“Double Trouble,”…What an appropriately named destination for our two Hooligans’ first hike of 2015 !
There are conflicting stories about how this area got its name. The most common legend focuses on the dam at Cedar Creek. Sawmill operator, Thomas Potter, may have “coined” the words “Double Trouble” after heavy Spring rains washed out the dam twice in the 1770’s.
Another myth says that muskrats in the area were relentless at chewing on the dam. When a hole was discovered from the muskrats’ constant gnawing, workmen in the village would say, “Here’s trouble,” and rush to repair the leak. One day, two holes were discovered at once, and a village worker overheard the owner say, “Here’s Double Trouble.”
Welcome to Double Trouble State Park!
Located on the eastern edge of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and encompassing over 200 acres, Double Trouble State Park provides a fine example of a typical Pine Barrens community centered around the logging industry and cranberry agriculture. Isolated Pine Barrens communities such as this one (and Batsto) were built to be entirely self-sufficient, and their survival depended 100% on the success of the particular industry the community was built around. This area has a natural cedar forest, and stream, which provided both raw materials and water power for a substantial lumber industry from the 1700’s to the 1900’s. As workers cut down the timber, the cleared cedar swamps created a bog environment – perfect for growing cranberries. Cranberry culture began at Double Trouble Village in the 1860’s. By the 20th century, the Double Trouble Company was one of the largest cranberry operations in the state.
Did you know that today, with approximately 3,600 acres of cranberry farms, New Jersey is currently the third largest cranberry producing state in the United States? Cranberries in our parts are known as the “Jewel of the Pine Barrens!!” Interestingly, New Jersey’s leading cranberry farmer, William S. Haines, is located in Cello and Hooch’s birth-town of Chatsworth, NJ! Haines has over 700 acres of cranberries on his Chatsworth Pine Island Company Cranberry Farm, and his family’s history of cranberry cultivation dates back to 1895. Cello and Hooch’s birth-town also is also home to both an Ocean Spray juice company plant (one of the leading cranberry juice companies), and one of New Jersey’s largest festivals… The Cranberry Festival, a celebration of New Jersey’s cranberry harvest, offering a tribute to the Pine Barrens and its local culture. There is a huge, diverse presentation of local artists, craftsmen, and wineries – some offering demonstrations, and all providing items for sale. And of course… there’s “everything cranberry,” including cranberry jam, jelly, chutney, ice cream, cranberry wine!
Ever wonder how Cranberries are harvested? It’s really pretty cool…First, Cranberries grow in the bed of a bog. Cranberries have pockets of air inside them. Because of this, cranberries float in water. When the cranberries are ready for harvesting, the bogs are flooded to dislodge the fruit from the vines. Water reels, nicknamed “egg-beaters” are used to “stir-up” the water in the bogs. When the water is stirred, the cranberries disconnect from the vine, and float to the surface of the water! Wooden or plastic “booms” are used to round-up the berries, which are then lifted by conveyor, or pumped into a truck to be taken to a receiving station to be cleaned and processed. Pretty neat, huh?!
Cranberry cultivation still continues today in several bogs at Double Trouble State Park. Some of the bogs in the park are maintained and harvested sporadically by farmers who lease the bogs, since the purchase of the park by the state in 1964. Here are pictures of cranberries being harvested at Double Trouble State Park
Double Trouble State Park is also listed on Weird NJ for an unusual and explainable event that occurred here! The pictures below captured this “weird” event.
Click HERE to read the full story!
The water in Double Trouble State Park is “tea” colored, and known as “cedar water” – just like the lake Cello and Hooch live on – and most lakes in the Pine Barren area. This coloring is caused by the tannic acids found in the Atlantic White Cedar trees (which is what our log home is made of) — as well as the naturally occurring iron in the water.
Here is a picture of Hooch swimming in our lake this past summer. You can see the color of the “cedar water” in our lake.
Double Trouble Village has a restored sawmill and cranberry sorting / packing house, both containing working operational equipment. These two buildings were the focus of the village, which also includes a late 19th century one room schoolhouse, general store, bunk house, cook house, shower house, maintenance shop, pickers’ cottages and the foreman’s house. Most buildings are not restored, and look to be left “as is” on the inside (peek inside windows of the buildings while you are here!!) and only the sawmill and cranberry packing house are restored, and open to the public, exclusively during guided tours.
Double Trouble Village was purchased by the State of New Jersey in 1964 to help protect the Cedar Creek watershed. Double Trouble was placed on the State Register of Historic Places in 1977, and on the National Register in 1978.
Double Trouble School
Operated from approximately 1893-1915, this one-room school is the oldest remaining structure in the village.
If you peek in the windows, you can see the old school desks inside.
This was the home of the Burke family from 1938 until 1957.
Mr. David Burke was foreman of the cranberry processing operations until 1967.
Cranberry Sorting and Packing House
Built in 1909, This building was filled with workers who hand-scooped cranberries, sorted them according to size and quality,
and then packed the berries to be transported to a market.
(circa 1920) The general store provided the early villagers with staples such as oatmeal, flour, and
sugar. From the 1930’s until it closed, convenience items like candy, cigarettes and gloves were sold here also.
Most buildings also had an outhouse out back:
(circa 1900) Also called the “communal house”, this is where single workers lived during the seasonal
(circa 1906-1909) The sawmill produced lumber, shingles and other products for sale and for use in the village and cranberry operations.
Harvest Foreman’s House
(circa 1900) This was the seasonal home of the migrant workers’ foreman.
There are several different trails you can take in Double Trouble State Park.
Trail Guides are available at the trail heads, so that you have a printed map and description of the trail to carry with you.
After exploring the village, we chose the Nature Trail.
This was not the longest of trails, but considering the weather was pretty chilly, we were content with our choice.
The Nature Trail passes along a couple of cranberry bogs, crosses over Cedar Creek, and passes through a cedar forest, as well as a peat bog.
Parts of the park are open for hunting, so be sure to check with the park office, and/or NJ’s Division of Fish and Wildlife to educate yourself on any hunting activity before you begin your adventure. In addition to hiking, visitors can canoe or kayak their way through the park, using several access points on Cedar Creek. There are also public bathrooms and an Information Center conveniently located in the Pickers’ Cottage (circa 1940), just beyond the parking lot. Pickers’ cottages in the village housed seasonal workers – including family groups. Every year 30-40 migrant workers arrived on Labor Day weekend, and lived in the cottages until Thanksgiving. These village employees worked solely in the bogs, hand-picking the cranberries.
As you can see, we all very much enjoyed the abundant history and unique sights of Cello and Hooch’s first hike of 2015.
What will be YOUR first hike of the year? Cello and Hooch would love to know…go on, now… TAKE A HIKE!
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