Archive for the ‘Union’ Category

Stockton state is using my pics

Stockton state has a page about Waylande Gregory and they saw I had some nice pics of his sculpture and are using some of them. Link goes to their arts section.

Watchung Reservation

The area was originally settled by the Wilcocks family, who ran a grist and lumber mill. A small cemetery plot with four gravestones dating to the 1700s is the only evidence of the earliest settlers. It is believed that it became abandoned at some point before again becoming occupied in the 1800’s. David Felt rebuilt mills and began a book and paper processing center, which furnished products to the New York stationery business.

It is presumed that in these 11 houses that were built, 4 families lived in each house. There was one building that served as a general store, school, and church for the residents of this village. In the 1860’s Felt sold the village, and it was sold several times over in the next 20 years. It eventually ended up in the hands of a man named Ackerman who renamed it Glenside Park. He tore down most of the buildings and built new ones more suited to farming and raising cattle. The old mill was used as a stable until it become structurally unsound and was torn down in the 1930’s. The barn was built in 1882 to house horses and carriages which would transport business men to the train station.Glenside park flourished until 1916.

In the 1920’s, the Union County Parks Commission purchased the property. The houses in the village were rented out to families until the 1960’s. The village was listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1980. The barn is now home to the Union County’s own Operation Archeology.

Watching Reservation is home the bunny bridge and also was home to a Nike base

There is a large water tower nearby, and although there was only one confirmed suicide, it has been nicknamed “Suicide Tower”.

guide to hiking in watchung reservation

another hiking guide

Squirrel Crossing




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….


The Devil Tree


The Devil’s tree is so named because Satan himself supposedly guards this tree. The story goes that a local farmer killed his family then hung himself from this tree. Ever since, the tree is cursed. The tree is warm to the touch and snow will not fall on it. The remaining rumors involve people who tried to cut it down. The tree itself stands alone in a field off of Long Rd. It Looks creepy. It is creepy. The picture shown is un-retouched, and really reflects the atmosphere that day. I think it ranks as one of my favorite pictures.

The tree is quite battered, with graffiti, ax marks and some sort of damage or stain that I can’t identify. I recently heard that the town erected a metal fence skirt around the base of the tree to stop people from trying to cut it down. There is also reports that the land is due to be sold to become (what else?) town houses. How inventive. Why don’t they give it a nice name like Devil Tree Estates or something with real cachet?

The Union Watersphere

This giant water tower in Union is not really a water tower, it’s a water sphere. What’s the difference you ask? Well a water sphere has a round ball-like top while a water tower is round and squat with a flat top, like a marshmallow. For a long time the Union watersphere was the world’s tallest, but about 15 years ago, one was built in California that was 10 feet taller. It’s a Union landmark, which stands proudly next to the GSP right at the Union Toll Plaza. Speaking of the Union toll plaza, it shares it’s own place in history. It was home to the first ever automated toll collection device. The Parkway even has a plaque commemorating this event, complete with the first quarter ever collected by an automated toll machine.


The Bunny Bridge of Watchung

The bunny bridge was built so that animals could cross rt 78 and get in and out of Watchung Reservation. The entire concrete bridge is covered with grass, trees and thorn bushes and if you hang around long enough you probably will see deer crossing it. What’s strange is Nike Rd’s access is only a half mile south of there, so why this wasn’t used is beyond me. Perhaps the bunny bridge was built before the Nike base closed?