Allaire State Park
New Jersey played a key role in the development of the industrial capability of the USA, and Allaire State Park preserves one aspect of this. In the early 1800s James P. Allaire established a business in New York making marine engines which he expanded until it became the biggest in the world. The British embargo during the War of 1812 made raw materials scarce, making it difficult for Allaire to maintain production. Near Howell Township in New Jersey the Williamsburg Forge was set up in the 1790s and by the early 1820s it had become the Monmouth Furnace producing pig iron from locally available bog Iron ore. This a fairly impure form of iron ore is found in bogs and swamps which makes it easy to harvest compared to ore that has to be mined. In 1822 Allaire bought the furnace and he renamed it the Howell Iron Works. Allaire built a company town known as Allaire Village to support the Iron Works, creating a community of more than 400 people. The Iron Works gave Allaire’s marine engine business an assured source of pig iron and cast iron and the output from the works was also used to manufacture products in the town including cauldrons, pots and kettles, stoves and screws. The town thrived until 1836 but declined during the depression that started in 1837. It was the discovery of high grade iron ore in Pennsylvania that triggered the closure of the furnace in 1848. Allaire Village fell largely silent until the 1960s when it became a living history museum.
Howell Works Company Store
This large general store was built in 1835 to support both the town and its surrounding community. It was a Post Office and drug store as well as selling pretty well everything form furniture to farm produce. It is now used as the gift shop of the Historic Village at Allaire.
The workers at the Howell Iron Works lived in Row Houses (called Terraced Houses in the UK). Allaire built at least three blocks of these houses, but only one remains. This block had the largest houses where skilled or senior workers lived with their families. As well as being larger, these row houses had kitchens in the back. The smaller row houses had no kitchen, food was prepared in the living quarters and cooked on the main hearth.
Click on Minimap to navigate
Christ Church Chapel
The Episcopal Church was built in 1832 and extended in 1836. The church doubled up as a free school which all children of the town (including girls) were required to attend up to the age of 12. Nowadays the church is often rented out for weddings. Click Tab 2 to see the interior of the Church.
This little cottage with herb garden was built in 1827, the first building constructed after James P. Allaire bought the furnace. It is recorded that in 1836 the foreman at the Howell Works was Mr. Jacob Johnson who lived in this house with his wife, two children and sister. Nowadays the house would be considered incredibly small for five people, but in those days it was considered spacious, befitting of a man whose job was to manage the workers at the furnace.
To move forwards or backwards through the New Jersey trail click the arrows above, or select your next destination on the Minimap.
Pine Creek Railroad Station
In 1950 enthusiasts managed to save a steam engine from a sand pit before it was scrapped. In 1952 they formed the Pine Creek Railroad Museum in Marlboro Township, New Jersey. In the late 1950s the museum fragmented but its premises and some of its assets were donated to the New Jersey Museum of Transportation. In 1962 a huge hike in property taxes forced the Museum to relocate to Allaire State Park. There they built the Pine Creek Railroad, a short narrow gauge railroad running through the State Park. The diesel hauled trains operate at weekends in spring and the fall, and daily in peak summer season. It was not operating when we visited Allaire State Park, so there were no trains to photograph.