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Cranberry Sorting and Packing House (Tin Sided) - Double Trouble Historic District - Berkeley and Lacey Twp., NJ
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 53.790 W 074° 13.300
18S E 566538 N 4416559
Quick Description: By far, the best preserved and most exciting piece of authentic early 20th century example of the historic cranberry industry in America. It is one of 15 contributing sites and the one you would want to spend the most time visiting.
Location: New Jersey, United States
Date Posted: 3/21/2009 5:38:24 PM
Waymark Code: WM62DX
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 9

Long Description:

When we entered the packing house it was like stepping back in time. We saw pictures of the women workers from the turn of the century and by all recollection, nothing has changed. It was amazing. I liked the conveyor belts and the sorting tables. The packing house is right on the bog so it made for easy conveyance and processing of the crops. Pay special attention to the pictures to see all the well-preserved remnant of that agricultural life which has all but vanished.

The packing house was where the majority of workers toiled and labored. It is the second listing in the inventory of contributing sites and structures. The historic district nomination form was written in 1977 and received by the Department of the Interior on October 31st of that year. It was later entered onto the register February 23, 1978. Double Trouble State Park and the preserved historical buildings are all that remain of this once thriving agricultural center. Cranberries and a whole lot of them were the driving force behind this berry mecca. Travel back and time and read on....

"The historic district consists of approximately 200 acres of cranberry bogs, and a village nucleus of service buildings including the cranberry packing and sorting house...Its buildings are disposed about a circular gravel driveway with 2 spurs on the west side. The functional focus of the village occurs on the east side of this circle. The main building in this group is the cranberry sorting and packing house, a 5 bay pitched roof, frame building with sheet metal siding, and a 3 bay front porch. There is also a 1 story 4 bay frame support building in front. The packing and sorting house contains 3 Hayden Cranberry separators, which are almost completely intact. Each machine is essentially a system of conveyor belts, bins, and rollers to facilitate manual sorting. The belts and cogs have wheels which feature characteristically early 20th century serpentine spokes....In 1916 the cranberry sorting house was built and the Hayden separators were installed in 1929. The berries were were brought up to the second floor and were carried along a conveyor where 10 or 15 women sat and picked out green berries, twigs and leaves. The berries were then conveyed to packing machines and loaded onto trucks." --- National Register of Historic Places Inventory -- Nomination Form

"Right on this road is Double Trouble, 3.5 m. (50 alt.) more a name than a community, in the pine and cranberry country. Nearly 100 years ago an old preacher and his wife lived near the dam that forms Cedar Creek Lake. A colony of muskrats also resided there and about once a week burrowed through the dam. The parson and his closest neighbor repaired the dam time after time. Once the muskrats dug through twice in the same week, whereupon the preacher cried in despair, "Here's double trouble!". The community is active only when the Double Trouble Cranberry Co. brings in migrant workers during the berry season...." --- New Jersey, a Guide to Its Present and Past, 1939; page 557

Many years ago, Double Trouble has a vibrant cranberry business as well as a mill company (wood). Today, all is restored. There are tours and interpretive signs as well as tons and tons of hiking trails and a whole mess of geocaches. I had the opportunity to visit this site on many occasion. I also hosted an event here which provided us with a guided tour of the entire complex including the packing plant, the barracks for workers who lived and worked at this site, the saw mill and other important particulars. The original outhouse and single room school house are still there.

Parking is plenty when you first enter. There are many interpretive sign displays which dot the landscape, explaining each artifact, site and remnant of the past. I thought the period graffiti in the packing plant was the most interesting and certainly the most unique artifact of that age. Much of the graffiti or people writing their names or little messages were from the 30's and early 40's and were geared toward Germany and Hitler and of course were very negative.

In our guided tour we learned supplies and materials were in short supply. Building materials were always recycled and used again for another project. When a house or whatever had outlived its purpose, it would be taken apart and used to build something else. For instance, we learned that the barn here was built in the 1950s and made from materials from other buildings in the village which were deconstructed. The people of this company town didn't waste a single scrap of anything! Essentially, this may be the state's first recycled barn.


Originally a cranberry farm and packing plant, the former company town called Double Trouble is a window into past and current industries in the Pinelands. The Double Trouble Company was formed to sell timber, millwork products and cranberries. A succession of sawmills has been on site since the mid-1700s. The village consists of cranberry bogs and fourteen original historic structures dating from the late 19th century through the early 20th century including a general store, a schoolhouse and cottages. The sawmill was restored in 1995, and the cranberry sorting and packing house were completed in 1996.

Please park here: N 39° 53.852 W 074° 13.328
Please enter here: N 39° 53.878 W 074° 13.278
The posted coordinates are for the center of the historic village

*Occasionally, the data base for the NRHP makes a mistake. They list the city for Double Trouble State Park as Beachwood. This is WRONG. Double Trouble Historic District lies in Lacey Twp., and part of it lies in Berkeley Twp. Just for the record.

Name of Historic District (as listed on the NRHP): Double Trouble Historic District

Link to page with the Historic District: [Web Link]

NRHP Historic District Waymark (Optional): [Web Link]

S of Beachwood off Garden State Pkwy., Beachwood , NJ USA 08722

How did you determine the building to be a contributing structure?: Other (Please explain in the Private Message field)

Optional link to narrative or database: Not listed

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kayakingdog visited Cranberry Sorting and Packing House (Tin Sided) - Double Trouble Historic District - Berkeley and Lacey Twp., NJ 11/26/2017 kayakingdog visited it