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Saw Mill (Tin Sided) - Double Trouble Historic District - Berkeley and Lacey Twp., NJ
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 53.740 W 074° 13.435
18S E 566347 N 4416465
Quick Description: Originally, in the 1800s, the 1st commercial effort made in Double Trouble was not agricultural but industrial, that being a mill. The initial mill burned to the ground in 1909; its replacement still stands and is 1 of 15 contributing structures.
Location: New Jersey, United States
Date Posted: 3/24/2009 5:49:44 PM
Waymark Code: WM636A
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 4

Long Description:

Interestingly, it was the lumbering and emptying of entire tracts of land which led to the planting of the cranberry vines and the flooding of the empty tracts of land. On our tour, we had a good long look at the mill and it is so well preserved, one could swear it is still in use today. There is a lot of complicated and expensive looking machinery. There were also plenty of interpretive displays to explain and tell the tale of Double Trouble historic district and the contributions of the saw mill.

The mill is another very large structure and along with the sorting and packing house, it is the largest in this well-preserved, circularly arranged cottages and work places. It is the sixth 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." [One of these spurs proceeds south] "Further south along this spur is the sawmill, a 2-story pitch roof metal sided frame building with a rear wing. The structure is somewhat deteriorated" [since repaired when I visited] "Behind the mill is a small woodshed....

The land which became Double Trouble was first owned by Antony Sharp, an Irish Quaker and woolen merchant, who was one of the proprietors of East Jersey. But he never saw his Jersey holdings. a 1765 survey shows that property contained a mill which was located along Cedar Creek. Between 1806 and 1904, much of the Double Trouble tract was owned by Captain William Giberson and his sons. The Gibersons used the tract for lumbering. By 1866 there was a considerable settlement employing 2500 people, with 2 powered saw mills producing cedar shingles, laths, and timbers for sailing ships. As the swamps were emptied of timber, they were planted with cranberry vines. in 1904 Edward Crabbe bought the Giberson tract. He continued the old water powered saw mill operation until 1909 when the mill burned to the ground.

For many years they produced straight cut watermill sawn lumber. A new mill was built with circular blades powered by a one cylinder gasoline engine. Nothing remains of the 19th century saw mill complex and the sawing machinery of the 1916 mill has been removed to Batsto State Park.

" [From my visit, it would appear the second mill has been FULLY restored and the original equipment has been returned. An examination of the photo gallery will reveal this to be true.] --- 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 Saw Mill (Tin Sided) - Double Trouble Historic District - Berkeley and Lacey Twp., NJ 11/26/2017 kayakingdog visited it