Waterloo is nestled between Schooley’s Mountain and Allamuchy Mountain in the Musconetcong River Valley. The Musconetcong River divides the property between Sussex and Morris Counties. The Fields at Waterloo, a large concert and event complex, and Quarry Lake are located just a mile from Waterloo Village Historic Site in Warren County.
Within the historic site are many natural, cultural and historic resources. Waterloo Village, itself, is an authentic 19th century village that developed on the banks of the Morris Canal. The site is overflowing with native wildflowers and plants. Wildlife is abundant in the wooded environment and the Waterloo Vernal Pool is an important breeding ground for amphibians. The Rutan Cabin and farm site illustrates early pioneer family farms in Northern New Jersey. Winakung is a native woodland forest with exhibits and hands-on activities about wilderness skills, woodland resources, forest food, and Lenape village life.
Thousands of acres of New Jersey State Park property surround the historic site offering many trails and other recreational opportunities.
Field Trip Programs for Schools
Call 973-347-1835 to make a reservation or book a group tour.
Visitor Interpretive Center Hours: Saturdays & Sundays, 10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., May through October
Interpretive programming and walking tours available Saturdays and Sundays June through September 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Canal Society of New Jersey Museum open select Saturdays and Sundays visit www.CanalSocietyNJ.org
Call 973-347-1835 or visit us on Facebook at Waterloo Village Historic Site.
Waterloo Village is historically significant for being the only place where one can visit an authentic historic village located on the bank of the Morris Canal. The Morris Canal is world renowned for its use of the inclined plane system to lift and lower heavy cargo-carrying boats out of the water and up and down the hills of the Highlands Region of New Jersey. Morris Canal boats traveled across the State of New Jersey from Phillipsburg to Jersey City, over 102 miles of levels, locks and inclined planes for almost 100 years.
The Andover Forge Farm, complete with orchards, crops and livestock was owned by the Smith family, and because the route of the Morris Canal ran through the family’s property, the waterfront became a place of commerce, industry, lodging, education and worship. As owners of the property and buildings, three generations of Smiths pursued education, business, banking, public office, climbed the economic ladder and prospered. The Smiths changed the name Andover Forge Farm to Waterloo sometime between 1840 and 1860.
Throughout the second half of the 20th century, Waterloo was transformed again from a quiet residential area with old houses of varied architecture into a tourist destination. During its tenure, the Waterloo Foundation for the Arts displayed an array of antiques in the houses, employed crafters and tour guides, and held concerts and festivals that gave the site legendary status. For the last 12 years the New Jersey State Park Service has been working to rehabilitate this unique historic site in its magnificent natural setting. Our educational interpretive programs and tours, along with the support of the Canal Society of New Jersey, have drawn a steady flow of visitors to the site. We are currently working to bring back concerts, festivals and events that are so fondly associated with the Fields at Waterloo.
Andover Iron Works:
During the American Revolutionary War, the owners of the Andover Iron Works, William Allen and Joseph Turner, were both Loyalists and therefore refused to produce pig iron and bar iron for the American Government. They established the Iron Works in 1760 in a remote, sparsely settled area of the frontier. It was comprised of several thousand acres of wooded land, a furnace in Andover and a forge. The forge was located where the Lawrence Line, surveyed in 1743 as the official boundary between East and West Jersey, crossed the Musconetcong River near Waterloo’s Gristmill. The forge operated with water wheels harnessing the power of the river to operate the heavy trip hammers that pounded the iron, making it stronger then refining it into bars or rods ready for blacksmithing. The Homestead, Hotel, and Samuel Smith House have sections that were built originally during the forge era. Also on site at the time was a wheelwright shop, blacksmith shop, ammunition storage, several barns, and housing for the managers and workers, including enslaved people working the forge. Two partial owners in the Andover Iron Works were influential: John Hackett, an agent, purchased land for the company and is the family name from which Hackettstown is named. Benjamin Chew was close friends with George and Martha Washington and although the American government took over the operation of the Iron Works during the war, it is this relationship that likely prevented the government from completely confiscating the business.
Smith Family Farming:
Eighteenth century iron mining left a deforested landscape, ripe for farming. General John Smith purchased land tracts in Byram and Roxbury Townships beginning around 1802. The family had been living and concentrating their efforts upriver from Old Andover Forge (now Waterloo) near where Lubbers Run meets the Musconetcong River. When the Morris Canal was completed in 1831 Smith owned over 2,000 acres. The Morris Canal and Banking Company needed access through Smith’s property at Old Andover Forge. This elevated the value of the land and created business opportunities. Smith consolidated his 943 acres of Waterloo land in 1843 and sold it to his two youngest sons, Nathan and Peter. Nathan and Peter settled at Waterloo where in response to the growing community they developed housing, a Hotel and Tavern, General Store, Schoolhouse, and the Waterloo Methodist Church. Nathan Smith and his wife Matilda were living in the old Iron Master’s House at Waterloo in 1852 when he passed away. John Smith’s youngest son, Peter C. Smith, took on running the family businesses after his brother’s untimely death. Of Peter and his wife Maria’s 11 children, 6 lived to be adults. Peter C’s oldest son Samuel and his brothers Peter D. and Seymour (Smith Bros.), owned and operated the store, grist, plaster and saw mills, tenant housing and their farmland that produced corn, oats, rye and wheat. A fourth brother, Nathan Augustus, also owned farmland at Waterloo producing similar crops. Additionally, Nathan owned apple orchards, made butter, and produced buckwheat, and Irish potatoes.
Canal boats were pulled by a team of two mules on the Morris Canal for almost 100 years passing through Waterloo Village in each direction. They travelled slowly; the 5-day trip was completed at speeds of 2 to 3 miles per hour because there was a “no wake” rule on the canal to help protect the banks from water damage. The boats were 90 feet long, carrying up to 70 tons of coal and cargo. Conquering the rough terrain and elevation changes between Phillipsburg and Jersey City was no easy feat. The world-famous inclined plane system gave cause for the nickname “Mountain Climbing Canal” because it used a cable railway system that carried the hinged boats in cradle cars allowing them to be raised or lowered up to 100 feet at a time from one section of canal to another. Locks were also used where practical and appropriate. Inclined plane 4 West at Waterloo remains on the Morris County side of the Musconetcong River where sleeper stones that supported the rails, tar pots, iron cables, and foundations from several support structures can be found. The plane bed is 1,000 feet long, 34 feet wide and 80 feet high. Lock 3 West at Waterloo was a combination guard lock and aqueduct. A timber aqueduct carried boats over the tailrace (water outflow) from the mills and moved them between the lock and watered length of canal. The mule tow path, bridges and canal dam are some of the more prominent features that remain at Waterloo Village. From 1831 to 1924 the Morris Canal shaped the landscape of the region and villages such as Waterloo that developed along its route.
Teams of mules pulled small cars (also called Jimmies) filled with 6 to 8 tons of iron ore from the newly reopened Andover Mine into Waterloo Village. This 7-mile trek ended near the present location of the Waterloo Methodist Church. There, canal boats waited to be loaded with the iron ore transported by means of the Sussex Mine Railroad from 1851 to 1854. This narrow mule-powered tramway was the first railroad in Sussex County. Little evidence of its existence remains, however, small sections of the siding can still be spotted while hiking the Sussex Branch Trail between Cranberry Lake and Waterloo Road. On the Morris County side of the Musconetcong River, the Waterloo Depot was constructed, and rails made by the Trenton Iron Company were laid by the newly named Sussex Railroad in 1854. The old lines and old name were abandoned when the Sussex Railroad connected with the Morris Essex Line at the new Waterloo Station. When hiking the trails from Continental Drive toward the inclined plane, you will find embankments, sidings, location of the iron ore transfer docks, stone bridge abutments from a bridge crossing, the foundation from the Waterloo Depot and engine turntable.
In 1901 a railroad bypass was constructed from Netcong to the Sussex Branch, keeping about half the track in place to service the Waterloo Ice Company until 1917 but the Waterloo Depot was closed.
The Musconetcong River at Waterloo was dammed, diverted, and channeled as needed for the many industrious endeavors of the landowners. Upriver from the village, looking east, is a dam that was built to create Waterloo Lake. A channel was also cut through a peninsula of land to divert the flow of the river creating an island. These changes to the landscape allowed the Waterloo Ice Company, founded and owned by three of the Smith brothers, to operate between 1890 and 1917. For almost 30 years, Waterloo’s winter residents could watch the dangerous ice harvesting operations, which required two- handed saws, giant tongs, ice picks, chains, ropes, and horse drawn ice plows to cut the ice into large chunks or “cakes” of ice. The ice cakes were loaded into elevators that carried them to the ice houses for storage or loaded onto trains for transport. A manager's residence built of terracotta clay pipes as well as 5 massive foundations from the Ice Houses remain upstream from the dam on the Morris County side of Waterloo.
Winakung is a native woodland forest with exhibits, hands on activities about wilderness skills woodland resources forest food and Lenape village life. It has various stations that allow one to get a sense of and learn about the how the Lenape lived. These stations include hunting, fishing, storytelling and medicine to name but a few. The village contains longhouses and other housing structures. Winakung is the Lenape word for “place of Sassafras.” There are numerous Sassafras trees in the area and are unique in that they have three different shapes of leaves. It continues to be a popular destination for school tours in the spring and fall.
The Rutan Cabin is a 1800s farm cabin that was moved to Waterloo Village in the late 1980’s from Frankford Township where it was slated for demolition. The site where the Rutan Cabin sits was recreated to show what living on a farm in the 1800’s would have looked like. One of the themes that tie together the Rutan Cabin and Waterloo Village is transportation. The Rutan family would have used hoarse drawn wagons, ox-drawn carts and other primitive, insufficient methods of moving cargo. The Morris Canal created more effective shipping opportunities for the Rutan family and other farmers who lived along the canal.
Facilities for People with Disabilities
We encourage people with disabilities who require special considerations to contact the historic site / park at the phone number listed in the general information on the home page of the historic site / park. The staff will assist with arrangements. Text telephone (TT) users, please call the NJ Relay Services at (800) 852-7899.
For the Comfort and Enjoyment of All
This historic site / park is part of the NJ State Park system and your cooperation with the following will help ensure the survival of the museum collections, historic structures & features and surrounding property for the enjoyment and education of future generations!
Please contact this historic site / park with specific inquiries about any of these restrictions, as there may be some variations at this specific historic site / park.
Stanhope, NJ 07874
PO Box 203
Stanhope, NJ 07874
Grounds Hours Dawn to Dusk
Tour Hours Saturdays & Sundays, 10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., June through September
Visitor Interpretive Center Saturdays & Sundays, 10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., May through October
Entrance Fee None