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.