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Waterloo Bones

By Dave Rutan

Waterloo Map

My friend, Ron Rice, invited me on a guided tour of the canal and railroad inside Waterloo Village, NJ. The guide was Joe Macasek, an expert not to be missed, said Ron. Of course I jumped on it and went along. I also met up with Ron's friend, Bob Bodenstien.

Joe gave a good tour. He told about the history of Waterloo Village and how the Sussex Mine Railroad entered the village from the north and ran between the Methodist Church and the adjacent house to an ore dock trestle work.

After we crossed the rickety bridge to the incline plane, Joe asked me if I had ever seen the 'frog' in the woods. I answered 'no' and asked about it. He said there was what he called a frog from a railroad switch track in the woods near where the ore dock used to be.


We all went in and found it a few feet from the path under some leaves. Ron diligently removed the leaves so I could photograph it and get a few measurements before we moved on. Ron also scurried down the embankment and found a length of rail.

The tour then went up the incline plane to the Sussex Railroad Bridge abutments (1, 2.) I recently read that the railroad engines used to scare the horses going up the incline plane and that a guard rail had to be installed along the tote road here to keep them from falling onto the plane.

After the tour, we (Ron, Bob and I) ate our lunch and made our way back into the village. We scrambled over the embankment bordering route 80 to try and discern the railbed there. The mound of dirt one sees is too broad to be the Sussex railroad, but on the southern edge I found cinders and a few ties. We think that for whatever reason, this area was used as a fill dump when they constructed the highway. The property map I have shows the Route 80 right of way cuts in towards Waterloo Village here like an arrowhead.

We walked the railbed from the incline plane to the abutments of the missing bridge over the Muscanetcong. On the way back, we located (barely) the ice house siding and followed it to the remains of the Mountain Ice Company's ice houses.

What we found is reminiscent of Stonehenge. The woods opened up to the remains of a two story building made of ceramic pipe, cinderblock and concrete. (additional pictures 1, 2, 3) Over further, we found many concrete foundations. These ice houses must have been huge!

Waterloo Turntable

Before our day ran out we adjourned to the other side of Rt. 80 to explore the Waterloo station site. Ron noticed a 'foundation' in line with what I termed the holding track, adjacent to the turntable pit. I think this may be an ash pit for the locomotives. (However, I neglected to take a picture. Wait till fall.)

Retaining Wall

We walked down the Old Main westbound ROW to the stone embankment and the station foundations beyond. There are 2 holes here and I wonder if they weren't his/her water closets.

We climbed up to the remains of the eastbound platform, it's concrete and the only remnants of the steps leading up to it are a few stones arranged like steps at the very bottom. While I'm sure it's VERY unlikely, I wish I could have archeologists look at this site. Who knows what they might find? Maybe Joe Quackenbush's wrench!

Here's the Lowenthal map that Ron drew on during our exploration.

'Bonerail' background from my friend, James Sorochinski
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