Union clay works is about 3 miles from Bullock. Its in Lacey Township near Manchester.You CAN get their from Bullock,or the first dirt road south of the Route 539 fire tower.Old Half Way is about 2 miles from Woodmansie,its also known as Hidden Lakes.Its about 2 large clay pits but I have found some foundations.Union Clay Works is about 2 miles from Old Half Way.One of the Tombstones still has writing on it,ATCHKINSON died around 1877.The other tombstone has nothing left on it.
You are the first person in 25 years I heard call Old Half Way Hidden Lakes. Hidden Lakes is all it was called when I frequented there, until I read Beck's books back then and realized it was Old Half Way.
Does anyone else remember it as Hidden Lakes?
Also, you should get pictures of the stones before they are no longer there.
Guy, I had a post from the old board concerning the pits. I copied it below:
When you were young and full of yourself, did you ever happen to party at the clay pits north of route 72 near Woodmansie (circa 1970-1980)?
What a hoot that was, and what a strange section of the pines it remains to this day. Old maps list this area as the Union Clay Works. It is south by southwest of Pasdena, so that makes sense.
The 2 main pits have been dug down to the water table and are constantly full of water with a green tint due to the light bouncing off the clay (my supposition). You can still see cars at the bottom in several locations from some of the more wild and crazy guys.
There is (or does not appear to be) no water outlet in the area. This is generally a very high area of the pines with the average elevation around 180 feet with several nosebleeds up to 200 or so feet.
Just southwest about a mile is the abandoned town of Red Oak Grove. At least I think its a town. In Jack Cervetto's book he says there was a large building there wherein they made clay pipes etc.
This entire area was a party town for many years, from the smoke hazed hippie days all the way through the disco years. More than one person was killed or seriously hurt climbing the clay embedded walls on motorcycle or quad. It was quite a feat--you would get about 3/4 of the way up, and the clay would start to cause your wheels to spin, and then all hell would break loose.
I camped there one time around 1971, and there was a roving patrol of sherrif deputies busting people for smoking a little pot. Real crazy times.
The main road in started at the railroad tracks at Woodmansie. The road was taken over by a sand company, and they have dug the biggest damn hole in the pines I have ever seen. It is huge. You can look down and see a barge with a crane on it sucking sand and gravel out of the bottom of the lake and transporting it via elevated pipe to the main distribution plant. They have already sucked one hole clean, and have moved on to another. They planted trees in rows all around the abandonded hole. It looks kinda funny, like it doesn't blend in with the pines. But don't get me started on sand and gravel plants, thats another story altogether.
This is an important area ecologically. As the ground slopes away in all directions, several main creeks are have a portion of their source where the ground begins to level off; the Cedar Creek, the Rancoacas Creek, the Wading River, and its sister, the Oswego.
I first visited the place in 1973. The man I worked with had a 72 Land Cruiser and until I bought my own in 1975, we spend many a days there. I have about 50 photos from there and I have included 5 links to them at the bottom.
I drove there one night in 1975 and it was packed with people partying. I drove into the pit and and headed across to the other side and obviously had to go up the hill to get out. So I plowed my way up and as I crested the top there were people screaming and waving at me.
Unknown to me was that there were people laying on the ground at the top of the hill and I was heading toward them. All I saw as I stopped was people scrambling to get out of the way. They were not very pleased at me, so I slowly pushed through the crowd and left without a bottle being thrown at me. I was happy.
Finally, someone makes me feel young. I'm only 38. LOL And I'm not from South Jersey. I grew up in North Jersey (western Morris County) and have only lived here in South Jersey since 1985. I was never wild when I was a teenager and was never a partyer. I've been a fanatic about nature and local history for just about forever and have been exploring the Pines since `85. I've been to the Pasadena site several times, but have never been to the Union Clay Works and other similar places up there. It's a bit far me since I'm 6 or 7 miles south of Batsto, as the crow flies. But one of these days I'd like to get up there. Of course there are plenty of places ALL OVER the Pine Barrens that I have not been to yet.
I used to have FUN with my 4x4 back in the 80's,until the state came in and cleaned things up.Here is a link to some very nice photos of a club having fun at the pits.http://www.jeeppix.com/pinies/thepit1.htm
I checked out your pics, Steve. I have owned 4x4s and that stuf is fun, or at least it used to be for me, but it really doesn't belong on state or other public lands any more than the paintball nonsense in another post does. Especially when the area is of historical significance and the landscape is being changed by rough driving.
That being said, there was a time when those things were not appreciated by me and I would have been right out there with you. I just look at things a litle differently now that I have learned more and have kids that I hope have some of the wonders of the Barrens left for them to enjoy when they are older.
Those pics are not mine,I just found them on the web.But I have to confess,I did my share of hill climbing back then.Back in the mid 80's (I think)the State Police stopped people from going back there.The area started to get cleaned up.Gone were the large wild drinking parties,burned out cars and boats,trash,topless women,wet t-shirt contests(miss those two,lol),hot dog vendors(yes hot dog vendors),injuries and deaths.I took my nine year old son there last year.He thought the area was really cool.We both had fun skipping rocks across the water.It was very CLEAN AND QUIET and I hope it stays that way.
met a nice couple using there gps today out at red oak grove. i was out checking some hunting areas. i was the guy with the chigger suit. any luck with the grave site? ive been coming to that spot for years and was blown away by the history they informed me about. anyway good luck maybe i will see you out there soon! great board !