Hot summer evening bike ride

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Teegate, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. Teegate Administrator

    Member Since:
    Sep 17, 2002
    I took a 10 mile bike ride tonight with Rob from work, and we visited the Delaware river north of the Commodore Barry Bridge. We wandered on foot along the river and after returning to our bikes we came upon a Bald Eagle that was not there 10 minutes earlier. We also spooked up a blue crane in the green slimy water along a road, and lost count on the number of turtles in a semi large water area along the river. We also visited some of the homes of my ancestors and ran into the wife of one of them in her garden. She has a massive garden complete with grapes lining her driveway. It was nice to ride the quiet back roads of that area, and watch the kids playing baseball in a ball field in their huge backyard. Reminded me of my youth on a hot summer day. There are changes going on with massive businesses buying up some of the properties on the really remote back roads. There still are some interesting woods around there, small in size, but interesting. My grandfather hunted those woods years ago, and I was expecting to see him pop out of them as we rode by, but that was not to be.

    Guy
    Bachman's Ivory likes this.
  2. james ungehajer New Member

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Talk about breaking out in a sweat, how many bottles of water did you consume ?

    Jim
  3. Teegate Administrator

    Member Since:
    Sep 17, 2002
    I did not drink at all during the ride. It was too interesting.:dance: Next time I will take my camera.


    Guy
  4. james ungehajer New Member

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Do you have an 18 speed or higher bike ? Lance Armstrong would be proud.

    Jim
  5. Teegate Administrator

    Member Since:
    Sep 17, 2002
    My bike is old and I now only have one speed. I need a new one.

    Guy
  6. james ungehajer New Member

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Guy

    Did you and Rob happen to visit the location where the Bridgeport-Chester Ferry use to operate from ?

    Jim
  7. Teegate Administrator

    Member Since:
    Sep 17, 2002
    No. Maybe on another Monday. We enjoyed that area and will most likely go again.

    Guy
  8. Teegate Administrator

    Member Since:
    Sep 17, 2002
    Jim sent me this link the other day, so Rob and I decided to go there on our weekly bike ride and check the place out. Unfortunately, as with last week I did not take my camera. Jessica and I will be going back soon to visit again. We rode 14 miles tonight from Repaupo to the ferry location and back. While at the ferry location we traveled down a dirt road and ran into a man stuck in his Jeep. It was bottomed out sitting on the gas tank, and with Rob and him pushing and me manning the vehicle we were not even able to get it to budge one inch. He had a very long walk back to Bridgeport where it was uncertain if he would even get help. He tried AAA and they told him because he was off the road they would not come. At least that is what he told us. He also told us he had been fishing but we did not see any poles.

    http://www.oldchesterpa.com/chester_bridgeport_ferry.htm


    Guy
  9. Chrisr Explorer

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Location:
    Cinnaminson, NJ
    WOW!! The Chester-Bridgeport Ferry!!! I remember taking that from my granparents house in Concordville Pa., to get to our relatives in Millville! Crossed that river many times on the ferry.
  10. Jerseyman Piney

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2003
    Location:
    West New Jersey
    Does anybody want any history or scanned images here or is the website referenced above enough information for everyone?

    Jerseyman
  11. kayakmac New Member

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Hail from Greenbank. Grew up on the Mullica. Work
    Another great site on a place I've never been. It's amazing to see how things become history so casually, with seldom a second thought to a way of life that was established, and necessary for daily life. Thanks for the 411.



    "The good Lord has a certain amount of things for me to accomplish before I pass on - I'm so far behind, I'll never die!"
  12. amf New Member

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2006
    Location:
    Swedesboro
    4wheelers love riding those dirt roads thru the old dredge disposal areas. Unfortunately, its illegal & the bridge police frequently patrol it. I often launch kayaks from the end of the road, & the patrols often try to run me off until I convince them I am not off-roading. Its one of the few river access points for several miles in either direction, and it would be a shame to lose it.
  13. Teegate Administrator

    Member Since:
    Sep 17, 2002
    Did 12 miles tonight on the back roads near Kingsway High. We visited the Solomons Graveyard along the route. A car has crashed through the brick wall around it or it would be completely intact. It is sad to see all the new homes coming in that area. It reminds me of Medford when I went to Lenape and it was all farmland. In 25 years it all will be gone where we were today. There was more traffic on most of this route so next week we will be staying closer to the river.


    http://www.nj.searchroots.com/EG/solomons.htm


    Guy
  14. bobpbx Piney

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2002
    Location:
    Pines; Bamber area

    Guy, I looked that website over. There is quite a history there in East Greenwich going back a long ways. I have been through areas like that over the years, and it's kind of sad. Not so much that things are changing, because we expect that, but that some of the very old houses are still there but falling apart because the people living in them do not have the means to either fix them up or tear them down and put up something more contemporary. Is that the sense you get too? It's like time has stood still, with the kind of hopeless state that is hard to overcome.
  15. Teegate Administrator

    Member Since:
    Sep 17, 2002
    All,

    Our bike ride tonight was 10 miles, and we traveled along the ‘Peanut Line" and the surrounding area of Blackwood including visiting Blackwood Lake. The Peanut Line was a train running through the Grenloch area that is now a bike and walking path. We don’t usually take bike paths and prefer more remote locations, but we wanted to explore a few other places in the area.

    One of the bridges on the Peanut Line.


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    It is a long way down to the stream below.



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    We then visited what I will call a “forgotten” cemetery. It really is not forgotten since someone was actually buried there in the past week, but with it being there since at least the late 60’s there are most likely about 10 graves we saw in this huge place. The road through it is crumbling and even the religious monument looks old. Jerseyman, is it a brick in the first photo? It is only about an 1 thick or so.


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    Notice the new grave (dirt) in the distance. That is one of the few there.


    [IMG]



    [IMG]


    One of the few graves we could find.


    [IMG]


    Anyone out there??

    [IMG]


    Can you tell me anything about the cemetery Jerseyman? It is near the Lakeland complex in Blackwood.


    Deer


    [IMG]


    Closer


    [IMG]




    http://tinyurl.com/naqkwc


    Guy
  16. turtle Explorer

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    a village...in the pines
    Guy,
    It looks so manicured and well kept. Could it be or is it part of the County Park system?
    turtle
  17. Teegate Administrator

    Member Since:
    Sep 17, 2002
  18. Jerseyman Piney

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2003
    Location:
    West New Jersey
    Guy:

    Before I respond to your other questions, I thought I would supply some history of the rail line:

    The history of the Grenloch Industrial Track can be traced to the early 1870s when Gloucester City Industrialist David S. Brown needed a method to move his textile products to the ferry service at Kaighn’s Point, South Camden and in to Philadelphia. With the passage of New Jersey’s General Railroad Law in April 1873, Brown and his associates gained the necessary mechanism to construct a railroad between the ferry and Gloucester City. The resultant Camden, Gloucester & Mt. Ephraim Railway, incorporated in June 1873, constructed its line between the first two points in its name during the ensuing year. The company’s board of directors chose to build their railroad as a 3'-0" narrow-gauge line, the only three-foot gauge common carrier in New Jersey. Narrow gauge railroads became very popular in the United States during the early 1870s after an Englishman named Robert F. Fairlie published his 1872 work, Railways or No Railways. In this book, Fairlie advocated the economical aspects of narrow gauge railroad construction, versus the “costliness” and the “extravagance” of so-called broad (standard) gauge. He argued that curves could be sharper, grading lighter, equipment less expensive, etc., due to its diminutive size. However, there were decided detriments to building narrow gauge lines, the most apparent being the inability to interchange freight and passenger cars with standard gauge railroads, requiring all freight to be manually transferred. The “standard” narrow gauge was three feet between the rails, while regular railroads maintained a gauge of approximately four feet, eight and one-half inches. Standard gauge proponents argued that the cost savings were actually minimal and the construction of narrow gauge railroads actually represented a large step rearward in railroad engineering standards. In the end, those who argued for standard-gauged railroads won the debate and most narrow gauge lines were either re-gauged to the standard measurement or abandoned altogether.

    The Camden, Gloucester, & Mt. Ephraim began train service in February 1874 between Kaighn’s Point and Gloucester City and the company extended its tracks to Mount Ephraim by June 1876. Railroad management had begun planning to push the tracks beyond Mount Ephraim to Blackwoodtown as early as June 1874, when the directors chartered the Mount Ephraim & Blackwoodtown Railway Company. Residents along that portion of the line eagerly pledged their support, seeking both the ease of rail travel and the prospects of suburban development. During May 1876 the C.G.& Mt.E. Rwy. board obtained a second charter for the Mount Ephraim & Blackwoodtown Railway. By September of the same year, a formal groundbreaking occurred for the line to Blackwoodtown, but no construction activity ensued and in July 1877 David S. Brown died, casting a shadow of doubt over any future track extensions. Moving into the 1880s, freight shipments over the railroad shriveled and the line primarily served a growing passenger business. In September 1883, the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad purchased the Philadelphia & Atlantic City Railway, another narrow gauge line with a gauge of 3'-6" between the rails built in 1877, at a Master’s Sale, putting the P. & R. in a position to compete with the Pennsylvania Railroad and its recently acquired Camden & Atlantic Railroad. By October 1884, the P. & R. had standard-gauged the P.&A.C. Rwy. and sought to discontinue the line’s long ferry trip from Bulson Street, Camden, to a shorter ferry service further upriver. Philadelphia & Reading management eyed with great envy the Camden, Gloucester & Mt. Ephraim Railway’s exclusive franchise for service to the Kaighn’s Point Ferry. The P. & R. purchased a controlling interest in the C.G. & Mt.E Rwy. in November 1884, and standard-gauged the single-track shortline by June 1885. In logical corporate progression, the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad moved to consolidate all of its rail lines in South Jersey to form the unified Atlantic City Railroad Corporation.

    During the first half of 1887, yet another discussion arose about extending the rails beyond Mount Ephraim, this time precipitated by the firm of E.S. & F. Bateman, a farm implement manufacturer located below Blackwoodtown in the small community of Spring Mills. The Bateman firm and other people continued writing to officials in Camden and Philadelphia concerning the extension throughout 1887 and 1888. Local citizens informally organized the Camden County Railroad Company and began paying subscription money to the proposed railroad’s appointed treasurer, again hoping to subdivide their land for development. Realizing the seriousness of these citizens, senior Philadelphia & Reading management finally agreed to construct the line. Surveying occurred in the first months of 1889 and in September 1889, the P. & R. formally filed incorporation papers and survey map with the New Jersey Secretary of State. Right-of-way acquisition occurred quickly and construction commenced in 1890. By the end of that year, contractors had laid over five miles of a single track, with the remaining two miles completed in the spring of 1891. The first train entered Spring Mills during March and Bateman shipped their first freight in April. The Philadelphia & Reading management required a name change for the community of Spring Mills, indicating that the company already had two other stations by the name on the railroad system. Frank Bateman, CEO of Bateman Manufacturing Company, chose the name Grenloch—Scottish for Green Lake. It appears that Bateman played a role in selecting other station names for the line, since the vast majority of them had a British basis. Below I have provided a complete list of the station stops along the Camden County Railroad over the line’s lifetime:

    Station Name and Mileage from Camden Terminal
    Mount Ephraim 5.02
    Bellmawr (named for the Bell family) 6.09
    Prospect 6.76
    Third Avenue 7.20
    Runnemede 7.45
    Glendora 8.18
    Chew’s Landing 8.60
    Hilltop 8.93
    Blenheim (formerly Mechanicsville) 10.04
    Blackwood (formerly Blackwoodtown) 10.71
    Asyla (station for county poor farm) 11.82
    Grenloch (formerly Spring Mills) 12.11

    Many of these stops represent new planned communities directly resulting from the line’s construction. Enclosed stations on this list include Mount Ephraim, Bellmawr, Runnemede, Glendora, Hilltop (station building owned by a development company), Blackwood, and Grenloch.

    With the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad adding still more routes to their South Jersey lines during the 1890s, the company moved again to consolidate its holdings and incorporated yet another Atlantic City Railroad Company in June 1901, placing all lines under that corporate umbrella. Atlantic City Railroad operations continued on what was by now called the Grenloch Branch through the 1920s with ever-increasing deficits. The automobile and state-funded road improvements had a tremendous impact on the line’s passenger traffic and to a lesser extent, freight business. In addition, the railroad provided an opportunity for Camden’s urban dwellers to travel a relatively short distance for relief from summer heat, delivering them to resort areas like Blackwood’s Lake Morgan or Grenloch Lake. The railroad ran daily excursion trains to these swimming and entertainment centers where small amusement parks soon sprang up.

    New Jersey state officials recognized the impact of motor vehicle traffic on the railroads. But the state did not want to lose the rail service even though both the Reading and the Pennsylvania railroads had filed service discontinuance petitions many times before New Jersey’s Public Utilities Commission. In addition, the state sought to eliminate as many grade crossings as possible due to the rising number of accidents between trains and automobiles. Competition between the two railroad companies led to even higher deficit spending. Finally during 1931, the state began holding negotiations between the two rail companies to combine South Jersey rail operations, thereby eliminating duplicate trackage and grade crossings. As a result of these negotiations, the two railroads formed the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines in June 1933, with the P.R.R. holding two-thirds of the corporate stock and the Reading possessing the rest. Both companies placed all of their trackage within the new company with the exception of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s waterfront Camden terminal. For the routes to seaside resorts like Cape May and Wildwood, the Reading Company’s Atlantic City trackage survived, while the Pennsylvania Railroad removed their duplicate trackage. The Grenloch Branch remained in service through the formation of the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines, but in 1934, the P.U.C. approved the PRSL’s petition for discontinuing all passenger service on the branch. The last train operated in June 1934.

    Freight service continued operating over the entire Grenloch Branch until 1973, when the PRSL embargoed all traffic below Bellmawr and then abandoned the section of track between Bellmawr and Grenloch. After the line’s abandonment, someone removed the Blackwood Station from its original location; the building was subsequently moved to the Stone House Village in Washington Township, Gloucester County, where it is still situated today. Similar to Blackwood, the Grenloch Station was relocated about 100 yards from its original location and turned into a private dwelling. In 1968, the Pennsylvania Railroad disappeared as a corporate entity when it merged with the New York Central to form the Penn Central Corporation. All subsidiaries and leased lines were included in this merger. By 1970, Penn Central had entered bankruptcy, although some transportation movements continued. The early to mid-1970s was not a good period to own stock in a northeastern railroad; most were also in bankruptcy as freight traffic dropped precipitously and track maintenance was usually deferred. However, throughout this entire period, the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines remained an active and separate company from Penn Central. Congress, knowing that federal action was required to save the infrastructure of these railroads passed the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 and commissioned the United States Railway Administration to develop an overall plan. The U.S.R.A. filed a preliminary plan in February 1975, detailing, after exhaustive analysis, which railroads and branch lines should be retained and which should be abandoned. Growing out of this report, the United States Congress created the Consolidated Rail Corporation, or Conrail, to assume control, effective April 1, 1976, of the lines deemed worthy of continued service.

    Even though the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines, unlike Penn Central, remained a viable railroad corporation, the U.S.R.A. report recommended that the trackage become part of Conrail, along with the parent companies of the PRSL, the Pennsylvania (a.k.a. Penn Central) and the Reading Railroad. In the mid-1980s, Congress rejected a takeover bid by Norfolk Southern Railroad and ordered Conrail to “go public” by offering stock. In 1994, Norfolk Southern again tried to negotiate with Conrail for a merger. Consequently, Conrail aligned itself with CSX Corporation and Norfolk Southern attempted a hostile takeover through stock acquisition. Conrail, Norfolk Southern and CSX finally agreed to find a compromise, which they reached in 1997. Norfolk Southern and CSX agreed to divide Conrail’s main trackage between them and to share all terminal duties and facilities. Today, the remaining trackage on the Grenloch Branch to Bellmawr is operated by a CSAO (Conrail Shared Asset Operation). The only present customers on the line are located in the Bellmawr Industrial Park.

    Now, regarding your question about the “W. Lamont Camden” item, it is made of marble and was probably once part of an elaborate memorial, likely installed by the county, on to which Lamont placed his maker mark. William Lamont was a 41-year-old memorial maker located on Haddon Avenue in Camden. He had immigrated from Ireland and lived in Camden with his wife and children by 1910.

    The cemetery you visited dates to the days when Camden County’s Lakeland complex included an almshouse and farm, an insane asylum, a tuberculosis hospital, and a hospital for the indigent. Over time, Camden County buried indigent residents from all over the county along with any unidentified bodies found along river and stream banks, etc. Burials continue to occur here at this cemetery. Lakeland as an institution has a very long history extending back to the eighteenth century when Gloucester County maintained its almshouse and insane asylum here. After March 1844, when the legislature erected Camden County out of Gloucester County, the two counties shared the facility with Camden County paying Gloucester County a fee for its use. The dual usage concept proved futile and in 1860 Camden County arranged to buy the Gloucester County facility and 372 acres for just under $20,000. Camden County added land to the complex during the ensuing years.

    There are few headstones there because either the family could not afford them or the person died without any living relatives. The county does maintain records for the burial ground.

    Best regards,
    Jerseyman
  19. Teegate Administrator

    Member Since:
    Sep 17, 2002
    Jerseyman,

    Thank you for all the info. I suspected because the stones only had basic info on them they were for someone who had no family. There actually are quite a few pieces of stone with nothing on them. Just flat smooth stones. I was thinking they were family plot corners but maybe they aren't.

    I know first hand about that. If you travel Browning Road enough you one day will be coming upon the tracks and a train whistle will scare the crap out of you. They sit right at the tracks hidden by trees waiting for the traffic to stop.


    There is a photo in the Black Horse Pike book showing hundreds of people on the beach at Blackwood Lake. They took the Peanut Line there on their travels from Philly to get out of the city. Nobody will want to swim there now...at least I wouldn't.

    Guy
  20. CurMUDgeon New Member

    Member Since:
    Apr 30, 2010
    Location:
    Where needed.
    NJ and possible North American record?

    It is very important that this sighting of a Blue Crane be written up and submitted the the NJ Bird Records Comm. It is very possibly a North American record! As the administrator of the site, I assume you have enough knowledge of NJ birds not to be calling a common species like the Great Blue Heron a Blue Crane so this is an important sighting! I can't believe it languished so long in these messages without it showing up on some sighting hotlines!

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