The following photographs are of a series of buildings on a deserted piece of property in Northern New Jersey, within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. These buildings were not abandoned because of financial hardship or the owner’s desire to relocate. Rather, the owners left them in the mid-1950s because the government bought their land (as well as land from some 600 other property owners) to make way for the Tocks Island Reservoir, a 40 mile-long lake that would hold over 250 billion gallons of water. Because of other costs, such as the Vietnam War, the project was put on hold. In 1975, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware voted to prevent the project from starting. Properties such as this one were already long deserted by this time.
I have always been fascinated by abandoned buildings. For me, they hold a character that only comes about with the absence of humans. Their ghostly nature compels me to explore and imagine what they have seen. Nature has not yet truly begun to reclaim this property; clearly these buildings have seen some sort of maintenance over the years (perhaps due to their location within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area). However, the interior of the buildings possess an eerie, vacant quality juxtaposed by the beautiful scenery beyond their walls.
The buildings are now shadows of their original selves. Within the barn are scattered debris, stalls, light fixtures, and an abandoned piece of machinery. The house still contains cabinets, chairs, and tables—all unused (at least by legitimate inhabitants) for decades.
If you would like to see the entire essay, please visit The Forgotten of Tocks Island on Issuu.com!