The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself

Boyfriend and I love to spend our time at local historic sites.  We're fortunate to have NJ's first Governer's Mansion within walking distance, it's one of our favorite haunts.  We were even members of their preservation society, briefly, before the University took posession of the property. 

One of my favorite places as a kid was Waterloo Village, in Sussex County, NJ.  It was once a thriving hamlet, midway between 2 major stops on the old Morris Canal, which carried troops and supplies vital to the Revolutionary War.  It was abandoned sometime during the Great Depression, and left to rot, historic artifacts left exposed to the elements.  Through the 30's and 40's, hobos performed upkeep on the property, claiming it for their own.  At some point in the 60's locals realized the value of what they had left to waste, and the property underwent a revival.  Buildings were restored, and it reopened as an historical park, similar to Colonial Williamsburg, although smaller.  Every kid in the northern half of the state was there for at least one school field trip.  In addition, they held concerts.  I remember Dad taking me to see Willie Nelson, I couldn't have been older than 9 or 10.  I also have a vague memory of seeing The Beach Boys there, but it's old and fuzzy. 

Over the past several years, Waterloo Village has, once again, been left to decay.  I caught this article in the local paper over the Summer, and I was absolutely outraged.  The State and the Historical Society fighting over who owns these artifacts, these pieces of history.  Then I saw this article in Autumn, and outrage didn't even start to cover it.  How can you sell off history to the highest bidder? 

Last night, Boyfriend brought home a copy of one of my favorite magazines, Weird NJ.  They have a 6 page article explaining the history of the property, the current push-me, pull me between the State and the Society, and pictures.  Eighteen full color photos detailing the disarray and decay that has been permitted.  Unfortunately, most of them aren't online, this is one of the few I can find:

Here you can see numerous photos taken sometime in 2007.  The recent pictures are far worse.

It's disgraceful, what the State has allowed to happen to such a valuable piece of our history, our heritage.  We almost lost this site to the elements and vandals once.  If it weren't for the Hobos in the 40's, the whole site would have likely been burnt to the ground by drunken teenagers.  There are people who care, people who want to fix it, and the State won't let them.   






The budget cuts are secondary to the corruption in the Society, which led to the State taking over in the first place.  By then, the Village was so far in debt that the State couldn't do much about it.  It's astonishing to me, that such a beautiful, valuable site isn't allowed to be kept properly.  People are willing to do it FOR FREE!



"If it suddenly ended tomorrow, I could somehow adjust to the fall
Good times and riches and son of a beeeiotches, I've seen more than I can recall"

wow! the picture is truly stunning. and i agree, a disgrace and shame. i can only imagine letting such a landmark go to he!! would be due to budget cuts. either that or the state/gov will only improve or maintain those such areas that are revenue generators.



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