Allen’s Clam Bar

I think we’re gonna need a bigger table.

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Prince Rodgers Cemetery

Located in Bridgewater about 5 yards from a major road and yet completely invisible from it, lies a small burial plot of slaves from the 1700’s. 

 

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Located approximately 500 feet from Foothill Road and Bridge Rd in Bridgewater is a burial plot. Known as the Prince Rodgers cemetery, (it has also been referred to as the VanderVeer Burying Ground), there are a handful of headstones, several of which are broken.  Prince Rodgers was born in 1813 and was a slave of Cornelius Van Horn until being freed from slavery by his master at age 25. Other sources claim that Rodgers was a slave of the VanderVeer family. Completely forgotten despite being yards from the road, it sits between two homes one of which is owned, the other appears abandoned. Several years ago efforts began to restore the cemetery. Black plastic and wood chips have been laid down and the brush was cut back, but not much progress has been made since then and the weeds and brush have returned.

 

The East Hanover bar that trolls grammar nazis

I have worked in Livingston on Route 10 for 2 years but I rarely traveled on Route 10 because my home lay to the east. Ever since I moved out west I travel that road every day and that was how I became familiar with Bogey’s. it’s a small tavern, has a bar in front and some tables in the back. My girlfriend recently ate there and said the food was pretty good (which is high praise coming from her). What makes the place interesting is their signage. For years they have had signs that have grammatical errors or words incorrectly spelled. In the beginning I thought it was an accident but the repeated nature of it makes me believe that it is intentional. Some would even say they’re trolling.

 

 

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After seeing this sign I decided to ask about it since supposedly this wasn’t the first time. The owner stated that it was an error the first time but when it happened again they decided to leave it be. Several weeks later, as a joke, it seems someone “fixed” the sign.

 

 

 

 

 

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A month or two later we saw this sign which mocks the business name, but misspells the key word. 

 

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Last week this sign went up. And that’s when I knew that it had to be intentional. It’s nice to see a business with a sense of humor. Now when I pass by I smile instead of grinding my teeth.

Two of NJ’s oldest and largest psychiatric facilities slated for demolition

A few weeks ago the state announced that it was seeking bids to demolish the main Kirkbride building that was the primary building at Greystone. A number of old buildings have already been torn down and now the state intends to finish the job. This week similar plans were announced for Marlboro. Marlboros demise was actually announced 2 years ago but numerous studies had to be done before any actual demolition could take place. The facility opened in 1931 and closed in 1998 though alcohol rehab treatment is still done in a handful of buildings if I recall correctly. Now abandoned for 15 years the buildings have deteriorated and natural decay mainly from weather and water damage has let asbestos contaminate the halls. I visited there myself about 7 years ago but I would likely not visit today if given the chance. Though the buildings may structurally be sound, certain areas have weak floors and that, coupled with the asbestos would far outweigh any benefits of exploration. It is estimated that it will cost 75M to demolish the buildings safely, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the cost were closer to 100M. I say that because the state estimates restoring the Kirkbridge building at Greystone would cost well in excess of $100M. The The question then becomes what to do with the sprawling estate, and a park seems a likely choice given the emphasis on Green Acres preservation. Anything would be better than to sell it off and make more subdivisions.

Head 2 Head on 295

If you drive on 295, as you approach exit 65B you will see a large piece of public art called Head 2 Head, created by artist John Martini. The two giant heads weigh a combined 45 tons and are part of a project by the Grounds For Sculpture, a local park featuring large works of art. The Sculpture On The Way (SOTW) program is meant to be a visual path that leads visitors to the Grounds for Sculpture. By displaying art publicly it is hoped that it was will encourage local residents and business owners to display art publicly on their own, unaffiliated with the program itself.

You can read more about the SOTW program, featuring descriptions and locations of other pieces here. You can read more about Head 2 Head here

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Abandoned barn in Warren County

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1937 Yellowstone Park Bus

1937 Yellowstone Park Bus

I saw this car in Readington, NJ, off to the side of Route 22. I was headed south, not doing anything but driving along, when I saw this 4 row open air … Frankencar. I couldn’t think of another word to describe it. It looked like some really old car had been stretched and customized into something totally new.

Turns out, it wasn’t new at all. It was in fact, very old. The car is owned by the Tewksbury Balloon company and it is used as their chase vehicle. When you fly in a hot air balloon, you gain lift through the use of hot air jets, but despite that you are still at the mercy of the wind. The pilot has to watch the winds very carefully and at the same time be watching the terrain for suitable landing spots. Most of the time, balloon pilots set down in a large open space such as a baseball field, parking lot or a farm. On rare occasions it’s someones backyard. A chase vehicle follows on the ground and when the balloon lands they pick up the pilot and passengers. The basket goes on or in the vehicle along with the balloon itself.

This chase vehicle is a 1937 White Model 614 Yellowstone Tour bus. Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park established in the United States by President Grant on March 1, 1872. Covering over 3,400 square miles, the Park was a popular destination for Americans eager to explore thanks to the recent introduction of the automobile. As visitor levels soared, increasing traffic volumes created problems for Park management so in 1917, multi-passenger bus tours were introduced. The model pictured above was first introduced in 1931. These 14-passenger units featured glass side windows and an opening top cover so that guests could stand up to enjoy the scenery. These buses also had a more powerful 75hp engine than their predecessors, to facilitate climbing the mountain passes, and new hydraulic brakes provided increased safety.

Many of the Yellowstone buses are prized by collectors and are often used in tourism related businesses. More information on the history and models of Yellowstone buses can be found at Geyser Bob’s detailed website here.

The Tewksbury Balloon company flies passengers over the hills of northern and central NJ out of White House Station, so if you fly with them you can ride in their Yellowstone bus on trip back to their launch site. There are lots of pictures on their facebook page.

You can also see pics of another restored 1937 yellowstone bus here

Abandoned on the Mullica River

I recently came across this non descript trio of houses on the banks of Mullica River. In Lower Bank these houses have sat for I am guessing two decades or more, judging by debris I found in the building. The buildings are in really bad shape but have been left alone by people. I saw no signs of vandalism or destruction, not even evidence of kids drinking and smoking pot. All I saw the decay of time. Built on sand, literally on the sand with no foundation, these houses built yards from the Mullica River were destined to meet a fate like this.

The amazing House of Route 9

I really can’t think of anything to say about this house. It’s all in the pictures. This very large house on a very large property sits on Route 9 in Egg Harbor Twp. I counted no less than four dragons, a half dozen elephants, a clown, two Jesuses flanked by two Marys and two Gundams. At least I think they’re Gundams….. They may be Mazainga according to a friend of mine.

The story behind it (which can be found here) is as fascinating as the property itself. Somewhere on the property is a replica of a 75 foot Korean military vessel that fought the Japanese in the war with Korea in 1592. I am going to try to arrange a visit.

Abandoned in the middle of Route 46

For a decade I’ve driven past this abandoned house that sits in the middle between the east and west bound sides of Route 46 in Warren County. I have always wondering who would build a home in the median between the sides of a busy highway. I don’t know how long it has been abandoned, I noticed it around 2001 on a trip to the Delaware Water Gap. Every time I would drive out that way I would either forget or it would be too late in the day and too dark or there would be police there. it seems the local PD likes to hang out there in the grass and either do speed traps or just chit chat with each other. it turns out there is nothing special about it. just another abandoned structure, ignored every day by thousands of drivers who probably never give it a second thought.