In Search Of: Y-Buc Bridge

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,931
3,023
Pestletown, N.J.
Yesterday, I set out with the dog to find and photograph the area where the photo of Y-Buc Bill crossing a stream on his flathead HD was taken.
This was a stream crossing taking place in 1950.
HD4.jpg


If you recall from my post in the recreation forum, Bill had responded and said that the crossing was behind the Pleasant Mills Church and he described the area very well.
I spoke to Bill again Thursday night and he said it was definitely Sleeper Creek and again gave me good directions to the spot.

This is an area so close by and so well known that I can't believe I haven't been there before.

As I appproached the spot, I dropped down into the lake bed which is evidenced by a long, continuos berm that begins at the Mullica shoreline. The berm is to the right.
mull.jpg


The berm continues throughout the woods.
berm1.jpg


As I closed in on the location using Bill's recollection I was shocked to find a new footbridge constructed on pilings.
Even more shocking, the bridge was built by the Meteor Motorcycle Club, a club founded in 1930 that Bill road with many years ago and a club still exists today in South Jersey.
Here is their signature on the bridge decking.
meteor.jpg


Well I looked at each perspective at the bridge and my guess is this is the perspective of Bill's 1950 photo. This is the Sleeeper looking east.
cross2.jpg

In the background and not visible here are high dunes that appeared as sandbars in the 1930 aerials.

The other perspective is looking west but the ground does not jump up as much as it appears in Bill's 1950 picture.
cross.jpg

The water is about 30" deep at its deepest and little bars exist throughout, making a motorcycle still feasible today. Unfortunately the area is off limits to motorized vehicles.

I continued over the crossing and a marked trail turns north and my GPS said I was .69 from Constable and Bill said they used to cross wit the bikes and then run up between the Muliica and the Sleeper to Constable. That is still do-able today except for the prohibition on motorized vehicles.

The most interesting part of the trip yeterday was realizing that the crossing location was, at one time, under the huge lake created by the damming of the Mullica River that took place before or around the turn of the century.
If you look at the attached map from this site you can see the crossing area beneath the balloon.
http://maps.njpinebarrens.com/#lat=39.64690686598528&lng=-74.66075778007507&z=17&type=nj2007&gpx=
Change the date to the 1930 aerials and you will see the huge lake that existed at least until 1930 and the crossing is under the lake.
http://maps.njpinebarrens.com/#lat=39.64610553379836&lng=-74.65947031974792&z=17&type=nj1930&gpx=

Interestingly, you can pick up a bridged crossing on Historicaerials .com in the 1963 time window.
In 1940 the monster lake was still in existence.
I am attempting a screen capture from Historic aerials.com here that shows a bridge in 1963.

It was an interesting outing, all taking palce in less than an hour.
I am going back again to expolre the canal that linked the lake to the Nescochague. The canal is visible in aerials all the way to the present.

At the end, I walked to the northeast tip of the Pleasant Mills Cemetery, another area that I have never expored and this guy was resting peacefully under a pretty cool tombstone.
country.jpg


I just hope he meant old country.
:)

Scott and Murphy the dog.
 

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bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
14,089
4,184
Pines; Bamber area
Interesting Post Scott. Thanks.

I suppose it was sparse looking in Bill's photo because the pines were just gaining ground again after the lake was drained.

PS: I agree wholeheartedly on the old country vs new country.
 

Y-BUC-BILL

Explorer
Mar 9, 2007
129
26
Scott
Thanks for the leg work and pictures.Lots change in 60 years.sapplings turn into trees.I remember when the State put a halt to motorized vehicles.A trail was put in for people to hike in that area to study the flora and fauna.Guess Meteor M.C. did some bridge construction for the State.I personally liked it the way it was.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
25,497
8,035
Great report and exploring!

Are you sure Bill was crossing a stream and not the canal? Notice in the below map there was a road that crossed the canal back then. The crossing where Bill is at is not as wide as the where the bridge is, but it is about the width of the canal. The map shows a bridge over the canal, and it could be what is shown in Bill's photo.

IMG_7659.jpg



Guy
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,931
3,023
Pestletown, N.J.
I think the bridge you show Guy is the existing bridge location over the canal on what is West Mill Road.
The road I took down through the lake bed yesterday cuts off of West Mill a few hundred yards before (east of) the West Mill Road canal crossing. It was exactly as Bill described.
Here is where I turned off.
http://maps.njpinebarrens.com/#lat=39.64403194039347&lng=-74.66018915176391&z=16&type=topo&gpx=
The location you posted looks like the location of the West Mill Road crossing.

There are areas of the Sleeper that are narrower and wider in the vicinity of the footbridge and keep in mind the Sleeper was just starting to regain its character in 1950 after being submerged for a long period.

The beginning of the road I took yesterday was littered with multiple, irregular, reindeer moss filled depressions that show up in the 1930 aerial.
This warrants another look-see too.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
25,497
8,035
Okay, I was thinking you were referring to where the canal meets the river, but you were on the road further up.

Since you will be in the area, the next time you go visit:

39.64524
-74.66246


Guy
 

Y-BUC-BILL

Explorer
Mar 9, 2007
129
26
Have more pictures of myself riding the sand above the creek crossing.We used this area on a yearly basis.Then the State put an end to that.Wonder how many people walk the trails to look at the flora and fauna?
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
25,497
8,035
I would love to see the photo's Bill. Scott should try to put some sort of watermark on them so nobody else uses them. Even if he just puts NJPineBarrens.com on them. Someone stole Bob's photo and is/was using it.

Guy
 

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,321
313
Near Mt. Misery
Nice report Scott. I haven't been back in that area in a real long time. I don't recall seeing the dedication on the bridge so I am wondering if that was built since I've been back there. The river does look significantly more narrow in Bill's picture than now, as Guy pointed out. Scott, you might be right...that was a long time ago, but maybe Guy is on to something with the canal. I have to look at the location of the canal again.

We would absolutely love to see more photos, Bill!!
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,931
3,023
Pestletown, N.J.
I am really interested in learning more about the huge lake created by the damming of the Mullica.
I don't recall much ever being discussed here about it. It disappeared between 1930 and 1940.
It was one hell of a lake and the canal was part of the operation in some way too.
I can only imagine that it was done for power.
The berm is a very interesting feature of the landscape back there.
 

imkms

Explorer
Feb 18, 2008
586
222
SJ and SW FL
Mullica lake

Very interesting, I did not know about this lake. Do you have an idea of the location of the lake? Sounds like another call to the "Jerseyman"
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,931
3,023
Pestletown, N.J.
I would love to see the photo's Bill. Scott should try to put some sort of watermark on them so nobody else uses them. Even if he just puts NJPineBarrens.com on them. Someone stole Bob's photo and is/was using it.

Guy

I got two more photos tonight of Bill blasting through the sand ridges between the Sleeper and the Mullica on the same day the other photos were taken in 1950.
I will scan tomorrow and post tommorow night.
Scott
 
Apr 6, 2004
3,594
528
Galloway
Wow, how did I miss this thread?

Scott, this gets my vote for best thread ever. But most of the credit, of course, must go to Y-Buc-Bill! That old picture of Y-Buc crossing the Sleeper is priceless to me, as it is without a doubt (probably) the oldest photograph in existence of a place that I hold dearly to my heart.

No offense to Y-Buc-Bill, but at first I said to myself, "No way. This isn't that spot." It looked like your typical recovering cranberry bog: The straight channel (seemingly man-made), the berm, and the bare terrain. But as I kept staring at the photograph, and it started to become clear to me that this indeed was that spot, and that what we are looking at is land that just ten years earlier* was lake bed.

The spot where the newly restored bridge is I believe to have been the site of Joseph Ball's dam (Ball's folly), which was later flooded when New Pond dam was built on the Atsion Creek, only to be exposed again when New Pond dam washed out. Are those ruins in Y-Buc's photo that of Ball's dam? I think so. A portion of those ruins can still be seen in the water today.

I will definitely have more to say on this in the future.

I am going back again to expolre the canal that linked the lake to the Nescochague. The canal is visible in aerials all the way to the present.

There are some interesting ruins in one of those canals, though inaccessible due to the fact that the canal is now flowing. In any case, I should like to join you. Let me know when you plan to go back,

Unfortunately the area is off limits to motorized vehicles.

Unfortunately?

*I have read that the big storm of 1939 had washed out New Pond Dam on Atsion Creek, but the 1940 aerial photo of the area as found on historicaerials.com shows the dam still in place. I'll have to look into this more.
 
Apr 6, 2004
3,594
528
Galloway
rednek said:
I am really interested in learning more about the huge lake created by the damming of the Mullica.
I don't recall much ever being discussed here about it. It disappeared between 1930 and 1940.
It was one hell of a lake and the canal was part of the operation in some way too.
I can only imagine that it was done for power.
The berm is a very interesting feature of the landscape back there.

See here:

http://forums.njpinebarrens.com/showthread.php?t=5781&highlight=mullica+dammed

That pond was known as "New Pond", and as you can see was quite sizeable due to the fact that the dam was built just below the junction of the Atsion and Meschescatauxin Creeks. The dam failed in 1939 during a big storm that also destroyed Miller's Bridge (on the road from Batsto to Weymouth) on Atsion Creek as well as a number of dams and bridges on other tributaries of the Mullica.

New Pond Dam was constructed in 1895 for the purpose of providing water power to the paper mill at Pleasant Mills. In the 1930 aerial photo you can see a canal leading from New Pond to Nescochague Creek. The owners of the paper mill had dug out this canal and dammed the Nescochague - somewhere near the location where Batsto Forge had been - and dug out another canal leading from Forge Pond on Nescochague Creek to Pleasant Mills Pond on Hammonton Creek Thus, the demanding machinery at the paper mill utilized water power from four of the "five forks": Hammonton Creek, Nescochague Creek, Meschescatauxin Creek and Atsion Creek. Still, the paper mill did not receive suffient water power, and the operation ceased
.
 
Apr 6, 2004
3,594
528
Galloway
woodjin said:
The river does look significantly more narrow in Bill's picture than now, as Guy pointed out. Scott, you might be right...that was a long time ago, but maybe Guy is on to something with the canal. I have to look at the location of the canal again.

If you look at the 1956 aerials of the sleeper where the crossing is, you will see that it was much more narrow than it is today. The location depicted in Y-Buc's photo is not the canal linking the Sleeper to the Nescochague. You'll have to take my word for it until I can show you. I say you, Scott and I meet up sometime soon to drink some grape juice and explore lost history.
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,931
3,023
Pestletown, N.J.
If you look at the 1956 aerials of the sleeper where the crossing is, you will see that it was much more narrow than it is today. The location depicted in Y-Buc's photo is not the canal linking the Sleeper to the Nescochague. You'll have to take my word for it until I can show you. I say you, Scott and I meet up sometime soon to drink some grape juice and explore lost history.

Gabe,
Bill is very specific in his descriptions and he says it was the Sleeper, not the canal that he was crossing.
I am going to post two more photos tonight that shows the high sand ridges between the Sleeper and the Mullica.

Thanks for posting the other information. I know I had seen something on here before about New Pond and your post answers a lot of my questions.

I would like to meet you down there this weekend and share some goofy grape.
The grape juice, especially the concord, is very good this year.
Such a wonderful demonstration of God's chemical wizardry.

I'll give you a call.
Scott
 
Apr 6, 2004
3,594
528
Galloway
Scott said:
Gabe,
Bill is very specific in his descriptions and he says it was the Sleeper, not the canal that he was crossing.

I believe it. Besides, the canal was dry by 1950.

What an amazing photo. I'd really like to meet this Y-Buc fellow.
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,931
3,023
Pestletown, N.J.
As promised, here are two more pics of our own HD Y-Buc Bill on the sand ridges between the Sleeper and the Mullica in 1950.
HD7.jpg

HD8.jpg


Keep in mind that the early Harleys were "suicide" shifts with the shifter on the left side of the tank.
To shift you had to let go of the left bar and work the clutch with your foot.
Real men indeed.

My dog and I revisited the area once again late this afternoon with Pinelandpaddler, his lovely companion and their fun loving pooch Zoey and learned more than I can remember about the area.
There is more history in one square mile here than you can ever imagine.

The good company was enjoyed and we sampled a little of my 2009 vintage canalside.
The dogs romped through the cedars and the mud as the sun went down in the pines on a calm Friday night.
Priceless.

Scott
 
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