History of the Pinelands

Legends, lore and landmarks abound in the Pinelands.


The history of the Pinelands is the story of people and the land. The ruins of ghost towns tell the stories of the past, and the thriving towns and villages are a testament to the places and traditions that continue. Legends, lore and landmarks abound in the Pinelands.

Today’s Pinelands are a result of geological transformations occurring over millenia, with humans beginning to shape the landscape 10,000 years ago.

batsto mansion new jersey pinelands pine barrens
Batsto Mansion at Batso Village, which originated as Batsto Iron Works along the Batsto River in 1766. Batsto had the natural resources necessary for making iron. Bog iron ore, which was “mined” from the banks of the streams and rivers, was used to manufacture cannonballs and musketballs used during the Revolutionary War years. © Daniel D’Auria

European settlement brought towns and industries to the Pines, and began to change the landscape in ways previously unseen. The ghostly remains of industrial villages like Martha, where an iron furnace operated in the early 1800s, and Harrisville, where a paper mill flourished in the late 1800s, can still be seen. Company towns like Double Trouble Village, a cranberry farm and packing plant, and Whitesbog Village, where Elizabeth White domesticated the blueberry, are today well-preserved examples of a bygone way of life in the Pines.

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Today, several hundred thousand people inhabit the Pinelands, with many commuting to employment centers on the edge of the Philadelphia metropolitan region. And while the manufacturing industries of previous generations have faded away, large-scale cranberry and blueberry farming continue to provide an economic foundation for the region

Online History Resources

NJDEP – Historic Preservation Office
New Jersey Historical Commission
New Jersey Historical Society
Preservation New Jersey


Burlington County Historical Society
Camden County Historical Society
Cape May Historical Society
Cumberland County Historical Society
Gloucester County Historical Society
Monmouth County Historical Association
Ocean County Historical Society


Atlantic County
Atlantic City Historical Museum
Atlantic Heritage Center
Egg Harbor City Historical Society
Hamilton Township Historical Society
Linwood Historical Society
Somers Point Historical Society

Burlington County
Batsto Village
Burlington County Lyceum of History & Natural Science
Buzby’s Chatsworth General Store
Indian Mills (Shamong) Historical Society
Medford Historical Society
Moorestown Historical Society
Pemberton Railroad Station Museum
Rankokus Indian Reservation
Southampton Historical Society
Whitesbog Preservation Trust

Camden County
Haddonfield Historical Society
Winslow Township Historical Society

Cape May County
Greater Cape May Historical Society
Historic Cold Spring Village
Ocean City Historical Museum
Wildwood Crest Historical Society

Cumberland County
Down Jersey Folklife Center
Vinelands Historical Society

Monmouth County
Allaire Village
Monmouth County Historical Commission
Township of Ocean Historical Museum

Ocean County
Allaire Village
Barnegat Historical Society
Barnegat Light Historical Society
Brigantine Historical Society
Long Beach Island Historical Association
Navy Lakehurst Historical Society

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