Waterloo Village Museum
Note: Until further notice Waterloo Village is open to the public on a limited basis only on annual Waterloo Canal Days. Educational programming for school and Scout groups is offered by Winakung at Waterloo, Inc. Tours of the Lenape Indian Village and/or Canal Town are available April - November, and tours can be customized as well. Visit the Winakung at Waterloo website for further details.
Waterloo is rich in history, dating back to the time of the Munsee (Lenape) Indians who inhabited northern New Jersey and made use of the rich natural resources and the abundance of the landscape and waterways. Later, with the discovery of rich veins of iron nearby, the Andover Forge was established here, making bar iron for shipment to England before the American Revolution.
The village of Waterloo had its most active period with the arrival of the Morris Canal in 1831. With a canal lock and inclined plane located here, Waterloo Village became a small inland port on the cross-state trip from the Delaware River to the Hudson River. Today, Waterloo Village is the only place on the East Coast where both a canal lock and the remains of an inclined plane can be seen along with the town that grew up around them.
The inclined plane, an engineering wonder, carried canal boats over hills by a system of railroad tracks and cables, overcoming extreme changes in elevation. Once the railroads were built, however, their speed and efficiency made the canal obsolete. With the closing of the canal, Waterloo was left a quiet residential hamlet.
Today, the Village has been restored and is a living example of a bygone era. Visitors can tour the beautiful grounds and buildings for great lessons in history, architecture, social studies, industry, and more. Buildings that can be visited or toured are:
The Museum of the Canal Society of New Jersey details the engineering and history of the Morris Canal and includes a documentary video. The canals of New Jersey are a fascinating subject by themselves.
A life-size Lenape Village on Winakung Island in Waterloo Lake is a faithful reproduction, including long houses, huts, women's quarters, burial grounds, carvings, and artifacts. The island brings to life the culture of the New Jersey Indian at the turn of the 17th century.
The American Craft Series at Waterloo includes a Gunsmith, Potter, Broom Maker, Weavers, Spinners and more. Finally, a Historic Farmsite features New Jersey's oldest freestanding log cabin, and includes farm animals, planted fields and kitchen gardens. Outbuildings, including a corncrib, and a smokehouse, can be seen. Seasonal activities and special events are custom-made for family outings and are sure to be enjoyed. Call or email for a calendar of events.
Naturally, the description here is condensed. This is a big place with lots of interesting things to see and do. Perfect for family day trips and perfect, too, for School Groups of all ages.
School Tours are Self-Guided, led by the class teacher along an assigned route. Allow at least four hours to see the entire Village. Open rain or shine. Call for reservations.
Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.