Archive for the ‘Bergen’ Category

The Octagon House of Bergen County

Houses of unusual shapes are natural eye catchers, and this one is no exception. This octagon house located in Montvale is currently home to Weddings by Perfect Limo. It was originally built in 1855 by John Blauvelt Jr, who followed the Orson Fowler design for octagonal buildings. You didn’t know there were design standards for octagonal houses? Well I didn’t either. Blauvelt lived in this house until 1882, then it passed to a series of mayors for Montvale, until it’s current owner took over.

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The Devil Faced Building of Fair View

This building on the Fairview Cliffside Park border bears several unusual devil or gargoyle faces on it, along with the numbers 1908 and the letters LC. LC stood for Louis Caporale, who built this building in 1908. The devil faces were likely used as decorations, meant to be gatekeepers as good luck. Corporale came from South America where this type of design was common at the time. There is probably no evil or bad intent, just the opposite in fact.

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Dewolfe cemetery

A small roadside cemetery. I don’t know anything about it and the research i did yielded no information. It was likely an old family plot on a farm which was sold off bit by bit till nothing of the family estate remained but the cemetery.

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Abandoned houses in the meadowlands

You can see this ramshackle house from the NJ Turnpike before the toll plaza at 16W. I’ve seen it for years and finally in 2006 I decided to visit. The house sits behind a golf course and a PSE&G fueling station. I asked the golf course owner for permission to go back behind the course to take pictures and he agreed. I had to walk out on the golf range but there was only one guy taking swings and I warned him to let me get to the end and he was cool.

The house has been there since the 1930’s and the area is used by fisherman to store their boats, both the working and the non working. I really don’t know much more then what I’ve already said. it is very very picturesque, and I love the last photo I’ve posted below.

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Fallen radio tower

This fallen radio tower is easily visible from the eastern spur of the Turnpike after passing the new rail station in Secauus. I don’t really know much about the radio tower or the station, so if any one knows anything, I’d love to hear from you.

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Abandoned Greenhouse

This greenhouse and building sit in a small patch of woods near my home. A homeless man lives in these woods too. The building is a shambles, the roof half gone, the doors & windows missing, and the concrete floor has openings into god-knows what below. The greenhouse is almost invisible except when viewed from the front. The roof & sides have been totally covered by vegetation, creating an unusual breakthru of light when you stand inside.

NJ stonehenge

These concrete remains form a huge circle, perhaps 100 feet wide. There are large openings in the walls, perhaps for windows, spaced around the entire perimeter. There is evidence that the building suffered a fire. 25 yards east of the circular walls is a fireplace, and a small concrete building, about the size of a ticket booth at a carnival.

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abandoned railroad station

This old rail station was replaced with a new one on the other side of the tracks. There are 3 sets of tracks here. two are active, the other is not. I looked at a few maps & only see 2 lines shown, which would make sense. The current rail station is on the easternmost track, which is for commuters. the middle track is for freight, and then you have the westernmost track which is where this old station is. There is a section in the middle of the station where there used to be a set of stairs that led… to a parking lot. The stairs were filled with concrete and dirt.

Since posting this, the remains have been torn down and removed.

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Lobster Barn

The Lobster Barn was a restaurant that closed and when they did, they left a lot of stuff behind. The site has since been bought by Porcelenosa and the the buildings leveled. On the same property was the Motel 17, 6 or 7 bungalow type motel buildings. They were also abandoned, and both were in a state of decay when these pictures were taken.

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French Burying Ground

The French Burying Ground as it is called is a relatively small graveyard off of patrolman Ray Woods Dr in new Milford. For the uniformed, new Milford is generally considered to be the birthplace of Bergen County. It is home to man of Bergen County’s first families including the Demarests, Zabriskies, and Van Sauns, and you can nearly always find some of their descendants in almost any old cemetery in the county. Historians theorize that David Demarest settled on the banks of the Hackensack River in 1677. His wife Marie died and was buried here in 1681.

The cemetery had become overgrown and forgotten despite its proximity to the local police station and popular ball fields. Several months ago some girl scouts “found it” and decided to explore some of it’s mysteries by cleaning it up. Why were so many family members buried in a single grave, and why did so many deaths occur in a short time frame?

They cleaned up the stones, often using a toothbrush, cleared away decades of overgrowth and brush and revealed some interesting things, such as the fact that the dead were buried facing the East which was beneficial to the souls, or so believed the colonists. Today the cemetery is fenced off and locked up by the DPW. I am not sure why but I assume it’s to keep out vandals, miscreants and kids who might drink or hang out. If true then this says to me that whomever made that decision obviously doesn’t think much of the local police. This cemetery is quite near the local police as well as ball fields, so what idiot is going to be up to no good a block from the police? Regardless, I wasn’t able to gain access but observed what I could from behind the fence.

It’s nice to see young people taking a healthy interest in history, as well as graveyards. Not to get off on a rant but I always felt that anyone who showed interest in graveyards is often unfairly maligned as weird or morose. (I certainly have gotten my fair share of unpleasant comments). I think they can be an interesting window into the past on a general and a specific scale, and these girls apparently learned something about Bergen County and themselves by putting their time into this project. Good for them.

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