Batsto Village
Wharton State Forest
RD #9
Batsto Historic Site
Hammonton, NJ 08037
(609) 561-0024 • 567-8116 Fax

Beautiful Batsto Village, located in Wharton State Forest, is the site of a former bog iron and glass-making community. Founded in 1766 by famous Ironmaster Charles Reed, the Batsto Iron Works was constructed on the banks of the Batsto River. The name derives from the Swedish "Batstu," which means bathing place, and the bathers were probably the Lenni-Lenape Indians.

The Iron Works soon changed hands, bought by John Cox in 1773 and Joseph Ball in 1779. Throughout this period it was instrumental in supplying the Continental Army with a variety of war products, from munitions to kettles, and parts for ships.

William Richards bought the Works in 1784 and it remained in his family, operated by his son and grandson, for the next 92 years. They were responsible for building most of the village.

As happened with the pig iron industry everywhere, Batsto declined in the mid-1800's. After a brief period of manufacturing glass, it fell into receivership.

The complex was purchased by Joseph Wharton in 1876. Wharton built a sawmill, cleared the land, planted cranberries and other crops, and ran a forest products and agriculture business until he died in 1909.

In 1954 Batsto was purchased by the State of New Jersey, and today it is the core of Wharton State Forest, which in turn is part of the Pinelands National Reserve.

Visitors can tour Batsto for a fascinating look into the 19th century. More than 40 sites and structures remain to tell their story, including Batsto Mansion, which can be seen by Guided Tour throughout the year.

Other sites include the Visitor Center with changing exhibits, a 19th century ore boat which was excavated from the bottom of Batsto Lake, a Charcoal Kiln Exhibit -- how charcoal was made (which really is quite ingenious), Ice and Milk Houses (ice cut from the lake was stored here; covered with sawdust, it kept the whole year), Carriage House and Stable, Blacksmith and Wheelwright Shop, and the Gristmill.

Continue on to the Hydraulic Ram (a water pump), The General Store and Post Office (still in operation! -- collectors get your stamps cancelled here with no zip code). The Sawmill can also be seen, as can the still active Batsto-Pleasant Mills Methodist Church.

Batsto provides a great field trip opportunity throughout the year. Groups may schedule tours, including School Groups. There are no specific programs concerning the Village, however, the educational value of a tour is evident. And there is a full time naturalist on staff who does conduct natural history programs for School Groups. Call (609) 567-4559.

Hours: Visitor Center and Museum open daily, 9am - 4:00pm. Grounds open dawn to dusk. Mansion Tours available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Call for hours.
Admission: For Mansion Tours, ages 12 and up $3.00, ages 6 - 11 $1.00. Children under 6 FREE. Parking $5.00 per car on weekends and holidays, Memorial Day thru Labor Day.
Group Reservations: At least 2 weeks in advance. 2 weeks for self-guided tour.
Lunch: Picnic area available. Food concession operates daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day and May and September weekends.
Handicapped Access: Partial.
Directions: Rt. 30 East to Hammonton, NJ. Turn left onto Rt. 542, to Batsto. 30 - 60 minutes from Philadelphia.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.