September 10, 2016 – Walpack Township – Walpack Center, NJ
Walpack , New Jersey is located in the scenic western section of Sussex County along the Delaware River. The township includes a section of the Old Mine Road, which is reputed to have been constructed by the early Dutch miners in the mid-1600s as a means of transporting copper ore from the Pahaquarry area to Kingston (formerly Esopus), NY. At one time it was considered the longest commercial road of note in the colonies. The area was sparsely settled before 1736. The 24 square mile township is peaceful and exceedingly quiet, almost to the point of being spooky.
In the 1960s, in order to control damaging flooding and provide clean water to supply New York City and Philadelphia, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed building a dam. When completed, the Tocks Island Dam would have created a 37 mile long lake between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with depths of up to 140 feet. This meant that all the homes in the area would be underwater. This lake and the land surrounding were to be organized as the Tocks Island National Recreation Area. Although the dam was never built, 72,000 acres of land were acquired by condemnation and eminent domain. The Corps and the National Park Service would end up spending $100 million to buy homes, stores and churches on either side of the river. About 8,000 people were evicted from their homes. The dam was never built and the land was subsequently transferred to the oversight of the National Park Service.
There are numerous abandoned homes and barns throughout the area that have been left to rot. Upon entering Walpack, I came upon this home alongside National Park Service Route 615 (Walpack Flatbrook Road).
Since these structures are overseen by the National Park Service, the grass was mowed on properties easily viewed from the road. Below are some more images for the same house.
A short drive away is Main Street, also known as Walpack Center. Although these homes are unoccupied, there seems to be some restoration being done on some of the structures. I parked across the street from the church and captured some images of the buildings which date as far back as 1850.
Walpack Methodist Church – This well built church was erected in 1872 at its present site at a cost of seven thousand dollars. Today the church is owned by the National Park Service. The Walpack Historical Society uses this facility for its general meetings.
Across the street from the church is a garage with an old gas pump. To the right there is an old fire or air raid siren.
Back behind the garage is the one room schoolhouse.
Below are some more buildings that line Main Street in Walpack Center. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.
I continued down Main Street and turned right onto Mountain Road. I stopped momentarily at Walpack Cemetery.
Just after leaving the cemetery I saw a Pheasant in the road so I stopped and was able to capture an image before he dashed into the woods.
Continuing down Mountain Road, I stopped at Buttermilk Falls, which is the tallest falls in the state of New Jersey. I had visited this waterfall several times before and it was quite a sight to see, but today it was nothing more than a trickle.
Just down the road from Buttermilk Falls was another abandoned and dilapidated house.
Away from Main Street the houses were in really bad shape. No restoration job here. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.
I continued down the road and a short distance away was an old barn. When I pulled up there were three older women there checking out the barn. One woman told me that the barn and the house up the road (pictured above) belonged to her sister until she was forced to move.
The barn was huge and looked to have been squatted in at one time like most of the buildings I visited.
It also had a storm cellar, but I did not venture down the stairs to check it out.
Here’s a view of the rear of the barn.
At this point I turned around and headed back towards Walpack Center. I stopped and took a few more shots before I headed out. I turned left at the end of Main Street onto Walpack Flatbrook Road (National Park Service Route 615) and saw some more abandoned houses just off the road. I pulled in the driveway to check them out.
Right by the barn was an overgrown basketball court.
It looked like all these buildings shared a common driveway. A little further in was this more modern looking home.
I turned around and walked back past where I was parked and this red barn seemed to be in decent shape.
Across from the red barn was an old farmhouse.
After checking out these structures, I was off to Old Mine Road. I had read that there was some abandoned structures along that old gravel road.
Once off the pavement and driving the gravel road, I came to what seemed like a farm. The property had numerous structures some in worse shape than others.
There were several mailboxes out front, but this newspaper box caught my eye.
Near the front of the property sat this structure.
Below are a couple of shots of the interior.
Behind the main house was a shed like structure.
Towards the back of the property there was a large L shaped barn. It was in pretty bad shape as part of it had collapsed.
This was a huge building and the interior was cavernous.
There were signs posted on all the buildings due to the poor condition of the structures.
To the left of the main house stood another small outbuilding.
I drove down Old Mine Road and saw another dilapidated house.
I continued driving down Old Mine Road with the Delaware River visible through the trees on my right. It was a tight squeeze anytime a vehicle came from the opposite direction. Thankfully that only happened a few times. After about 1.5 miles I arrived at the Van Campen Inn. Despite its name, the Van Campen Inn was never really used as an inn, at least not as we know them today. This “inn” was actually a “Yaugh house,” a rural house in a remote area that was required by early colonial law to provide shelter and food to travelers.
It was an interesting day visiting a town that time forgot. I hope that you enjoyed my journey into the abandoned town of Walpack, NJ. Until next time folks……….