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If you’re searching for ghost towns in New Jersey, we’ve got you covered! Below are 13 different ghost towns you can explore across the great state of New Jersey along with their status and exact GPS coordinates.
We rate ghost towns in New Jersey based on their status. Here’s how our system works:
- Abandoned: Is abandoned with ruins and structures in a decayed state. Great for urban explorers.
- Historic: Preservation efforts have been made and sometimes plaques installed. Great for everyone.
- Barren: Almost nothing remains of the town. Ideal for metal detectorists.
- Commercial: Is commercially owned with amenities, restaurants, and stores. Great for families.
- Semi-Abandoned: Abandoned areas with a small population in the area.
- Privately Owned: Tours might be available but not open to the general public.
1. Ong’s Hat
There is no solid historical evidence to support the existence of the mythical Ong’s Hat, but a map of the region shows that it existed well before the American Revolution.
The encampment for the Hessian troops was located in this area in 1778, according to Henry Charlton Beck, who wrote a history of southern New Jersey ghost towns. In the 1860s, Ong’s Hat was a lively community, serving as the social center for surrounding towns. Prizefighting and alcohol were popular, giving the town a rough and tumble vibe.
The town is located deep in the Pine Barrens, with some believing that the ruins have a supernatural connection. Others think that it was the source of some strange activity and had opened a portal to other worlds. However, there’s no proof for these theories.
2. Pleasant Mills
Located in the central region of Morris County, Pleasant Mills, NJ, is home to a variety of small and large businesses.
Originally a cotton mill, it ceased operations in 1925 but continues to be of historical significance due to the industrial past of the area. In addition to manufacturing textiles, the town also produced paper and iron. The town’s industrial heritage includes a nearby iron forge and glasshouse.
The mill was originally destroyed after being burned down by fire in 1878, but was rebuilt in the early twentieth century and converted to paper production.
Of the three other mills in the area, only the Pleasant Mills Paper Co. survived to the present. The Atsion Cotton Mill closed down in the 1880s, and all three bog iron forges had gone down by the 1870s. Today, the mill makes heavy papers using rope, jute, and salt hay. It was founded by a miller named William Pleasant in the late 1880s. It is one of the few remaining mills in the area.
3. South Cape May
In the mid-20th century, the town was almost gone, destroyed by violent superstorms. Hurricanes and nor’easters repeatedly battered the shoreline, causing damage to foundations and homes. The Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 nearly wiped out the town. By the 1950s, most residents had relocated or fled the town. However, South Cape May continues to be a popular vacation destination and has many attractions.
The Emlen Physick Estate, now a museum, is the highlight of the town’s attractions. Walk the 3 pedestrian blocks of Washington Street or visit the Cape May Lighthouse to see the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. The town is home to a variety of eateries, shops, and museums. South Cape May has something to offer every vacationer.
This unincorporated community is located six miles northwest of New Gretna in the Pine Barrens. Although most of the town has since been abandoned, you can still visit the remaining structures, including a grist mill and saw mill. This town was also home to a paper mill and was one of the largest in the country at the time.
Today, Harrisville lies as a ghost town surrounded by nature, with only foundation outlines and an abandoned mill. Of all the ghost towns in New Jersey, Harrisville is my personal favorite.
Feltville was a prosperous mill town that ceased operation in the early twentieth century. Feltville was named after a local businessman who owned a mill in the town’s center. The village was home to 175 people, including a local pastor. After the Civil War, the town became a sleepy summer resort.
However, after two major hurricanes, interest in the town waned. In the 1880s, Feltville was bought by the Union Country Park Commission and developed as a summer resort. Many of the buildings have been abandoned or are in ruins.
Visitors are encouraged to visit the historic district during the autumn to experience the eerie atmosphere. Feltville’s ghost story can be told in several ways, making it a great place for a small day trip or weekend with the family.
6. Batsto Village
The name of Batsto comes from a Swedish word for “bathing place.” It is settled near the Batsto River in 1766. The town was the site of an ironworks, which produced supplies for the American Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. The town grew around this industry and the surrounding village.
However, as the iron industry declined, the town turned to glass-making. This was not a successful business, so in 1876, a Philadelphia banker purchased the village. In the following years, the town was developed into a historic village within the Pine Barrens. The town is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today urban explorers can photograph and explore various ruins, abandoned structures, and old homes in Batsto and the surrounding area.
7. Double Trouble
If you are a fan of ghost towns, then you should visit Double Trouble State Park in the Pine Barrens. This eerie place is filled with over a dozen structures that have been abandoned or have fallen into disrepair.
These include a weathered general store, cranberry pickers’ houses, and even a schoolhouse. The park is part of the 1.1 million-acre Pinelands National Reserve, the largest expanse of open space on the East Coast from Boston to Richmond.
There are still plenty of preserved structures to see in the area. If you’re in the area, this is definitely one of the ghost towns in New Jersey you won’t want to miss.
If you’re a history buff and you enjoy the idea of traveling back in time, you’ll want to visit Millbrook, New Jersey. This quaint village is reconstructed from the early nineteenth century, and shows visitors the way people lived in the 1800s.
Whether you’re visiting Millbrook to enjoy the history, or take photos, you can’t miss the annual Millbrook Days celebration. This annual event celebrates late 19th-century rural life with costumed volunteers demonstrating crafts and trades. You can also experience a bit of rural life as you listen to traditional music while enjoying the beautiful natural scenery.
While you’re in Millbrook, consider taking a stroll along the paths in the village, or stay off into some of the ruins off trail.
9. Raritan Landing
Historically, the town was an inland port, the farthest upstream point that ocean-going ships could reach. The town of Raritan Landing has a number of attractions, including an archaeological site in Johnson Park. Archeological excavations there have unearthed hundreds of thousands of artifacts and building foundations from different periods. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Since the area was protected as a historic site, there’s still plenty to see and do in the area that is open to the public, making it one of the best legal ghost towns in New Jersey to visit.
10. Wallpack Center
The town of Walpack Center was founded in 1731 and is home to 25 square miles of land. It was named 18th place to live by New Jersey Monthly Magazine in 2008. It is the oldest town in Sussex County and the oldest in New Jersey. Once a thriving community, Walpack Center has fallen into a state of decline. After the federal government purchased the surrounding countryside for a dam, the town deteriorated year by year.
Today, there are no people to call Walpack Center home, but the town’s mayor and Township Clerk are still there to give visitors a sense of what once was. The area now runs a nonprofit organization called the Whitesbog Preservation keeping the past alive for visitors.
11. Whitesbog Village
The village’s history dates back to the early twentieth century. The town was home to the largest cranberry farm in New Jersey during the early 1900s. The White family’s Joseph J. White and his wife, Elizabeth C. White, were recognized nationally for their contributions to the cranberry industry. They worked closely with U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher Dr. Frederick A. Coville to develop the first cultivated blueberry.
The village is located at 120 W Whites Bogs Road #34, Browns Mills, NJ. You can take a scenic drive to the Whitesbog Village or just walk around and enjoy the views. While you’re there, make sure to visit the Whitesbog General Store, located in the village. The general store is open on weekends from 10am to 3pm.
12. Waterloo Village
This historic site served as half-way point on the Morris Canal, which ran from Jersey City to Phillipsburg. Now, it’s a tourist destination for people interested in canal history. Originally, the canal was used to transport goods to and from New York City, Philadelphia, and Phillipsburg.
The restoration of Waterloo Village began in 1967, when Percy ‘Percy’ Leach and Lou Gualand, both interior designers, founded the nonprofit organization called the “Waterloo Foundation For the Arts” to raise funds for the restoration of the historic village. Together, they re-established a working craft village that features working craftspeople such as weavers and candle dippers. In 1977, the village was opened to the public as a live history tourist destination.
Waterloo Village has a variety of activities that are available year-round. It’s also home to a local catering company, a gristmill, a church, and a general store. Getting to the village and seeing the historic structures is easy. Parking is only $5 and the money goes directly to the preservation of the village.
13. Port Elizabeth
Mollie was a small town that thrived between 1880 and 1920 during the Indiana Gas Boom. Like many ghost towns in Indiana, the boom and bust of Mollie were centered around a single resource. While natural gas had made Mollie what it was, it ultimately was its demise when the gas was tapped out. This, combined with the shift away from the railroad and toward automobiles cause Mollie to decline.
Nothing is left of the town, and the area is now privately owned by a commercial company.
Go out and explore!
That concludes our list of ghost towns in Indiana, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.