Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey - Places to Go and Things to Do

A discussion of things to do and paces to go, with the purpose of sharing, and encouraging exploration of South Jersey.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mystery Object Identified

The mystery object has been identified by three respondents:  John Westerdale figured it out by identifying its component parts.  John is a distant cousin of mine whom I met via internet genealogy.  The second correct guess came from Leigh Ingersol who is docent at the Prehistory Museum in Greenwich, NJ, one of my favorite places to visit.  He is very well informed on local history.  The third good guess came from Dana Jorgensen via Ghosttowns of Southern New Jersey digest, a favorite internet site of mine also.  Barry Caselli has been keeping this fascinating digest going for some years.  I would strongly recommend that anyone interested in the piney woods sign up with this site and engage in the ongoing discussions on interesting places, people and mysteries of the NJ Pinebarrens. 

The mystery object is a spike cutting machine used by the Cumberland Nail and Iron company in Bridgeton and the machine was placed and maintained in honor of the workers in that industry.  I always think of the workers when I visit any of the old mills, the oyster sheds, the marinas and the farms of South Jersey.  Iron is especially interesting to me, the daughter of an ironworker. 

It was especially interesting to visit the blacksmith shop at Allaire, and the carpentry shop.  When I look at the Meerwald and the skeleton of the old Cashier, down at Bivalve, the Bayshore Discovery Project site, I can't help but think of the human hands and the tools that fashioned the wood and put it together in such marvelous ways.  Even the oyster baskets and Noah Newcomb, who went into the woods, cut the saplings prepared the strips of wood for weaving and supplied the hundreds of baskets used for that work - everything made by hand, everything personal and local.

One of my favorite things to do in life is to wander around the back roads and stumble on interesting places and things and then figure out what happened there.  I would strongly recommend anyone who is interested to visit Bridgeton's local park, and, in on October 7th, the festival held at the New Sweden Farmstead.  There is a web site for info on this place:
and for more info on the spike splitter:


 Hope you had a safe, peaceful, restful Labor Day - a good day to think of all the workers who have made everything we use.

1 comment:

  1. Nails and other fasteners are really important to building houses and boats and everything in between. These days nails are the go to solution if a batch of steel misses unc spec for elemental composition. "Aww, make nails out of it!!"