Located in the southern part of the Highlands, the Warren Heritage Scenic Byway travels from Greenwich Township to Hackettstown along Route 57 in Warren County. Route 57 follows a trail first established by the Lenni Lenape Indians to connect camp sites and villages with hunting and fishing grounds. The route was subsequently used by Europeans as they came on horseback and in wagons to settle in the region or to travel to nearby cities. As the early American population grew, farm produce, raw materials and manufactured products needed a way to and from markets in larger population areas such as the Lehigh Valley and New York City. In 1806, a turnpike was established between Phillipsburg and Morristown following the current alignment of Route 57 to accommodate increasing traffic.
Route 57 is locally known for its scenic Highlands setting, rolling fertile valleys and streamside views. This historic roadway segment traverses the region's distinctive mountain ridges, Scotts Mountain, Pohatcong Mountain and Point Mountain, as well as the watershed of three streams, the Musconetcong River, Lopatcong Creek and the Pohatcong Creek. The valleys between these forested ridges are home to agricultural areas and feature the Pleasant Valley, Port Colden and Beattystown historic districts. The Musconetcong River which can be viewed from the roadway in the eastern portion of the route has received National Wild and Scenic Rivers designation along sections of the river.
Along this Byway, motorists can view the Morris Canal, which in 1831 stretched 109 miles and required 34 locks and 23 water-powered inclined planes to overcome the greatest elevation change of any canal in the world. It has been designated as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Today, evidence of the canal, including the towpath and related structures, remains at several locations within the Warren Heritage Scenic Byway corridor. The most obvious remnants of the canal that can be viewed include a boat basin at Port Murray in Mansfield Township, a portion of the canal and towpath in Washington Township at Meadow Breeze Park, a one-mile length of canal prism and towpath at Florence Kuipers Memorial Park in Hackettstown, and a guard lock and towpath trail at Saxton Falls in Stephens State Park in Hackettstown.
The Concrete Mile - Historical marker sign
A historic marker on Route 57 in New Village (Franklin Township) identifies a one-mile segment of the road as "the first concrete highway in New Jersey and one of the first in America," built of Edison Portland Cement in 1912. Remnants of Thomas Edison's massive Portland Cement Company can be found on nearby Edison Road.
Bowerstown on the Morris Canal
Bowerstown Morris Canal Historic District, Plane 7 West
Located one half mile from Pohatcong Native Arboretum. Make right turn leaving arboretum to immediate left turn on Bowerstown Road. Bowerstown Historic District is at the intersection of Bowerstown and Plane Hill Roads.
Look for interpretive sign, tavern and inn, plane tender's house, stone aqueduct which carried Morris Canal over Pohatcong Creek, remains of grist mill, canal store, and tailrace. The road was location of the basin and inclined plane.
Morris Canal Greenway
A Project of Warren County Planning Department and Office of Open Space Preservation. Morris Canal Greenway is a vision to open towpath trails for recreation in Warren County, from Phillipsburg to Saxton Falls near Waterloo Village.
Restored c.1754 stone iron master's home associated with Oxford Furnace.
(Turn right leaving arboretum. Drive one and a half miles to 8 Belvidere Ave, Oxford)
Oxford Furnace, built by Joseph Shippen, was the third iron works established in colonial America, and the very first to use iron ore mined instead of extracted from bogs. Initially, the iron works shipped their products by horse and cart past Foul Rift's treacherous rapids, then in boats down the Delaware River to Philadelphia. Later his brother became owner, Dr. William Shippen, who was a member of the Continental Congress, and "counted among his worthy patients," George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette.
Shippen Manor is open for tours through Colonial and Victorian rooms. There are events, programs for schools, and Sunday concerts on the manor lawn.
Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden
Botanical garden featuring displays of native wildflowers, shrubs, and understory trees in a beautifully constructed setting. Also located in Washington, NJ cross town at Memorial School on 300 West Stewart Street.
The Sigal Museum is a leading institution of local history, and home to significant collections of Native American settlement artifacts, decorative arts, textiles, farming implements, and colonial furniture. The museum is located in historic
Easton, Pennsylvania, with a downtown full of outstanding architectural jewels awaiting your walking tours.
MORRIS CANAL GREENWAY
Walking the Morris Canal
Warren County: Phillipsburg to Waterloo
Skylands Visitor Magazine by Tom Drake
The canal's role as a place for pleasure jaunts continues to this day, with a number of partners involved in turning portions of the canal into recreational paths. Warren County has been an active partner by promoting a greenway corridor and preserving the historic remains of the Canal as an important part of the County's transportation history. The vision is to have this greenway extend across Warren County with the canal as a link to recreational, cultural, and historic areas including state parks and trails, plus municipal and county public open space. This greenway will extend between canal sites in Phillipsburg and the historic Waterloo Village a restored canal town. The canal travels through the scenic Musconetcong, Pohatcong and Lopatcong valleys for thirty-three miles from Phillipsburg, on the west, to the county line near Waterloo on the east. This heritage corridor gives reminders of its glory days; inland ports of call with names like Port Colden, Port Murray, Port Warren, Port Washington, Rock- port and descriptive identities, such as Fresh Bread Lock, Guinea Hollow, and Greene's Bridge.
The Morris Canal was the brainchild of Morristown businessman George Macculloch, who envisioned a commerce route that could surmount North Jersey's rugged terrain to ship coal, iron ore, farm produce and other products across the state. To conquer an unprecedented 1,674-foot change in elevation - 760 feet from the Delaware River at Phillipsburg up to Lake Hopatcong, the summit level, and 914 feet back down to tidewater at Newark Bay - the Morris Canal used a series of locks and a new innovation, the inclined plane. Operated from 1831 to 1924, the Morris Canal was considered an engineering marvel of its time, but, by the end of its life, it had been surpassed by railroads as a shipping route.
Although employed on a smaller scale on English canals, the inclined plane was adapted for the Morris Canal and used to conquer changes of elevation anywhere from 35 feet to 100 feet. The canal boats were floated onto a cradle car, which was pulled out of the water, then up or down on iron rails to the next section of canal. Those iron rails were supported by heavy stone sleepers, which on several of the planes can still be seen, often with a groove worn into them by the thick cable that raised and lowered the cradle car. The route contained 23 lift locks and 23 inclined planes; 7 of each were in Warren County.
Walking the Morris Canal - Waterloo Village and East - Click link to read colorful and interesting article with more history and information!
Historic Sites on the Morris Canal Greenway in Warren County
updated, expanded and adapted by Anthony Pasquini 2019
Morris Canal Greenway in sequence west to east for the explorer!
Easton, PA: National Canal Museum, Canal boat rides at Hugh Moore Park, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, view of stone archway entrance to the Morris Canal across the Delaware River from the Lehigh River
Phillipsburg: New Jersey Transportation Heritage Center (in progress), Delaware River Park; stone archway on the Delaware River, South Main Street at Greene's Bridge in both directions
Lock Street Park, near Alpha: Inclined Plane 10 West. Nearby Locks 8, 9, and 10 West. Historic stone structures and spring house
Stryker's Road, Lopatcong: Excellent stretch of restored towpath trail curving between US 22 and County Route 519
Port Warren Park: Plane #9 West was once the property and home of noted canal historian and author James Lee, Sr. and his wife Mary. This plane had an elevation change of 100 feet, the highest on the canal. Features the Morris Canal Museum with an n depth collection of canal artifacts, and one of the best preserved historic sites on the Morris Canal. Route 519 between Routes 57 and 22.
Bread Lock Park, New Village: Lock 7 West, Warren Heritage Museum, canal boat, mule barn, canal interpretation, and Morris Canal art collection. Visitors can view working models of an inclined plane and lock, along with other models including charcoaling in the iron industry. Canal memorabilia and Native American exhibits. The Museum is open 1-4 pm on the second Sunday of each month. Route 57
Meadow Breeze Park, Washington Township: Quarter mile stretch of canal prism and towpath with stone work
Bowerstown, Plane 7 West: Tavern and inn, plane tender's house, stone aqueduct which carried Morris Canal over Pohatcong Creek, remains of grist mill and tail race.
Port Colden: Boat basin, Lock 6 West, Plane 6 West, canal store, historic church and schoolhouse
Port Murray Preserve - Canal store, boat basin, watered section of the canal, towpath trails, boatyard, historic churches, remnants of trolley line - Phillipsburg to Port Murray
Rockport: Canal store, boat basin, towpath and canal prism located near state pheasant farm. Rockport Road
Florence Kuipers Memorial Park, Hackettstown: Excellent stretch of elevated towpath with panoramic view. Canal is cut into the side of the mountain to maintain the level. Nice stone work supports the mountain side of the canal. Entrance and parking is off Rockport Road near culvert or a few blocks off US 46
Mount Rascal Park, Hackettstown: Currently under construction (2020) located off High Street, County Route 517 opposite M&M/Mars
Saxton Falls, Allamuchy: Located on Waterloo Road. Guinea Hollow guard lock, Warren Trail along the towpath, Musconetcong River and canal merge, abandoned canal near road once used as a swimming pool
Towpath Trail, Allamuchy: Two mile walk on the canal along Waterloo Road. Also the route of the Highlands & Warren Trails
Waterloo Village, Byram Township: This restored 19th century canal town and port, features watered section of the Morris Canal, general store, lock and inclined planes, historic house tours, the Canal Museum, waterwheels, blacksmithing, period craft shops, and special weekend events.
To enhance your experience:
Research books by Joe Macasek, President, Canal Society of NJ. Myra Snook, Morris Canal Committee, says look for interpretive signs. Dave Detrick, Bread Lock Museum, suggests bringing a copy of James Lee's photographic history, as many structures in the vintage photos are still apparent today.
Historic Preservation Survey of the Morris Canal in Warren County by Brian Morrell is another resource available from Warren County Planning Department (908-475-6532) for $30.
Everyone thanks Bill Moss, Past President, Canal Society of New Jersey, and the many others!
*A comprehensive guide to all historic sites is not yet available. Click website below for several parks, aerial photos for navigating, or google historic sites individually. Happy trails!
Almost 200 years have passed since construction began on the Morris Canal
Anthony Pasquini walked and explored 70 miles of the oftentimes, overgrown Morris Canal, abandoned in 1924, on outings between 1989 and 1992, before many of these trails were re-opened again. "You can read about the canal or see it from a distance. But once you get up on the canal, on the towpath, it's a totally amazing experience!"
The stone aqueduct and grist mill are ink drawings by Lee Cressman.
Vision of a headquarters for Musconetcong Watershed Association comes true!
Musconetcong River Resource Center. LEED Platinum Green Building. Completed 2010
'Heritage' proponents begin their next step
Morris Canal and Musconetcong River heritage corridor designation sought
By Kevin Lechiski/Warren Reporter
Supporters of an effort to get the Musconetcong River and Morris Canal corridor selected by Congress as a National Heritage Corridor are preparing to take a key step toward eventually earning the coveted designation, designed to protect and promote the region's natural, historic and cultural resources.
Last month, supporters decided to focus on establishing a regional heritage corridor partnership consisting of representatives of area river and canal preservation groups, which would bring greater leverage to the possibility of garnering the federal heritage corridor designation.
Proponents of the heritage corridor designation believe it would promote open space, farmland and historic preservation; bring watershed protection; help develop smart growth planning; encourage tourism and recreation, and spur economic development.
The Musconetcong River, a Congressionally-designated Wild and Scenic River, and the Morris Canal, an early 19th-century engineering marvel that overcame large elevations changes through the implementation of inclined planes, run in close proximity to each other, from where the river begins at Lake Hopatcong to where both the canal and river end at the Delaware River.
Anthony Pasquini, a river and canal enthusiast leading the grassroots effort, said the decision to pursue the formation of the regional corridor was made during a recent summit meeting involving representation from 10 area organizations, including the National Park Service, Canal Society of New Jersey, Heritage Conservancy, Warren County Morris Canal Committee, Musconetcong Watershed Association and several others."We realized we need to have a regional corridor program to get started and show we have local support," he said, noting that stakeholders are looking to raise enough money to hire a professional staff to implement the corridor program's goals.
The National Park Service's criteria for the federal heritage area/corridor designation include a commitment to the proposal from local governments, residents, private/non-profit organizations and businesses, as well as a conceptual financial plan and feasibility study that outline the roles for all participants including the federal government.
Pasquini said the establishment of a regional corridor program by area organizations, officials, residents and other stakeholders would help fulfill the above requirements and numerous other criteria that must be met for the Congressional designation.
Pasquini noted a regional corridor partnership would have an immediate benefit by furthering, on a more coordinated regional level, the efforts of various local groups to preserve, protect and promote the canal and river.
If the river and canal corridor are approved for the federal designation, the heritage area would be locally-managed, with limited technical and financial assistance from the National Park Service.
The corridor partnership would help further efforts to expand upon and promote the Morris Canal Greenway initiative in Warren County.
Of the 33 miles of former canal right-of-way passing through Warren County, about 11 are in public ownership, including several parks where visitors can walk along preserved sections of the canal prism with interpretive signs.
There are currently only 37 Congressionally-designated national heritage areas and corridors, including the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, which directly abuts the proposed Musconetcong River/Morris Canal heritage corridor in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley.
Also located in close proximity to the proposed Musconetcong River/Morris Canal Corridor is the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area, which includes parts of Morris and Hunterdon counties.
"Being surrounded by other national heritage areas should be really good for our cause," Pasquini said.
One of the discussions that will have to be undertaken as the effort progresses is whether the Musconetcong River and Morris Canal should be designated as a separate National Heritage Corridor or as part of the abutting Delaware & Lehigh Heritage Corridor.
For more information about the corridor program, including volunteer involvement, contact Anthony Pasquini.
Warren Heritage Scenic Byway to be extended to Waterloo Village and Phillipsburg, Union SquareTownship Journal By Mandy CoristonJune 6, 2019
The Byram Township Council passed a resolution in May to sponsor the extension of the Warren Heritage Scenic Byway to Waterloo Village. The byway was designated as such by the state in 2009, and currently encompasses just over 19 miles of Route 57, running northeast from Greenwich Township and ending at mile marker 21.1 in Hackettstown. The extension would route the byway along Route 46 to CR 604 (Waterloo Road) which passes through Stephens and Allamuchy State Parks before entering Sussex County and terminating at Route 206 near Waterloo Village.
Both the federal and the state Scenic Byways program were begun in 1991, and the designation is allotted to public roads which meet a series of criteria, which include outstanding natural beauty and historic or cultural significance. To achieve the designation in New Jersey, a two-part application and sponsorship must be submitted and approved. There are currently eight approved Scenic Byways throughout the state, which must continue to meet the guidelines in order to maintain the designation and receive funding for upkeep and promotion of economic and tourism development.
The Warren Heritage Scenic Byway is adjacent to the Morris Canal, and provides views of the historic waterway and its locks. The route is also built on what was once a hunting and fishing traverse of the indigenous Lenni Lenape tribe, and later a turnpike and trade road for settlers. It provides views of the Lopatcong and Pohatcong Creeks, as well as the Musconetcong River; Point, Pohatcong, and Scott Mountains dot the landscape between forests and farms. The Scenic Byway is sponsored and supported by a committee from the six municipalities through which it runs: Greenwich Township, Franklin Township, Hackettstown, Mansfield Township, and the Township and Borough of Washington.