MORRIS CANAL PARK AT LEDGEWOOD
Main Street, Ledgewood, Morris County, NJ
Route I-80 to Exit 28, Ledgewood. Route 46 east. Drive about 0.5 of a mile and turn right/bear right onto Main Street. Drive 0.6 of a mile and park near the King Store Museum on the left.
(Macasek, Joseph J., 1997, "Guide to the Morris Canal in Morris County." Morris County Heritage Commission)
1801 -- located at the corner of the Succasunna Plain, Main Street is route of the Morris Turnpike (chartered 1801)
1810 --Ledgewood was known as New Market, then Drakesville. Col Jacob Drake was a long-time town resident.
1815 -- King's Store was built as a general store by Woodruff and Hopkins. the Foundation walls are seven feet thick and taper to two feet at the top.
1830s -- King's Store used as a sheep barn (when local economy slumped)
1831 -- Morris canal built. In this area three inclined planes (2 here and one at Shippenport) took the boats up to Lake Hopatcong.
1837 -- Albert Riggs reopened King's Store as a general store.
1873 -- Theodore King (d. 1925) marries into the Riggs family and becomes the storekeeper of King's Store. The general store also served as a community center as well as a Post Office.
The house next door was owned by Silas Riggs (moved from its one-time location here and now is home to the Roxbury Township Historical Society).
1928 -- Theodore King died and his daughter closed the store with all the contents inside.
1974 -- Louise King dies. The contents of the store were sold. King's store was vacant until the Roxbury Rotary Club took an interest in it.
1982 -- the Town of Roxbury acquires the store.
1989 -- the restoration project begun by the Roxbury Rotary Club. The store almost looks as if it could have been a church. The style of the store looks like some kind of Greek Revival style with 3 steps to the top of a small porch with four columns holding up the small porch roof. There are two windows on either side of the center door on the ground floor; a single window on the second floor; and a third, smaller window at attic level. The building is long but narrow.
Next door at #209 the Roxbury Rotary Club is working on another restoration project. This is the King Homestead. The house looks like the Queen Anne style with the rounded turrets.
Start at King's Store. Walk farther down Main Street and shortly before you get to a major highway turn right onto Canal Street. Canal Street was once the site of Inclined Plane 3 East. The plane only raised the boats 48 feet from a lower canal basin to a middle basin. The land on the right is partly marsh and is private property, but one can still enjoy its beauty. Walk all the way down Canal Street to a T-intersection with Emmans Road.
Cross over Emmans Road. Go through a parking area. One can go different ways here. One can walk through the gate on the left and go into the town park per se. (There are signs all over saying fishing in the pond is strictly limited to town residents.) Or one can head straight ahead past the parking lot and onto the path that heads almost all the way back to exit 28 of US 80.
Pass by the pond on the left. At the end of the pond is a big hill. This was the site of Incline Pane 2 East. (The Rotary Club cleared this section.) I am no expert, but I take it that boats heading toward the Delaware River were put into a cradle at the bottom of the hill (at the pond) and then pulled uphill and then let downhill slightly back into the canal onto a higher plane of the Morris Canal. One can see the stones that once lined the inclined plane. On the right is the canal itself. At the top of the incline are more remains, this time of the power house. One can see steps leading down into a basement I take it. (If you want to know for sure about all the technicalities, study the many photos they have at a couple of kiosks along the way.)
Walking past the incline plane one comes to a power cut. Walking on the causeway on the right, one can see Route 46 with a car wash across the road along with several other commercial buildings (one with a tanning salon).
Keep going straight until the path ends just above Route 46. Information and photos at the kiosk say that the canal crossed what became Route 46 on a culvert 20 feet above the road. There was a small tunnel under the culvert which was a traffic hazard and one of the first obstacles to be removed when the canal was taken down in 1925. Will's Basin was located approximately where US 80 is now located.
At the turn around point, Plane 2 East followed the canal along the hillside. Ahead is Plane #1 East. The Road on the left is Shipping Port Road. It lifted the boats some 50 feet to a maximum height of 914 feet above sea level.
Stop and turn around just before reaching Route 46. (Walk on the towpath for part of the return route.)
Incline Plane 2 East is the best-preserved inclined plane in Morris County. At first, waterwheels provided the power. In the late 1840s chief engineer William Talcott added turbine wheels to help provide power.
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant found in bloom on date of field trip, 11/06/04
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya sp. (hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus sp. (apple)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Salix sp. (willow)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (black berry)
Rubus sp. (dewberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Vinca minor (periwinkle)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Clematis virginiana (virgin's bower)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)
Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Anemone virginiana (thimbleweed)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster cordifolius (heart-leaved aster) *
Aster spp. (aster)
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy)
Conyza canadensis (horseweed)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper)
Lilium sp. (lily) ?
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs)
Melilotus alba (white sweet clover) *
Mentha arvensis (wild mint)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) *
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)
Satureja vulgaris (wild basil)
Scrophularia sp. (figwort)
Smilax herbacea (carrion flower)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)
Solidago canadensis var. scabra (tall goldenrod) *
Solidago spp. (goldenrod)
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge type)
Cyperus sp. (nut or umbrella sedge)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue panic grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Ferns and fern allies:
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal wood fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)