MORRIS CANAL, DENVILLE TO ROCKAWAY'S HALSEY PARK
Katherine Street, Denville Township, Morris County, NJ
Exit 37 off I-80. Turn right onto Green Pond and then a quick left onto Morris Avenue. (Passing Cedar Lake Drive you can see the canal on your right.) When Morris Avenue bears left, keep going straight (bearing right slightly) onto Savage Road. Turn right onto Katherine Street and park along the street near the Valley Stream Condominiums.
(Macasek, Joseph J., 1997, "Guide to the Morris Canal in Morris County." Morris County Heritage Commission)
1731 -- Jackson family arrives in the Rockaway area and founds the village.
1748 -- Rockaway had a forge, gristmill/sawmill, a Presbyterian Church, and five dwellings.
1778 -- Stephen Jackson, an ironmaster, buys the Rockaway forge.
1796 -- Jackson builds the lower forge in Rockaway.
early 1800s -- the Beach Glen Mine, near the intersection of Green Pond and Meriden-Lyonsville Roads, in Denville started operation; they had an ore dock on Dock Road.
1806 -- Joseph Jackson, son of Stephen, leases the upper forge.
1809 -- Joseph Jackson buys the lower forge. Later buys the Swede's and Teabo mine tracts for iron ore and woodland.
1822 -- Joseph Jackson adds a rolling mill to make hoop iron for the navy. He also made sections for carriage makers. He becomes known as the Iron King of Morris County.
1826 -- the canal connected Dover to Rockaway, providing access to the iron-makers of Blackwell and McFarlan in Dover.
1842 -- village of 400 inhabitants.
1863 -- a railroad is built from Hibernia to the canal in Denville, making the ore docks obsolete.
early 1900s -- closing of Beach Glen Mine.
Here is a two mile walk. Walk east to the eastern end of the condominiums and turn right walking along the edge between a field and the Rockaway River on the left and the condominium lawn on the right. Walk under the I-80 overpass. (It can be a bit muddy at times.) Pick up the informal path on the other side of the overpass and follow it to the canal causeway (which is often much overgrown). The Rockaway River will be on your left and the old canal bed on the right. Houses are close by on the left on the other side of the river and a sound wall followed by industries and houses are on the right.
There is a lot of bladdernut here. Multiflora rose is a problem with it constantly infringing on the causeway.
The Morris Canal goes along side the Rockaway River. In the canal itself is a pipeline of the Rockaway Valley Regional Sewerage Authority.
At the dead end of Dock Road, there was a dock which transported rich magnetite iron ore to the canal boats.
Pass by Beaver Brook Feeder and Aqueduct. This feeder brought water to the canal from Beaver Brook (which flows into the Rockaway River). Cross over Beaver Brook.
If you want to make the hike longer, head down Gill Avenue to the T-intersection with Stickle Avenue. Turn left onto Stickle Avenue and then turn right onto Drake Avenue, then at the T-intersection, right on Ogden Avenue, passing by the tracks of the Hibernia Mine Railroad, turn right onto Union Street and then go to the corner of Maple Street and Union Street.
There is a parking area near the corner of Garden Avenue. Here there was a canal basin.
Walk down Maple Street and turn right onto Halsey Street. Turn left onto a path that heads west to Wall Street. On Wall Street is the Rockaway Hotel (built in the 1830s) with a tall cupola.
Cross over Wall Street; you reach the turn around point at a stream at the edge of a parking lot. Return the way you came.
11/11/04. Parked on Katherine Street. I crossed Savage Road to take look at the "The Morris Canal Cross Here" sign. I found Macasek's directions confusing and so I walked east over to the nearby Gardner Field. Then I cross over the road again and climbed up and over the pedestrian's bridge. But I soon found out that this was not the way to go. So I turned around and headed back to look at Garnder Field. I walked north along the Rockaway River.
Crossing back over the bridge spanning the Rockaway River it occurred to me that there was an overpass by the condominiums. So I finally got on the right trail, headed under the I-80 underpass and started walking on the old causeway. The area is overgrown with vegetation in quite a few areas, but that did not stop me. There are a couple of downed trees in the way also. On the right there are a lot of private property signs that become annoying quickly.
I did not go very far because now there were private properties on both sides of the causeway and because I reached an area with construction going on on both sides of the trail and was wondering if I would be stepping on private property. So I simply turned around and went back to my car. Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant found in bloom on date of field trip, 11/11/04
Acer negundo (ash-leaf maple)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Cornus racemosa (gray dogwood)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (black berry)
Staphylea trifolia (bladdernut) lots
Viburnum dentatum (smooth arrowwood viburnum)
Vinca minor (periwinkle)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Dioscorea villosa (wild yam root)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)
Aster spp. (aster) *
Centaurea sp. (knapweed)
Conyza canadensis (horseweed)
Duchesnea indica (Indian strawberry)
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Galium mollugo (wild madder) *
Glechoma hederacea (gill-over-the-ground)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum pensylvanicum (Pennsylvania smartweed)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)
Solidago spp. (goldenrod)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Verbena hastata (blue vervain)
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Elymus sp. (wild rye grass)
Phalaris arundinacea (canary reed grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)
Ferns and fern allies:
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)