Wawayanda: A Century Before the State Park

Wawayanda Ironworks furnace
Wawayanda Ironworks furnace

More than a century before this area of Vernon, N.J., became part of Wawayanda State Park, a small village existed here built around the ironworks. William Ames built the furnace which is the lone standing structure remaining from the Wawayanda Ironworks. It was built in 1846 and was in operation until 1867. 

Iron ore, mined in the surrounding area was fed into the furnace and was formed into bars which were called iron pigs. The pigs were used to create various products. A nearby pond was dammed to produce the water power to run the operation. In 1860, 75 men were employed here and more than 1,000 tons of pig iron were produced at the site. 

At its height, Wawayanda Village included workers housing, a blacksmith and carpenters shop and a company office and store. There was also a sawmill and a grist mill. The foundations for some of the village buildings still exist. 

Wawayanda village footprint
You can still see pieces of some of the foundations of the buildings in Wawayanda village.
Wawayanda stamping mill site
There was a stamping mill in this area where iron ore was broken into small pieces to feed the furnace. This channel likely brought water from the dammed pond to the mill.
Wawayanda furnace

The area became part of Wawayanda State Park which was created in 1963. It covers 34,000+ acres in Vernon and West Milford, N.J. The park has extensive hiking trails, including the popular “Stairway to Heaven” that goes up 1,300-foot Wawayanda Mountain and overlooks Wawayanda Lake where there is a beach and boating dock. A 20 mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail goes through Wawayanda State Park.

Wawayanda State Park stream
Wawayanda State Park
Wawayanda State Park stream
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3 Responses to Wawayanda: A Century Before the State Park

  1. Donna Janke says:

    Wawayanda State Park looks like a lovely park. I also like that bits of history remain with the ironworks furnace and pieces of building foundations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great memories from years ago here for me…thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Henry Lewis says:

    Looks like a very cool place Ken. I too like the combination of nature and history.


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