The grand Classical Revival structure along the river, while driving down Philadelphia's Schuylkill Expressway, is what first captured my eye, as it does to many passing through Philadelphia.
The structure, situated on the east bank of the Schuylkill River, is the Fairmount Water Works, Philadelphia's second municipal waterworks. The first had been located on the site of the present City Hall. After the yellow fever outbreaks of 1793 and 1798 caused widespread panic and thousands fled the city, the need for clean water was evident. The “Watering Committee” was formed in 1799 to provide clean water to the residents. Benjamin Henry Latrobe, an English-born engineer and architect, was hired to design a new water works for the city. Construction on the Centre Square Pump House began in 1799, in a classical Greek and Roman architectural style with Doric columns and a prominent dome. It was completed two years later consisting of steam engines, made partly of wood, and bored-log pipes. It didn't take long for the system to run into problems due to its wood design and the growing needs of the population.
Between 1812 and 1815, on the east bank of the Schuylkill River, the Fairmount Water Works was constructed. Designed by Frederick Graff, a hydraulic engineer who had employed by B. H. Latrobe as his assistant engineer in erecting the first water works, devised an iron-pipe system to be used instead.
The Water Works initially consisted of a 3 million gallon earthen reservoir atop Faire Mount.
Winning praise around the country for its design, which was disguised by a Classical Revival exterior, it quickly became a popular tourist attraction known for its beauty and its location on the riverside which was praised by visitor Charles Dickens.
The Fairmount Water Works eventually closed in 1909 and the facility was used for several purposes including an aquarium and an indoor swimming pool.
Today the water works buildings now house the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center and offers interactive exhibits, lectures, events, and school programs.
On the outskirts of Suffern, on the southern end of the Ramapo Pass along the west side of the Thruway, is Hillburn, a late nineteenth century hamlet originally called "Woodburn".
Its beginnings date back to 1773, when John Suffern settled nearby establishing a tavern and small farm and eventually a sawmill on the Ramapo. His son, James Suffern, would eventually add a ironworks and later a rolling mill. The works was abandoned in 1872.
William Wait Snow is the one credited with the history of Hillburn as he, along with his partners George Coffin and George Church, established the Ramapo Wheel and Foundry Company, in 1866. He envisioned a company town far superior to the Hamlet of Ramapo and in 1872, purchased property from James Suffern. The company began laying out streets and homes and called the tiny hamlet “Woodburn”. Water service would come to town the following year.
The hamlet was renamed Hillburn in 1882, when it applied for a post office, and it was found there was already a Hillburn in the state of New York. William Snow was the first post master.
William Wait Snow was born in Heath, Massachusetts on July 17, 1828. He attended school and went on to his first job as a bookbinder, but grew disinterested after a few years and became the foreman for his brothers foundry in Woodsocket, Rhode Island. After gaining more experience in the field, he opened a car wheel foundry with Partner Isaac Stanton in Newburgh, calling it Stanton & Snow. The business went under in 1857 during the Panic of 1857. After a few years of being in charge of the Union Car Wheel Works in Jersey City, he opened the Ramapo Wheel and Foundry Company. By 1906, the company was combined with the American Brake Shoe & Foundry Company. When he retired he divided his assets among his children.
He married Olive Amanda Estes on Aug 28,1849 at Cumberland, Rhode Island and they had four children, Homer A Snow, Fred W Snow, Nora E Snow, and Clara Amanda Snow.
His son, Fred W Snow, succeeded as President of the Ramapo Wheel and Foundry Company when Wm. Snow resigned.
The Snow houses in Hillburn were located on the corner of Lake and 4th Street. The homes were destroyed when the N.Y. Thruway was built. A marker was placed in the park across the street to pay tribute to Mr. Snow in 1996.
The plaque is in the Veterans Memorial Park .
Orange and Rockland County had a large black population and the Ramapo Ironworks had recruited black workers in the area to fill some of its lower-paying and labor-intensive positions. Between 1880 and 1900, Rockland County’s African-American population grew from 816 to 2,060. Hillburn’s black community began to grow steadily as they settled in an area known as “the Hollow” in the west part of town. This area became known as the Brook Community, named after a small brook in the area.
In this area, the Brook School and Brook Presbyterian Church would be located.
Brook Chapel was built in 1893. The Brook School is where "colored" students were sent and was notably smaller than the school designated for the whites. The school was located next to the Brook Chapel Until it burned down leaving only stone foundations. Before the school was built, Brook Chapel was used as a school during the week.
On Mountain Avenue is “Main School” which is a two-story hollow tile and concrete building covered in stucco and set on a raised basement built in 1912. When it first opened, it originally housed eight classrooms, and was a segregated school that served only white students. Main School was located where the white families lived. The school contained a library, playground and indoor plumbing. It replaced a one room school building which was constructed in 1880.
As the years passed, Brook School began to get less and less attention from the school board. With such a high number of students, two students had to share the same seat and parents began to call the building a fire trap with inadequate exits. By the time Route 17 passed through town, it had cut through the school property, destroying its former playground. Hillburn’s black parents started fighting to integrate the schools. On September 8, 1943, the first day of school, only a handful of students showed up at Brook School in protest of the segregated schools. The parents called the NAACP for help and that's when Thurgood Marshall was sent in. Marshall, an NCAAP attorney set out to change the "Jim Crow” or “separate but equal” education practices at the schools In Rockland County. The end result was black children granted the right to attend the “Main School,” making New York one of the first states to integrate its schools. Hillburn has gone down as the first place that a 1938 law overturning Jim Crow laws in education was tested and upheld.
The documentary "Two Schools in Hillburn" recounts the 1943 desegregation battle in Hillburn.
The issue of segregation wasn't the only controversy to come to Hillburn.
Perched atop the tiny village is Mt Fuji, aka "Motel on the Mountain", designed by American architect Harwell Hamilton Harris and later the Japanese architect, Junzo Yoshimura. In the 70's, it was transformed into a gay weekend retreat and was met with opposition from the locals. It eventually closed down in 1978.
Then Tony Fujita entered the picture. Tony was a Gold medalist at the 1962 Asian Olympics for Greco Roman Wrestling and also placed fourth at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He opened the shuttered resort and turned it into a elegant wedding and event catering facility and it is now known for its breathtaking views of the Ramapo Valley.
Tony Fujita passed away on August 7, 2011
Heres some other pictures from Hillburn NY
The tiny cluster of structures on Main Street near Walpack Flatbrook road is no larger than a quarter of a mile, but seems to invoke visions of forgotten towns and ghost stories in visitors when they come upon it . Walpack became part of Sussex County when Sussex County was formed on June 8, 1753. Walpack Center was never a big town and mostly served the needs of the farms that surrounded it. When the automobile reached new heights in popularity, some thought the town would expand, but instead it took a completely opposite turn. The farmers could then drive to the stores in the areas further out to meet their needs. After 1910, no new structures were built. One by one the the people of the tiny town began to move elsewhere.
In 1962, the Tocks Island Dam was authorized by Congress. The project was to construct a huge dam about 160 feet above the river and between 400 and 900 feet wide, to create a 12,100-acre reservoir that would extend 37 miles in order for flood control and water and hydroelectric power. This decision further vacated the town by condemning the properties of Walpack Center. In the end, the federal government acquired 72,000 acres on both sides of the river displacing about 8,000 people.
Due to strong public protest resulting from local media coverage, the project was eventually de-authorized. This left Walpack an empty ghost town.
The towns luck turned around in 1965, when Walpack Center became part of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Attention has been given by The National Park Service who have taken an interest in preserving Walpack Center for all to enjoy by utilizing the buildings as employee residences to prevent further vandalism. Walpack Historical Society is also using one building as their museum and headquarters.
In the beginning of town is the Walpack General Store, which is also known as the post office. The post office in Walpack Center was established on Jan. 21, 1854, with Jasper Rundle as its first postmaster. In 1893, the post office was officially re-designated "Walpack Center." In 1915, the general store burned down and a new general store was built at the same site. This post office closed in May 1988 and mail is now handled in Layton.
Built in 1840, this is the first Robbins House.
One of the oldest buildings in Walpack Center is the Rosenkrans House. It was built in 1850 by Jasper Rundle.
The white Victorian Walpack Methodist Church was built in 1871, replacing an 1837 stone structure.
Next door to the church is the Christie House, which was built in 1910.
The two-story gable facade structure built in 1910 is the Hendershot House.
Second Rosenkrans House is shown below.
The Walpack Center Schoolhouse, which is located at the end of the block, was built in 1856
Thirty years have passed since the Walpack Historical Society was organized and Walpack Center now serves as a walk through museum to a era passed with historical society members acting as tour guides to help the memory of the area's rich history live on.
North of the old Barrytown Station is Blithewood, the historic country estate of National Guard captain and real estate mogul Andrew C. Zabriskie.
The story of the grounds goes back to 1835, when a North Carolina gentleman, named Robert Donaldson, Esq., purchased the land and named the grounds "Blithewood". He hired architect Alexander Jackson Davis, and landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing to fix up the home and grounds. Sometime after that ownership was transferred to Mr. John Bard. After the death of Mr. Bard the estate was sold to St. Stephen's College.
In 1899, ownership passed to Zabriskie.
Andrew C. Zabriskie was born in New York City to Christian A. Zabriskie and Sarah J. Titus on May 30th, 1853. The Zabriskie family is of Noble Protestant Polish descent, going back hundreds of years when his ancestor, escaping the political and religious oppression of his own land, emigrated to America in 1662. The family became deeply involved in the real estate business. The family is connected in various ways with the history of Bergen County, New Jersey since its earliest days.
After being educated in private schools and Columbia College, he Inherited large real estate properties and began devoting himself to the business connected with those interests. In 1895, Captain Zabriskie married Frances, the youngest daughter of the late Charles F. Hunter, who was President of the People's Bank of New York City. They had two children, Julia Romeyn and Christian Andrew. Julia was married to Captain Edward Powis Jones in 1918.
In 1899, Captain Andrew C. Zabriskie purchased the estate and hired Francis Hoppin, of the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, to design a manor house and garden to replace the old house on the property (Not to be confused with Blithewold in Rhode Island which was designed by Francis Hoppin). Hoppin designed a grandiose mansion and Italian style garden that reflected the architectural elements of English mansion design, according to the tastes and trends of the Gilded Age.
The result is the grand Beaux-Arts mansion which you see today.
The house and its traditional Italian garden were donated to Bard College in 1951.
Rumours have circulated that the mansion is currently haunted by the spirit of his daughter who either fell or jumped to her death out the window of their New York apartment.
There seems to be many versions circulating about the haunting. One legend states that before her death, Capt. Zabriskie commissioned a sculptor to create 4 statues of his daughter, for each 3 years of her life up to the age of 12, in the gardens. But, to this day, only three statues are present, along with an empty pedestal for the fourth one. In another version, 4 statues were made, one for each daughter, which would mean he had four daughters. The second version seems less believable as according to my research Zabriskie only had two children.
Today the grounds can be visited and the Mansion and Grounds are considered outstanding examples of the Country Place Era residences of the Hudson Valley’s social and political elite.
Recently, I headed back to Long Island to the shore of the Huntington Harbor to visit a 40 room, 30,000-square-foot medieval French château with cone-shaped roofs built for pharmaceutical magnate George McKesson Brown in 1912.
"Founded as Olcott & McKesson by Charles Olcott and John McKesson in New York City in 1833, the business began as an importer and wholesaler of botanical drugs. In 1853, the name was changed following the death of Olcott and the joining of a new partner, , Daniel Robbins. Today the company is one of the largest in the United States and is a leader in pharmaceutical distribution and healthcare IT. McKesson's descendants also hold a large portion of shares in the company."
Designed by architect Clarence Luce, the estate was originally called West Neck Farms, and was modeled after a chateau in the south of France. The French Chateau style is a mix of late French Gothic and Renaissance Revival style design elements, which was popular in the early twentieth century. Despite having the title as one of the original Gold Coast Mansions with extensive land at 33 acres today, Coindre Hall once boasted fifty-four acres. Brown used it as his summer home for him and his wife Pearl. The estate would operate year round as a farm.
During World War 1, the estate became Brown’s year-round home.
With the stock market crash and the Great Depression, Brown lost ownership after his finances began to suffer.
The home was put on the market and the Brown’s moved into the Gate House which still exists today and is located next door .
The Brothers of the Sacred Heart purchased the estate and renamed it Coindre Hall, in honor of the founder, André Coindre, and operated the property as a boarding school.
Father André Coindre was born February 26, 1787 in Lyon, France and died May 30, 1826 in Blois, France.
Father André Coindre was founder of the Fratres a Sacratissimo Corde Iesu (Brothers of the Sacred Heart), a Roman Catholic religious order primarily devoted to high school and elementary school education; the brotherhood is also a missionary society.
The Brothers of the Sacred Heart named a boarding school Coindre Hall in honor of the order's founder. The school operated in Huntington, New York from 1939 to 1971. he was the founder of the Brothers of The Sacred Heart, who re-founded St Columba's College in St Albans
Citing bankruptcy, the school closed in 1971. The estate sat abandoned for a decade, before given life again with the signing of a lease to the Eagle Hill School, which was a private coeducational boarding school for students with learning disabilities from 1982-1990.
By 1991, the Alliance for the Preservation of Coindre Hall Park was organized to preserve, protect and restore this property. In 1995, the mansion was officially designated “The Museum of Long Island’s Gold Coast”. Today the estate offers tours and is one of only estates in the Gold Coast area that still has a large amount of acreage.
Built by the infamous Grosvenor Atterbury in 1917 for Lousine Peters and her husband, Harold Weekes, is Wereholme, a 28 room mansion on the South Shore of Long Island which was inspired by a French chateau of the same name.
Atterbury is known for his work with weekend houses for wealthy industrialists. Born in Detroit, MI in 1869, educated at Yale University, he would go to work in the offices of McKim, Mead & White. He is known as the mastermind of the well to do neighborhood of Forest Hills in Queens New York.
In the early part of the 20th century, the estate was part of a 300-acre "gentleman's farm", called "Windholme Farm", which was owned by Samuel and Adaline Peters. Mr. Peters was a coal broker who, with his partner Richard Williams, founded Williams and Peters coal brokers. In 1880, he purchased 300 hundred acres of waterfront property on the Great South Bay on Long Island’s Gold Coast. The estate had pigs, chickens, and cows, a private fishing camp, a stable of polo ponies, a kennel of top-notch Foxhounds and Gundogs, and spectacular formal gardens. He spent his summers with his family boating and fishing on the Great South Bay. Mr Peters died of heart disease at his home in Islip, NY, after a long illness, at the age of 67.
The property would soon be divided by South Bay Avenue and each side was given to one of their two children, Harry and Lousine. Harry took 200 acres to the east and Lousine the 70 acres to the west. Harry was very much like his father and inherited his father’s interests all the way from fine art to coal. He was also a partner in William and Peters. His kennels, the Windholme Kennel, played a starring role in Greyhounds.
Peters was an avid sportsman, with a passion for hunting, horses, and dogs. In 1925 he became Co-Master of Foxhounds of the Meadow Brooke Hunt in Long Island, New York, a position he held into the 1940s. He was a member of the Westminster Kennel Club and often served as an exhibitor and judge at dog shows. He gave a lecture “Sport in Art through the Ages,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in (circa 1937-1940), and began drafting a full length work on the same topic that was never published. In 1935 he authored Just Hunting, which provides personal and historical perspectives on the subject with illustrations by Betty Babcock. Peters was an active member of the Grolier Club, American Antiquarian Society, and New-York Historical Society. He also participated in home defense activities, serving as a member of the Fuel Administration during World War I, and as Civilian Defense Director for Suffolk County during World War II. Peters retired from the coal business in 1945. He died in 1948 at age 66, survived by his wife Natalie (née Wells), his daughter Natalie Peters Webster, and his son Harry T. Peters, Jr.
Source: Museum of the City of New York
In 1917, Atterbury built the estate, which would become known as the Scully Estate or Wereholme. Louisine Peters only daughter Hathaway, also known as”Happy”, would inherit the property .
Although married several times, she produced no heirs of her own and by 1960 became committed to donating her property to the National Audubon Society. She said it was her "wish that the property be used as a wildlife sanctuary and nature center."
Across the street Natalie Peters Webster, Happy's first cousin, who had inherited the property, decided to do the same as she also had no heirs. Together the properties formed the Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge. Natalie's husband, Charles Webster, would later found the Seatuck Environmental Association to conduct education and research on the property. Upon her death in the 1980’s, the named was changed to the "Scully Sanctuary" and became the home of the Living Oceans Campaign.
In June 2004, Suffolk County purchased the property and opened it to the public in April of 2010 as the Suffolk County Environmental Center.
On the Hudson River, north of Newburgh in Orange County, are a handful of homes and a church, all that remains of the forgotten brick making company town of Roseton which has almost been completely wiped off the map with the construction of generating stations.
Born at Esopus, Ulster County, NY, John C. Rose would soon grow up and move to Haverstraw, New York and begin his venture into the brick making business with his brother, Hilend Rose. After selling out his half and traveling in Europe in order to combat bad health, he returned to NY and purchased three hundred acres of land and a Hudson River mansion once owned by Bancroft Davis, president of Newburgh and New York Railway Company. The area was known for its rich deposits of clay along the banks of the river and the transportation options of the great waterway made for a perfect business location to ship to nearby cities such as New York City. The clay bank at the Rose Site was 180 feet thick! He demolished the mansion and in its place, erected a brick yard which would have sixteen brick machines with a capacity of twenty-four thousand bricks per day, per each machine. The natural color of the clay is blue-grey and the firing turns it red because of the clay’s natural iron content. Wages back then for the brick industry were between $1.50-$2.00 a day for skilled and $1.00-$1.40 per day for unskilled with days consisting of 10 to 14 hours.
More and more workers began commuting to the area from surrounding towns and others began settling closeby to fill the positions at the brickyards, which the need for employees was growing as the business took off.
The need for housing became apparent, so the Rose Brick Co. built a company town and named it Roseton, complete with housing for workers, a grocery store, a school, post office and even an entertainment facility, known as Roseton Hall. Most of the buildings were of a rose hue. They knew that happy, skilled and rested workers (due to the housings proximity to the yards) would be the hardest workers and the best brickmakers. A section of housing near the brickyards was known as “The Hollow” by the workers and a road leading to the school was known as “Soap Hill”. At its peak, the company employed over 1000 workers.
Along River Road is a home I recognized from a book on the history of Roseton. It's the home of the Rose Brick Company's assistant superintendent and later the home for the Roses household workers.
One of his four sons, John Bailey Rose, succeeded as the company’s president and turned the family company into an international empire. At its peak, the Rose Brick Company sold 400 million brick a year worldwide. The finished product was considered superior in building material and a prime choice for architects. Many were shipped downriver to New York City and a number of commercial structures in NYC still standing have the brick under its facade.
John C. Rose introduced the above deck shipping method that made it possible to carry as many as 600,000 brick in a single load. In 1908, John Bailey Rose built a 3-mile long electric railway with 50 cars, each with a carrying capacity of 15 tons to transport the clay to the brickmaking machines.
Here's a lil clip on a biography of John Bailey Rose:
Not too far from the Rose brickyards, a sugar dealer from Cuba, Juan Jacinto Jova, had purchased the Danskammer mansion from the Armstrong family who ran the ARROW Brick Co., for his family, as a summer retreat. After seeing the success of his neighbors and a failed attempt to raise sugar cane, he tore the mansion down and began digging into the vast quantities of clay beneath it. He began employing many of the Irish and Hungarian Catholics in the area. His bricks are known for the initials J.J.J. inscribed on them.
Juan Jacinta Jova was a devout Catholic and in 1891 the rustic style, Our Lady of Mercy was presented by the Jovas as a gift to the Archdiocese of New York and the brick workers of Roseton. The style is that of Hungarian-Slavonic churches. Many who attend the church come from families who have worshiped at the chapel since it first opened its doors.
Soon homes using wood instead of brick were preferred and the brickyards eventually shut down.
In the 1930s, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Company purchased the land and the homes on River Road, and demolished most of the once thriving community and erected power generating stations on the brickyard sites.
Today one can get a glimpse of what the mansion at Danskammer looked like by visiting the Storm king Art center in Mountainville, as five of the columns are incorporated into the landscape.
On June 6, 1933 the first drive-in ever was opened in Camden by Richard Hollingshead, an auto-parts salesman for 25 cents per car. He was on a mission to see how many more activities could be done in vehicles. His experiment consisted of sticking his mother in a car and putting a projector on the hood and tying two sheets to trees in his yard. He then created a ramp system for cars to park at different heights so everyone could see the screen and patented his concept in May 1933 before putting it to business the next month with an investment of $30,000. When in-car speakers came out in the 1940s, the idea took off . Hollingshead kept the theater in Camden for only two years. In 1935, he sold the theater property and opened a drive-in in Union.
The drive-in's peak popularity came in the late 1950s and early 1960s, with 4,000 drive-ins spread across the United States. At one time there were almost 50 drive-in movie venues in New Jersey. Unfortunately the price of land became the downfall for the industry.
In the 1940’s, a new drive-in, operated by Redstone Theatres opened near the Newark airport, with a capacity for 2,500 cars becoming the fourth largest drive-in in the United States. For one low price of as many people as you could squeeze in one car, you could take the whole family for a double feature movie at the Newark Drive-In. The drive in also had a concession stand with fast food service where many people socialized before the start of the show and during the Intermission.. When intermission came around which usually ran around 20 minutes between feature films, the screen was filled with snack commercials, the concession stand menu, previews of coming attractions, and another cartoon. It became a outing people looked forward too. For the teenager it had an even greater appeal other than the actual movie. It offered teens a place to meet and hang out and away from their parents especially with boyfriends or girlfriends.
Unfortunately the Newark Drive-In closed in 1991 due to declining patronage and the rerouting of Route 1&9. In 1992, National Amusements built and opened a large indoor multiplex theater, the All Jersey Multiplex Cinemas on the site. This was a common occurrence for many drive-in sites which closed.
Eventually the theatre went out of business as well and fell into disrepair.
It was demolished in March 2014.
Today, fewer than 500 drive-in theaters survive in the United States and all that remains of the Newark multiplex is the signage.
On Main Street between Stiger and Bergen in Hackettstown now stands a CVS; the result of a long debate of what would become of the old Bergen Machine & Tool Co. which stood before it.
The story of the factory on Main begins with a company called American Sawmill Machinery which was founded in 1903. In their heyday they were the largest makers of circular sawmills in the country. The company is often confused with being an actual saw mill when in fact they manufactured sawmills for lumber businesses.
“During the 1950s the company used another name, American Woodworking Machinery Co., for marketing, presumably to de-emphasize their sawmill roots. This name should not be confused with the earlier, and larger, American Wood Working Machinery Co. The former name is associated with Hackettstown, NJ, and was used in the 1950s and possibly the early 1960s. The latter name is associated with Rochester, NY and Williamsport, PA (among others), and was active between 1897 and 1925.”
An example of a machine made by them can be found here.
In 1955, a new player was in town, the Bergen Machine & Tool factory. They moved the manufacturing part of their company to Hackettstown on the old Sawmill site and kept the sales office and warehouse on Franklin Avenue in Nutley.
The company left New Jersey for Mountain Top, Pa., in 2003 and the building sat vacant.
In 2011, a broken water line that soaked and weakened support beams led to a portion of Bergen Tool building collapsing. After that the building began to suffer from vandalism and neglect.
In June of 2011 a new owner bought the building for $1.1 million who proposed demolition as the dilapidated building was beyond rehabilitation.
Residents fought against demolition of the front building stating historical significance, but eventually the brick building came down.
Dutch traders first settled in Passaic in 1678 with the founding of a fur-trading post. After the river was dammed, industrial growth blossomed. Some of the most successful mills of New Jersey were built in Passaic. Many of them were German worsted mills. The town used to be full of European immigrants, which had come to fill the factories. In the 1970's came deindustrialization, which was pretty much the downfall of many American cities. Passaic would prove no better. The industrial section of the city of Passaic known as the lower Dundee, the east side neighborhood that runs along the bank of the Passaic, is filled with ruins of the cities legacy as an industrial powerhouse. I made my way down to the area to walk the streets where 15,000 woolen mill workers fought for the rights of workers in the Passaic textile Strike of 1926.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Gonzalez is a photographer, blogger and historian currently residing in Newark, New Jersey.