Walkers Forge Mansion

buckykattnj

Scout
Feb 22, 2010
39
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Atlantic County At-Large
S-M, I'm confused on a few points here... can you better define "some years ago"? I walked much of the area marked with the white arrow (modern Forty Wire at South River) about 25 years ago, and there was little sign that anything had been there in the past 50+ years. In fact, the only thing I found at all was a single piece of ironstone. In any case, you're saying that the Walker Mansion was very close to modern day Forty Wire Rd... and therefore is not the same as the John Estell Jr. House at the intersection of Walkers Forge Rd and US50, as I and several others have long thought.

Also, concerning the Old Baker Trail... it was my understanding that was a roughly east-west path that was entirely north of modern day US40. A. Phifer Place on your map appears to be Bears Head Rd... is that the same as the Baker Trail?

BKNJ
 

Spung-Man

Explorer
Jan 5, 2009
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Richland, NJ
loki.stockton.edu
S-M, I'm confused on a few points here... can you better define "some years ago"? I walked much of the area marked with the white arrow (modern Forty Wire at South River) about 25 years ago, and there was little sign that anything had been there in the past 50+ years. In fact, the only thing I found at all was a single piece of ironstone.
BKNJ
BKNJ,

I was born in 1959, and remember talk of the ruins so suspect the structure burned down a half-century ago. What remained was later bulldozed so little will remain. Walker's ironstone homestead is where the 1872 map shows it.

Also, concerning the Old Baker Trail... it was my understanding that was a roughly east-west path that was entirely north of modern day US40. A. Phifer Place on your map appears to be Bears Head Rd... is that the same as the Baker Trail?

What I am calling Old Baker Trail is N/S between Walkers Ford and the Baker Place, and is the progenitor to the modern straight (Merton Tract) Baker Avenue further west, just beyond Harley Avenue. Baker crossed Bears Head Road in two spurs. Today's Bears Head Road is a modern iteration of the ancient Bears Head Trail that connected Leamings Mill (Millville) with Mays Landing, fording the Great Egg Harbor River about where the West Jersey trestle is (a dangerous crossing due to sea level rise) to connect with the Long-A-Coming near the Iliff Plantation.

S-M
 
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GermanG

Piney
Apr 2, 2005
1,081
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Little Egg Harbor
Thanks for the information S-M. It seems like this was a case similar to Pasadena/Brooskbrae, with two closely-located sites being confused with each another (with a little help from Beck ;))
 
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Kevinhooa

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Mar 12, 2008
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Spung-man's white arrow location is what I had always thought was the forge area. I explored it years ago, and although I found several pieces of ironstone, some rather large, I could not locate any forge slag, and came to the conclusion I would have to continue the search in other parts of the area.

As for the mansion, I really think it's too far from the forge location to be directly associated or built for it. Like what was posted by Turtle way back, it seems it could have been used at some point by work involved with the forge, but that's about as far as that would go. Being so close to the Estell works, my money is with that.

Great read guys, and thanks for all of the contributed info and maps.
 

Spung-Man

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Jan 5, 2009
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Richland, NJ
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Sorry, been busy with work and talk preparation for the Philadelphia Geological Society presentation (01-21-16). Below is a poor copy of a Walkers Forge survey that I've enhanced to show water features and roads. The lower millpond is Naomi Steelman's on Stephens Creek and the upper millpond Walkers Forge on South River. It appears that the manor house was at the red arrow, although some have told me indeed it was on the north side of the river!

Screen shot 2016-01-20 at 11.51.58 AM.png
S-M
 
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Boyd

Administrator
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Jul 31, 2004
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Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
Very cool! After a career of over 40 years as a scenic designer I found those drawings especially interesting. You could use them to build a replica of the house. :)
 

Spung-Man

Explorer
Jan 5, 2009
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Richland, NJ
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Willy,

The HABS document is for the Twin Lake Holding Company, and this is what I understand to be their real estate interest known as Twin Lakes (now Harding Lakes), seen here on the c.1931 aerial photomosaics:

My parents moved to Harding Lakes when first married (Liberty Avenue), then moved to the family farm at Buckhorn—a Milmay suburb—when I was born in 1959. Buckhorn was on the edge of Walker land, and Waldeck Road by Bertuzzi's Farm Market commemorates Walker & Decker, partners who had a venture here to grow licorice, tobacco, peanuts, and Angora goats starting in WWI and folding during the Depression. Walkers were involved with the Cannon Range too:


Some Walker family members early on lived in Richland, but their main office still exists as the white shot-gun house across the road from the Bertuzzi farm stand, the one surrounded by yellow-grove bamboo. The Waldeck Farms store, cafeteria/hall, and dormitory were in Milmay, as was the Star Tobacco Company. The Walker-Decker house architecture stood in stark contrast with the typical 2-story Pine Barrens house design that most folks were familiar with. People came from miles around to see this novel place, and partake in spirited parties with flappers! Barrels of Walker moonshine filled our tractor barn to the rafters during Prohibition—but this was before our family moved there of course. Cannon Range 100-Acre Field (the old cannon range) was an airstrip used to transport hooch to Atlantic City. At times the planes were so heavily loaded they would just barely top the trees during takeoff.

S-M
 
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willy

Scout
Jul 16, 2014
44
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galloway nj
Willy,

The HABS document is for the Twin Lake Holding Company, and this is what I understand to be their real estate interest known as Twin Lakes (now Harding Lakes), seen here on the c.1931 aerial photomosaics:

My parents moved to Harding Lakes when first married (Liberty Avenue), then moved to the family farm at Buckhorn—a Milmay suburb—when I was born in 1959. Buckhorn was on the edge of Walker land, and Waldeck Road by Bertuzzi's Farm Market commemorates Walker & Decker, partners who had a venture here to grow licorice, tobacco, peanuts, and Angora goats starting in WWI and folding during the Depression. Walkers were involved with the Cannon Range too:


Some Walker family members early on lived in Richland, but their main office still exists as the white shot-gun house across the road from the Bertuzzi farm stand, the one surrounded by yellow-grove bamboo. The Waldeck Farms store, cafeteria/hall, and dormitory were in Milmay, as was the Star Tobacco Company. The Walker-Decker house architecture stood in stark contrast with the typical 2-story Pine Barrens house design that most folks were familiar with. People came from miles around to see this novel place, and partake in spirited parties with flappers! Barrels of Walker moonshine filled our tractor barn to the rafters during Prohibition—but this was before our family moved there of course. Cannon Range 100-Acre Field (the old cannon range) was an airstrip used to transport hooch to Atlantic City. At times the planes were so heavily loaded they would just barely top the trees during takeoff.

S-M
Thanks for the information Spungman!
 
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