Along the Pequest River and U.S. Route 46 in White Township within Warren County, New Jersey is Buttzville which is frequently listed on lists of odd and unusual place names.
Buttzville was not known as Buttzville until 1839, when Micheal Robert Buttz purchased the land from a miller who had used the property for a gristmill in its past. He soon opened a hotel and his descendants lived and worked in the town. Michael Robert Buttz named this little settlement Buttzville and that is still the name today.
Before Michael Buttz had come to Buttzville, he had a teaching gig near his former residence along the Delaware River before buying property in New Market and opening a saw mill, hotel and apple and rye distillery. He was also a justice of the peace and in the army. He sold it all in 1831 to George and John Troxall. He then took his chances in Politics and was elected on the Democratic ticket but finally gave up due to financial reasons. He next took his chances in Easton but again grew restless and made his final move to the Pequest River where he opened a grist mill, plaster mill and a general store.
By 1854, he sold the mill property to Elisha Kirkhuff. It, then, later passed hands to Linaberry and Anderson and then to Thomas Craig.
Buttzville United Methodist Church in Belvidere just commemorated 175 Years last year
He would die there at the age of 72 and was buried in the M.E. cemetery.
Thomas A. Edison once had a manufacturing plant and quarry in the area. Edison would often stop at Craig's Store in Buttzville. He and Tom Craig(also owned a store in addition the mill) became good friends. The original homes which were built in the last century are located off a street called Mill Street.
No members of the Buttz family live here today, although the name remains and many people still pass through and remark on the odd naming of the town.
One of northwestern New Jersey's oldest communities, is Johnsonburg once known as "Log Gaol" , which means log jail due to it being the location of jail which was erected in 1753. It was once the seat of newly formed Sussex County in the 1750s before joining Warren County. The log jail was the first county building erected for Sussex.County. The town was renamed Johnsonburg after a store owner who had been of the Johnson family.
I found myself driving out to Warren County in New Jersey once again to see the small town which still retains its original general stores, mill and hotel. At one time in the 19th century, it was a place of importance, a place where horse-drawn carriages moved up and down the streets and the tavern became was an important meeting place where court meetings and elections would be held.
Originally a stagecoach stop in which an east-west route carried mail from Dover, New Jersey to Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, and a north-south route which carried mail from Albany, New York to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the routes crossed through here and the town grew.
But the 19th century saw a new era, the age of canals and trains, which didn't make its way through Johnsonburg. The result was a town which grew little and remained stuck in the past. Many of the buildings were built in the 1800’s.
Upon entering the town I am greeted by the Hardin's Store, which dates to 1871 when is was built by Samuel Hardin, who had ownership of the mill at the time.
The wheelwright shop still stands on Allamuchy Road.
At the end of the road is the Johnsonburg Hotel with a store on its left. I had a nice talk with the man who currently owns the hotel and hes been in the process of renovating it for quite some time.
Next to the hotel is the Old Stone Episcopal Church.
Drake & Mackey store is pictured below, which was built in 1860.
Frelinghuysen Township Hall which is housed in the former Presbyterian Chapel.
On the western edge of town is an old barn.
Below is the Armstrong-Blair house. The home first was owned by William Armstrong and then was was acquired in the 1840s by James Blair. William Armstrong was a principal landowner at the time in the area and had control over the gristmill, tavern and a store. Blair is responsible for the Greek Revival remodeling of the home. The wagon house of the property sits on the site of the old jail.
William Armstrong was known as the village's pioneer merchant.
On Route 661 , I come to the mill which has been a focal point in the town since the 18th century. It ceased operation in 1937. The large mill pond to the north was created by damming Bear Creek and connected to the mill by a short head race while an underground tail race returns water to the creek.
At the end of the town on the western side of Route 661 are the ruins of the Van Horn Farm which sits upon the site of the Petite tavern which was operated by Jonathan Pettit as early as 1753. This was definitely a surprising find after reading a 1874 map of the area. The site was destroyed by a fire.
On Allamuchy Road is the small Johnsonburg Christian Church Cemetery which was established in the mid 19th century, and contains a variety of 19th and early 20th-century grave stones.
Johnsonburg today is a quiet residential neighborhood.
Known as "The Children's Town" Hamburg New Jersey is home to the Gingerbread Castle, a former children's amusement park based on a fairy tale castle since the 1930's. Passing through town one would notice the streets have fairy tale names such as Cinderella, King Cole, prince and Wishing Well Road. These are not the original names, the town renamed several streets in the mid 1950’s to honor its history.
About 1725-1730, the area was marked "Vallins" after the settlement of the Walling brothers, where Joseph Walling kept an inn.
In 1753 when the county was formed, Hamburg was part of New Town; in 1762 it became part of the newly established Hardyston Township. In 1792 when Vernon Township was formed from Hardyston, Hamburg was included within the boundaries of Vernon. In 1852 the boundary line was changed so that Hamburg was again in Hardyston Township, where it remained until its incorporation in 1920.
The Wallkill River, a tributary of the Hudson runs through the town. The Wallkill is said to have drawn its name from some families of Walloons who settled by it. Walloons were a French-speaking people who resided in Belgium.
Numerous communities developed around the early mining industry in Sussex County and Hamburg was one of them. The lands surrounding Hamburg contain rich deposits of iron and zinc ore. By the end of the 18th century, Iron works , lime kilns,mining and the iron industry had become important local industries.
The Hamburg Iron Works, which was located on the Wallkill River was first operated by Jesse Potts in 1792. The name comes from Hamburg, Germany. This is where the name of the town originates from.
When the Sharpe family came to town they also became active in the iron-mining industry. Joseph Sharp erected the Sharp Iron Works forge and furnace in 1768 on the Wallkill River. Sharp abandoned the property in 1774. Stephen Ford used it to secretly produce cannonballs for the British during the American Revolution. After reclaiming the property, Joseph Sharp Jr. built the stone grist mill in 1808. Sharp's mill provided the flour for the American troops of the War of 1812. The mill continued to serve the needs of the agricultural community of Sussex County.
Route 94, which is a state highway in the northwestern part of the New Jersey passes through Hamburg. It was once called King's Highway and was used by George Washington to move his troops through Hamburg. In 1804, the Hamburg Paterson Turnpike was built from Paterson to Hamburg. Route 23 follows this historic turnpike.
One of the most prosperous industries in Hamburg's history, a paper mill sits in ruins along the Wallkill River. It was erected in 1873, on the site of an old blast furnace by Samuel and Edward Sparks Its dam was raised 8 feet to create more water power.
Once Upon a Time there was …
F.H. Bennett entered the scene in the early 1900’s. He was the owner of F.H. Bennett Biscuit Company in New York City and bought the New Jersey property in 1921 to expand his operations and open the Wheatsworth Mills. F.H Bennett was the inventor of Milk Bone Dog Biscuits. In 1928 Joseph Urban designed and built the famous Gingerbread Castle. The Gingerbread Castle was originally the centerpiece of an amusement park built adjacent to Wheatsworth Mill.The site originally contained a number of fairy tale character statues, as well as a train that brought visitors around the park. Visitors were led by Hansel and Gretel through the Gingerbread castle while they recited the fairy tales connected with each display.The attraction remained in continuous operation for 50 years and was a hit, closing initially in 1978. In 1989 the castle re-opened, but lasted only a few years before once again closing down.
He was inspired to build the castle by viewing in Manhattan a production of Engelbert Humperdink's opera Hansel and Gretel .
In the early 1870s the National Hotel was built on the southwest corner of Wallkill Avenue and Orchard Street located not far from the railroad station.
The colorful Victorian home On route 23 was built in 1874 is now The Merry Go Round & Calico Rose Cafe.
Near the Merry Go Round is the Pellet House, the home of two former Hamburg physicians, Dr. Jackson Brainard Pellett and his son, Dr. Thomas Lawrence Pellett.
High up on a hill is the Hamburg Baptist Church and Cemetery.
The view on top of the hill in the cemetery is amazing.
"Old King Cole" is a British nursery rhyme and is the inspiration for the street "King Cole Road".
This interesting building housed Felix the Cat, unsure if it still does.
Entering onto the Main Street Area.
Felix The Cat
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Gonzalez is a photographer, blogger and historian currently residing in Newark, New Jersey.