Hidden Jersey: Abandoned Jersey

These abandoned spots offer a peek to Jersey's rich past.

Urban legends romp amid the ruins of the Brooksbrae Brick Factory.

Urban legends romp amid the ruins of the Brooksbrae Brick Factory. Photo by Rob Yaskovic

Brooksbrae Brick Factory
Pasadena Road off Route 72 (Brendan Byrne State Park), Manchester (Ocean County)
Walk along the abandoned rail tracks and climb among the ruins of this would-be brick factory that was built in the early 1900s, but never reached full production due to a devastating 1915 fire. Deep in the Pine Barrens, the crumbling foundations, tunnels, benches and walls are covered in graffiti, adding a creepy aura to the site, which has inspired the tale of a murder/suicide and other urban legends.—JPC

One of the remaining structures at Jungle Habitat.

One of the remaining structures at Jungle Habitat. Photo courtesy of Gwen Sikora.


Jungle Habitat

West Milford (Passaic County)
It sounded like a good idea: a drive-through jungle safari on 1,000 wooded acres in Passaic County where exotic animals could press their heads against the windshield of Mom and Dad’s Chevy, providing a  family-friendly experience.

But Jungle Habitat was beset with problems from the start. Only a few months after Warner Brothers opened the park in 1972, a lion attacked a guest through a rolled-down window. In 1974, a baby elephant reached out of its enclosure and nabbed a woman with its trunk. Warner Brothers closed the park in 1976. The state bought the property in 1988;  today it is administered by nearby Ringwood State Park.

What happened to the big cats, baboons and other beasts that had roamed the park? Legend has it many remained in the woods long after Warner Brothers declared, “That’s all folks!” Sightings were reported for years, but never proven.

Visiting the site today, it’s unlikely you’ll spot an ostrich on the loose, but the ruins of the park—including the tiger pens—give the area an eerie vibe. The 26 miles of trails have made the site  popular among hikers, mountain bikers and ATV riders.—MM

Photo courtesy of Instagram: donnyjr6513.

Photo courtesy of Instagram: donnyjr6513.

Winslow Junction
Off Route 30, Winslow Township (Camden County)
You may have caught a glimpse of this abandoned train yard in the classic indie film The Station Agent, starring Morristown’s Peter Dinklage. The home of the Southern Railroad Company, Winslow Junction was once a bustling depot until a tragic derailment in July 1922 killed seven and injured 89. Today, ancient rail cars are frozen in time at the junction in various states of disrepair.—MM

Click here to leave a comment
Read more Historic Jersey, Outdoors articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.