It has been a long time since I sat down to write a blog post! As you probably already know, we moved to Monksville Reservoir this summer, and are stationed at the South Boat Launch. Our sign at the road looks like this:
We absolutely love being at the reservoir--part of Long Pond Ironworks State Park, this is an area with a lot of interesting history.
Monksville Reservoir has a surface area of 505 acres of water and holds 5 million gallons. There are three main access points--the North Launch, Beech Rd, and of course the South Launch. We share Monksville with fishermen, other paddling enthusiasts, the Highlands Rowing Center, SEAS (Society for the Education of American Sailors), and the L.L. Bean Discovery School.
Originally, Monksville was a section of West Milford in a valley where the Monks family lived. History of the family and the area lives on in the writings of Minni May Monks, who showed her appreciation of her home with poems and stories, some of which can be found online through the Ringwood Library. The land was deeded to the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission in 1928 by the family. After facing what the NY times called a "cycle of droughts," which had caused water rationing in 1980 and 1985 the amount of 50g per day for about 2 million people, the Reservoir was built to prevent further drought. The Monks cemetery was relocated in 1983, in preparation for the building of the dam, which began in 1985. In 1987, the building of the 150-foot high dam was complete, and the area was flooded by the Wanaque River in the Fall. Some homes were relocated, while others went under water.
On the other side of the reservoir, notably near an area known to locals as "the sunken forest," is the site of Long Pond Ironworks. This in an area founded in the late 1700s as an Ironworking community by a German man named Peter Hasenclever. Mr. Hasenclever is credited for bringing hundreds of German ironworkers and their families over to operate the ironworks, which would go on to produce iron for the army in both the War of 1812 and the Union in the Civil War.
Situated next to the Wanaque River, the ironworking community was successful due to a dam built in 1765 at the south end of the "Long Pond," currently known as Greenwood Lake. ("Long Pond" was the original translation of the Native American name for Greenwood Lake) At the time, Greenwood Lake was not as long as it is today--the South end was even with today's Fox Island, and is not the same dam that is currently found further South in Awosting. The 1765 dam allowed for the operation of waterwheels, a furnace and a forge. You can see the remains of the forge, waterwheels, and some of the old buildings including the general store, which is now the Long Pond Ironworks Museum. The Ironworks were in operation until 1882.
The Friends of Long Pond Ironworks, Inc. maintain the historical site and offers weekend tours and events. Definitely worth checking out! (And I can say that with certainty--I've been going on these tours since I was a child :)
Click on the links throughout the text to find the source of the information, and to learn more.
And come see Long Pond Ironworks State Park for yourself!