Stanhope, Sussex County, New Jersey

4 acres in a 20 acre wooded site


US 80 to exit 27; bear right with the traffic; come to a traffic circle; get out of the circle at the exit for Route 183 (Ledgewood Avenue); cross the Musconetcong River and make an immediate right turn into the parking area (between a Hess gas station and the lake-front park).

Cross the road (Route 183) and walk along the path between the Musconetcong River and the remains of the Morris Canal.


The Pond straddles the border of Netcong, Morris County, and Stanhope, Sussex County.


(Macasek, Joseph J., 1997, "Guide to the Morris Canal in Morris County." Morris County Heritage Commission)

1794 -- Silas Dickerson (brother of Mahlon Dickerson, later governor of NJ) builds a forge and nail factory along the Musconetcong River in Stanhope.

1800 -- another forge built.

c. 1800  --  the building of the Plaster Mill at Stanhope (now and National Historical Site).  The local iron company used the water power to grind gypsum into land plaster that was use for agricultural purposes.

Morris Canal built through Stanhope.

1840  --  the plaster mill was converted into housing for workers from the local iron complex, which included the first anthracite iron blast furnace in New Jersey.

1840s - 1920s  --  Irish and Eastern European workers were the plaster mill tenants. 

1841 -- the Stanhope Iron Company, who bought the place, constructs the first successful iron furnace using anthracite coal.

1844 -- two more furnaces built.

1845 -- needing more water, the company developed Lake Musconetcong by building a new dam.

1865 -- large blast furnace built by new organization, the Musconetcong Ironworks.

1869 -- Ario Pardee out of Pennsylvania gets control of the ironworks here (as well as at Dickerson, Andover, and Ogden Mines).

1902 -- places acquired by the Singer Manufacturing Company of Elizabeth, NJ.

1928 -- Singer closes the place.

Here is located Lock 1 West and Inclined Plane 2 West.

1976  --  the old plaster mill was placed on National Historic Registers.  The plaster mill remains are the oldest of the original iron complex.

1997  (December 10)  --  the Highlands Coalition's New Jersey Committee voted to support preservation of Furnace Pond. 

Winter 1998 --  the Musconetcong River was under threat by developers in Furnace Pond and the Village of Beattystown, both sites of historic and scenic significance.  The Netcong planning board considered a proposal to develop a massive 36-unit, 3-story pondside apartment complex that would destroy the pond's integrity.

1999  --  the state recently purchased a 6.5-acre section of Furnace Pond in Stanhope and it wants to keep the entire pond and its encompassing land free from development in order to create a recreational trail within the Morris Canal greenway.

2000 (August 13)  -- the Furnace Pond dam broke.

2004 (March 16)  --  two sites listed on the endangered sites list are now on the "lost" list: the carriage house at Bayley-Ellard in Madison (demolished) and Furnace Pond in Netcong (which was not given higher protection status in the face of development).


diving waterfowl, river otters and heron


The area is a critical link in a regional greenway and trail being created along the Musconetcong connecting Hopatcong, Lake Musconetcong, Saxton Falls and Allamuchy Mountain state parks. The Stanhope side of the pond is being protected by a municipal park and the state Green Acres program.

You can walk along Lake Musconetcong a bit and then cross the street (Ledgewood Avenue) to walk along Furnace Pond.

11/06/04.  Cross the road (Route 183) and walk along the path between the Musconetcong River and the remains of the Morris Canal.  Keep walking and you pass a basketball court at Salmon Park, the Fire Department, the Salmon Park Lot and then to the remains of an old plaster mill on the left surrounded by a fence.  From here I walked along the path between the river on the left and the canal remains on the right.  The path leads to the small Furnace Pond.  It was hard to walk around the pond because of the many invasive species overgrowing the area; species such as multiflora rose, winged euonymus and Japanese honeysuckle.  (Luckily I had brought my pruning shears and was able to cut the vegetation back enough so that my wife and I could make it around the pond.)  We walked on the other side of the canal back to the old plaster mill remains and then back to the car.  It is a short walk, but an interesting part of history and I enjoyed myself.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant found in bloom on date of field trip, 11/06/04

Acer negundo (ash-leaf maple)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple) lots
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Morus alba  (white mulberry)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Ulmus americana (American elm)
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)

Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) 
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Decodon verticillatus (swamp loosestrife)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)  lots and lots
Forsythia sp. (golden bells)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (black berry)
Salix sp. (willow)
Vinca minor (periwinkle)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Cuscuta sp. (dodder)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Bidens sp. (beggar ticks)
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot) *
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) *
Lemna sp. (duckweed)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) *
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) *
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Trifolium repens (white clover) *

Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)

Ferns and fern allies:
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)