahead of them

Michael Helbing and a hearty group of avid hikers were not daunted by snow or cold last week. Bundled in warm weather gear, they trekked on foot through the woods of northwest Morris County, making their way to Lake Hopatcong. The 17-mile hike in sub-freezing temperatures took them on a portion of the route of the former Morris Canal, a 102-mile engineering marvel that once was the heart of the economic engine of much of North Jersey. It’s a part of the state’s history that Helbing wants more people to know about and explore. So the 28-year-old Warren County man, who grew up in Port Colden, an old canal village, has embarked on a personal crusade to create a Morris Canal trail, one that will run the length of the former canal from Jersey City to Phillipsburg.

“There is an incredible history here, one that people should know about,” said Helbing, who has led long-distance hikes for the past dozen years, including recent once-a-month treks along some portion of the canal route. “I envision a heritage trail, kind of like Patriot’s Path that runs through Morris County. A walking and multi-use route, maybe even for biking and horses.” Helbing’s effort has caught the attention of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, a federation of 104 hiking clubs and environmental organizations dedicated to building and maintaining marked hiking trails and protecting related open space. Brenda Holzinger, the organization’s New Jersey field representative, said they are committed to working with Helbing to try to make the trail a reality.

“It’s most exciting and very dear to our hearts,” said Holzinger. “But whether we can take the next step and cement all the needed connections to make this happen is a question.” Helbing’s quest is not the first attempt to create a connected canal trail. The Canal Society of New Jersey has long worked to save parts of the former canal and call attention to its history. Warren County also has a committee that successfully preserved portions of the route for a potential canal greenway. “Absolutely, creating a trail is something we’d like to do. But it’s no small initiative,” said Brian Morrell, president of the Canal Society.

The brainchild of George McCulloch, a Morristown businessman, the canal opened in 1832, an artificial waterway that eventually ran 102 miles from Phillipsburg to Jersey City. An alternative to the state’s rutted and muddy road system, flat-bottomed boats were pulled by mules along the canal to ship iron ore, coal and many other products. Unlike other canals built in relatively flat terrain, the Morris Canal literally climbed hills and mountains, rising a total of 1,674 feet and containing 23 lift locks and 23 inclined planes. From the Delaware River, the canal went up gradually from one plateau to another, crossing lakes and rivers until reaching the Lake Hopatcong area, which was its summit. From there it dropped down as it headed east toward Newark.

“It was world renowned,” said Morrell. “It overcame more elevation change than any other canal in the world, to the present day.” But with the advent of railroads, business on the canal declined. By 1924, it was abandoned and drained. Much of it has been developed, especially in more urban areas, making creation of a connected trail a tough task. A portion of the trail in the Branch Brook Park section of Newark, for example, is now the route of the city’s light rail line. “There have been some efforts in the past to create a connected trail,” said Holzinger. “Unfortunately, a good part of the canal route was sold. It is difficult to negotiate easements with all the individual property owners to get access to their lands. And it can be expensive because some owners want to be paid.”

The good news for canal trail advocates, however, is that much of the Morris Canal route is in public ownership. Dave Detrick, chairman of Warren County’s Morris Canal Committee, said 11 of 33 miles of the canal route in his county have public access right-of-ways. Near Hackettstown there is a 1.5-mile canal walkway and there is a five-mile section near Saxton Falls, among others, he said. “Problem is, those sites are not contiguous,” said Detrick. Morrell’s group, meanwhile, has been working for the past two decades to save portions of the canal route and explore greenway possibilities. They cleared a three-mile trail through Allamuchy State Park and are working on a trail initiative to connect Waterloo Village in Byram to Stanhope.

They also have canal projects under way throughout Morris County and in Pompton Lakes, Wayne, Little Falls and Woodland Park, formerly West Paterson. There are many benefits to creating a Morris Canal trail, said proponents. Historic preservation, environmental protection, education and recreation are obvious ones, they said. For Helbing, who grew up in a house in an old canal town named after Cadwallader D. Colden, second president of the Morris Canal and Banking Company, there’s also a more personal reason. “I’ve lived near the Morris Canal all of my life. It’s a great place. The canal has a great history,” said Helbing. “We need to get public awareness, to expose people to what an amazing treasure it was. “I know there will be a lot of frustration and it’s going to take a lot of hard work to do this. But I’m sure it’s going to be worth it.”

The Flagship

This old boat has been on Route 22 in Union for many, and during that time it has been home to numerous businesses, including a furniture store and a blues club in the 30’s and 40’s. Recently it served as home to Nobody Beats the Wiz, but the electronic chain went out of business. One can only guess what sort of wares this merchant ship will sell in the future….

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The wreck of the Sea King

I received the following email

I didn’t find the “Sea King” abandoned ship on your site, here’s a link that would be helpful. It is a ship (fishing boat) that was wrecked in ’63 and the mast is all that remains. Back in the 60’s though when I was a kid, most of the ship was visible just off the surf at 10th st. and the “bigger kids” would swim out to the ship and use it as a diving board. Not much left now but the mast. Funny though, depending on when you go, you may see the mast still in the water, or as I saw the last time I was there, it was jutting out of the sand. Enjoy

The concrete ship

During WWI there was a shortage of steel and research was begun in earnest to find alternate ship designs. From this came one of the most bizarre concepts ever created: the concrete ship. 38 concrete ships were planned, by the US Shipping Board, and 12 were actually built and went into service. The “Atlantus” was a 3,000 ton 250 foot long freighter, built with a 5 inch thick hull of special concrete aggregate, to correct shattering and brittleness problems found in the first concrete ship. (ya think?)

The “Atlantus” was built by the Liberty Shipbuilding Corporation, of Brunswick, Georgia. She was launched on November 21st, 1918, at Wilmington, North Carolina. Commissioned June 1st, 1919, the “Atlantus” served for a year as a government owned privately-operated commercial coal steamer in New England. With the end of the war, the more efficient steel ships were again available. The “Concrete Fleet” was de-commissioned, and the Atlantus was sent to the “Bone Yard” at “Pigs Point”, in Norfolk, Virginia in September of 1920. A year later, the Atlantus was stripped after being purchased by a salvage company.

In 1926, the Atlantus was towed to Cape May, New Jersey. A Baltimore firm was attempting to start a ferry service from Cape May, New Jersey to Lewes, Delaware. It was planned to have a channel dredged well into shore. The Atlantus would then be forced into the channel. A special drawbridge type of device was to be mounted on the exposed end. Two other bulks would be sunk at angles creating a “Y” shape. The ferry would dock by wedging in and cars and passengers would load and unload by use of the drawbridge. While awaiting positioning, the Atlantus broke loose of her moorings during a storm in 1926 and went aground. Several attempts were made to free the Atlantus – they were futile.

The ship remains partially exposed above the water off the shore of Cape may beach, although as you can see in the pics here, there used to be a helluva alot more of that shipwreck then there is today

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The Galleon Ship of Absecon

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This old galleon ship can be seen on S Black Horse Pike in Absecon. Currently it functions as an antique shop, which makes sense considering how old this boat is. There once were a number of these ships sitting on roadsides throughout New Jersey, but the only other one burnt down a few years ago. It originally functioned as a rental office for the Absecon Beach Camp, then became a gas station before being it became what it is today. The shop was closed when I went by so I couldn’t go inside. I’d be quite curious to see if the inside is “normal” or it is similarly themed to appear as if you’re actually inside an old ship….

The HMS Martin

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The HMS Martin blockaded the Delaware River in the War of 1812 and was eventually grounded, destroyed and burnt. It’s remains were exposed during a hurricane in 1954, and locals had the remains moved to a nearby spot where it could be preserved.

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