Five Abandoned Places to Explore In New Jersey This Creepy Season

Five Abandoned Places to Explore In New Jersey This Creepy Season

Today is the first of October, which means it’s the scariest time of the year.  Many people enjoy the Halloween season because of the costumes, the candy and the thrills that come from urban exploration. To start of this Halloween season, here’s a list of abandoned places in New Jersey that you can explore…some at your own risks. 

  1. St. Patricks’ Cemetery (Hibernia, NJ)

A short hike along the wildcat ridge trail lies a cemetery in the mountain ridge. St. Patricks’ cemetery (est. 1869) is the final resting place to 440 Irish immigrants, many of whom worked the mines in the area. The small mining community called the “Hibernia Village was home to 800 residents. The town welcomed immigrants from Ireland, Austria and Hungary. It had a church, and a school. The Town saw a decline in the early 20th century when in 1910, the church burned to grown. In 1915, the mining company shut down the mines in this community.  There is still a town, with businesses but you can still find the remnants of the mines are still present. The Cemetery only has 40 of tombstones that stood the test of time.  Today, the descendants of these miners go up and clean the graves of their ancestors. 

2. Wallpack (Wallpack township, NJ)

Wallpack was the first incorporated municipality in Sussex County, NJ dating back to 1731. In 1955, A proposal for the U.S. Army of engineers made by congress made plans to alleviate flooding on the Delaware River by constructing a dam. This Dam, which would have been 10 miles south of Walpack would have created a lake that would put Walpack underwater. Residents were against the proposal but eventually, hundreds of Walpack’s residents were forced moved out. Soon financial problems a rised as the funding for the dam was allocated to funding the Vietnam War. Although the dam was never built, the town never fully regain its population. At it’s peak, Walpack was once home to more than 800 residents. As of 2020, the town of Walpack only has 16 residents.

Today, Walpack serves as an open-air museum where people can go and explore abandoned homes, a post office, a church and a school.  On Each house, there’s some information on who was the last owner and what their occupation was.  

3. The deserted village (Berkeley Heights, NJ):

Located in the Watchung Reservation, the Feltville Historic District, also known as “the deserted village”, was a small mill town and farming community. The first settler was Peter Willcox, an Englishman who moved to the area from Long Island in 1736. He bought land and built a sawmill that was later demolished as more people came to the area. In 1844, David Felt, A businessman from Boston, Massachusetts bought land from the Willcox family to expand production from his mill. He built the mill, two dams for the mill, and a town for the workers. He named the town “feltville”

After 15 years and other failed business ventures, David Felt sold the property and the town became known as “the deserted Village”. In 1882 the Land was bought by Warren Ackerman who turn the town into a summer resort called Glenside Park. However, as people started to vacation down the shore for the summer, thus closing Glenside Park in 1916. The village was left vacant again.  In the 1920’s the Union County Park Commission purchased the area and included it in the Watchung Reservation.  It was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in June of 1980. 

            Today, the remain structures include eight houses, a church, a carriage house, and a general house.  Only three families remain as permanent residents, but the remainder of this site is open to visitors who want to learn history or urban explorers.

4. Abandoned Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital (Glen Gardner, NJ)

Opening in 1907,  The hospital was first called the Musconetcong Sanitarium for tuberculosis diseases, providing health care to 500 patients a year. Between 1907 and 1929, over 10,000 people were treated at this facility. In 1970 the hospital closed and was left abandoned. In 1977, The Senator Garret W. Hagedorn psychiatric Hospital was built next to abandoned tuberculosis hospital. In 2011, The hospital shut its doors for good.

Today, you can still visit the asylum, however it’s highly recommended you go either in the morning or evening because the grounds are still own by the state of New jersey and trespassers will be arrested and pay a fine if found on the property. EXPLORE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

5. First Street jail house (Newark, NJ)

 

Built in 1837 by English Architect John Haviland, who was known throughout the world as the “jailer to the world” because of his construction of jails and prisons one of which was the notorious Eastern State Penitentiary. The building is a two-story built was originally the Warden’s house and the east wing. As Newark’s population began to grow in 1890 the prison expanded its original structure with 300 more cells, a North wing, women’s’ wing, a hospital, Garage, and laundry room.  The prison was often overcrowded due to events like the 1967 Newark Riots. It served as Essex County main jail until 1971 when a new prison was built. In 1991, scenes for the Spike Lee film, Malcom X were shot at the Jail.  In that same year, the old Essex County jail was added to the National Registry of Historic Places. In 2003, a fire burnt down the woman’s ward. 

There have been plans to revive the building. Rutgers Law School tried to de-register the building from the NRHP for it to be demolished and build a new facility for law students.

Today the building is in a state of disrepair. The jail is rapidly decaying, and many sections have already fallen due to the lack of maintenance and having no security around the building making it accessible to trespassers and urban explorers.

However, be very careful when visiting because it is said that gang activity happens here as well as drug deals gone wrong. Several corpses have been found in the cells and on the grounds of this structure that may have died from overdose. 

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