Long Pond Ironworks dates back to 1766, when German ironmaster Peter Hasenclever acquired the land around Long Pond and several large nearby tracts, and forged ahead with big plans to create furnaces, forges, roads, dams, and a village for his workers. A furnace was built and put into operation, but investors soon dropped their backing, judging Hasenclever’s plans to be far too expensive and risky. The ironworks changed hands several times over the decades.
By the mid-1800s, industrialists Peter Cooper and Abram S. Hewitt had shown an interest, and they purchased the operation in 1853. They built two new, large furnaces and erected two 25-foot overshot waterwheels and supporting waterworks to operate them. Among its other strengths, iron from Long Pond was of a quality suitable to be used for gun barrels for the Union Army. Unfortunately, the demise of the ironworks was swift as it became apparent how much cheaper it was to forge iron in regions to the west, where Pennsylvania’s coal and the Great Lakes’ iron ore could more efficiently fuel and feed the furnaces. Long Pond’s furnaces were last lit in early 1882. Currently the site is in poor shape, but the Friends of Long Pond Ironworks are working toward restoration.
Rich and I visited the Ironworks as part of our day-long explorations of some of Northern New Jersey’s iron mining areas. We began by seeking out the exploratory pits and shafts associated with the Winston Mine on Monks Mountain, then headed to the Ironworks. After wandering among the ruins to get a sense of the scale and an appreciation for the masterful work of its builders, we took a long slow walk along some of the adjacent trails. Our final stop was the remains of the Patterson Mine, north and then east along an old carriage road from the Ironworks, and atop a wooded hill.
- Owner: BrianSnat
- Location: N 41° 08.935' W 074° 18.600'
- Log Type: Found it
- Date: 20 January 2006
- Original Geocaching.com listing
I received the book “Iron Mine Trails” as a holiday gift from Rich, and for a few weeks I could barely wait for a day we both had off together (hoping that it would be a warm, dry day as well). This Friday was such a day, just perfect to begin our explorations of Northern New Jersey’s iron mines. We began by hiking Monks Mountain and exploring the remains of the Winston Mine complex. After a leisurely morning spent poking around the old pits and tailings and peering into the deeper shafts, we headed back to the car and changed into shorts for the second half of our adventure.
As recommended, we parked just off Route 511 in Hewitt and headed in on the blue-blazed trail toward the ironworks. We passed the remains of the sawmill, the long house (where we also spotted two survey markers), the old store and post office and the ice house before reaching the iron furnaces themselves. I love finding manmade structures in the woods and then trying to discover their original purpose, and as we later discovered, the Friends of Long Pond Ironworks website is a valuable resource. This was a fascinating area and I could have spent hours here exploring the ruins. The furnaces are in fair shape and seem to be undergoing some reconstruction. The waterwheels and, especially, the trough north of the furnaces built in 1873 for a much larger waterwheel (which was never constructed) were awesome. The care and intricate work put into these massive structures is quite a testament to the spirit and skills of our ancestors, and it’s quite a shame that they not only fell into ruin, but that their ruin was hastened by vandals with no regard for the importance this area once held for our area and our country.
Our main goal for the day was simply to enjoy the ability to hike in Winter without being bundled up (can’t beat a 60° day in January!) and slowly explore the wonders of this new area, making the most of a short Winter day. Consequently any nearby geocaches or benchmarks were simply not a priority. But on our way back to the ironworks from the Patterson Mine, in cooling temperatures and fading daylight, I noticed that we were just a few hundred feet from your cache. We needed a rest/snack break anyway, so we decided to take a quick look. Coordinates were just fine and though I was momentarily fooled by another very likely hiding spot, we soon found the correct spot and pulled out the cache. Everything was in fine condition. I traded nothing and left a short note in the tiny logbook. The cache is in a lovely spot that will be just perfect for a lazy, relaxing picnic in a few months. Thanks so much for giving us yet another little adventure to add to the story of our day!
For more information on the history of Long Pond and iron mines and furnaces in this region, I highly recommend James M. Ransom’s book “Vanishing Ironworks of the Ramapos: the Story of the Forges, Furnaces, and Mines of the New Jersey-New York Border Area.” It is held by a number of local libraries.