Take US Route 80 to Stanhope and drive 1 mile past Waterloo Village to the first road on the left called Kinney Road. Please pay attention to where you park as large trucks use the road. The Morris Canal Trail is on the side of the bridge closest Waterloo Road and you can hike in either direction. Just before the bridge go either left or right for your walk along the towpath.
The name Waterloo stems from Waterloo Foundry.
(Macasek, Joseph J., 1997, "Guide to the Morris Canal in Morris County." Morris County Heritage Commission)
1714 -- part of area surveyed by William Penn
The Village of Waterloo (partially on Waterloo Lake and partially along the Musconetcong River) dates back to the Revolutionary era when it was known as Andover Forge, a few miles north of Waterloo.
1760 -- Andover blast furnace was built on the Musconetcong by William Allen and Joseph Turner of Philadelphia.
1763 or so -- the two men built an iron forge at Waterloo.
1776 -- the two founders were Tories whose property was confiscated to make cannonballs. The Village's industry thereby became a supplier of armaments to George Washington and the Continental Army. (Pepper 1965:155)
By 1831, Waterloo had become an important lock and incline plane stop on the Morris Canal, that vital freight transportation system, which literally opened up the west to commerce and development.
1847 -- Abram S. Hewitt (son-in-law of Peter Cooper and owner of Ringwood Manor, as well as manager of the Trenton Iron Company) purchases the Andover Mines. The iron ore was shipped via the Morris Canal to Phillipsburg where it was processed into pig iron, which was then sent along to Trenton where it was transformed into railroad rails.
1848 -- the Morris & Essex Railroad, being built slowly across the state, reaches Dover.
1849 -- the new Sussex Mine Railroad (pulled by mules) brought the iron ore from Andover Mines to the Morris Canal at Waterloo (near the church). This was later replaces by a "real" railroad, powered by a steam locomotive.
1853 --the Morris & Essex Railroad reaches as far west as Hackettstown.
1861 -- the new railroad finally reaches Phillipsburg and begins slowly to take business away from the Morris Canal.
1867 -- Andover Mines sold.
The Village's General Store is located on the canal itself, closed to Guard Lock #3 west. A unique combination masonry lock and wooden aqueduct carried boats over the mill tailrace and into the lock pond. The lock also served to protect the level of water in the Canal from the varying flow of the river.
Across the Musconetcong River is Inclined Plane #4 west. The Morris Canal employed 23 water-powered boat railways to overcome drastic changes in elevation. This plane has a vertical lift of 80 feet and is the second highest on the Canal.
In 1847 a gravity railroad which carried 50,000 tons of iron ore annually was constructed between the Andover Mines and the ore docks at Waterloo. The Sussex Railroad, which intersected the mainline of the Morris and Essex Railroad at Waterloo Station, superseded the gravity railroad in 1854.
By 1901 competition from the railroad made the Morris Canal obsolete. It was finally dismantled in 1927.
The last enterprise to prosper at Waterloo was the Mountain Ice Company, which constructed a 30,000 ton commercial ice house on the upper lake. The company shipped ice wholesale by railroad to the meat-packing industry in Newark.
Brian Morrell has an interesting website dealing with the Morris Canal Trail. The opening of the Waterloo Valley Section was in 1996. It sounds kind of funny, but he says "We could not get a real mule for they were in heavy demand so we did the best we could using a large cardboard mule in their place." He says it was like stepping back to the 1830's.
They walked along the towpath, which had been cleared by a group of volunteers led by Brain Morrell himself. The path is east of the Waterloo Village. He says further that the group is seeking "open" permission for hikers to travel along the canal path in Waterloo Village.
You can also get to the towpath by visiting the historical village there at Waterloo. Overflow wiers kept the canal at a fixed level. They sent the overflow from the streams flowing down from Allamuchy State Park mountains into the Musconetcong River.
While on the towpath, the river will be on one side and the canal will be on the opposite. Mr. Morrell says you should look for the retaining walls on the berm across the way.
Among the items to see around the Waterloo area, is Waterloo's Inclined plane which was used for getting boats on craddles with 70 tons loads of coal and other cargo over the hills of New Jersey. A suggestion is to visit the Canal Society of New Jersey museum in Waterloo Village. You might also see a tow rope used along with the gravity powered water turbines in the process of raising and lowering boats in craddles on the inclined plane. Lake Hopatcong streams fed water to the Canal.
They are still looking for volunteers to extend the trail from Waterloo Village to PA. Negotiations are on-going among country officials and private owners on easements and privacy issues.