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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Gonzalez is a photographer, blogger and historian currently residing in Newark, New Jersey.