A trip to Batsto Village in the Pine Barrens
My wife and I made a visit to Batsto Village in Hammonton. If you’re not familiar with the village, it’s a preserved, primarily 19th center village nestled in the Wharton State Forest in the Pine Barrens.
While there is evidence of land use dating back thousands of years, the modern history of the village starts in 1766, when the Batsto Iron Works was founded. After growing and changing hands a few times, the land and the buildings were purchased by Joseph Wharton (yes, the same Wharton as the forest as well as the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania) in 1876. Wharton was a wealthy businessman from Philadelphia who used the Batsto Mansion as his summer residence. He made several additions to the property, and as you can see from the pictures, it is still a very imposing house.
We took a tour of the mansion and it is remarkably well maintained, with several pieces of furniture that date to the 19th century. The rest of the property features the grist mill, the blacksmith’s shop, the wheelwright’s workshop, stables, a piggery, a post office, a general store, and more. The state of New Jersey bought the property in the mid 1950s.
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