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High Bridge in Hunterdon County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Solitude
 
Solitude Marker Photo, Click for full size
By William Honachefsky Jr, November 9, 2004
1. Solitude Marker
 
Inscription. Patriots imprisoned loyalist Pennsylvania Governor John Penn and Crown Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Chew here during the Revolutionary War. They named the place “Solitude.”
 
Erected 2006 by Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the New Jersey, Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission marker series.
 
Location. 40° 40.266′ N, 74° 53.169′ W. Marker is in High Bridge, New Jersey, in Hunterdon County. Marker is on River Road. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7 River Road, High Bridge NJ 08829, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Solitude House (a few steps from this marker); Lake Solitude and Taylor Falls (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Forge (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Forge Bridge (approx. 0.2 miles away); The TISCO Complex (approx. 0.2 miles away); Taylor Steelworkers Historic Greenway (approx. 0.3 miles away); Old Iron Mines (approx. 0.4 miles away); Taylor Wharton Iron and Steel Company (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in High Bridge.
 
Regarding Solitude.
 
Solitude House Museum Photo, Click for full size
By William Honachefsky Jr
2. Solitude House Museum
 
Homestead of five generations of Taylors. Father of Taylor Wharton Iron and Steel, the oldest continually operating foundry in United States History (1742–1973). Now the Solitude House Museum. Sundial on grounds is exact replica of George Washington’s in Mount Vernon. Visitors to Solitude included George Washington, Colonel Charles Stewart, Lafayette, Aaron Burr. Civil War General George W. Taylor, brother of President Lewis H. Taylor was born at Solitude. Managed by Union Forge Heritage Association
 
Also see . . .
1. About High Bridge. Solitude House, abutting Lake Solitude, was built in 1725 or earlier. (Submitted on January 8, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 

2. Save Lake Solitude Dam. The last known remaining New Jersey example of an I-beam dam, Lake Solitude Dam, built in 1909 by master engineer Frank S. Tainter, to provide hydro-electric power for the Taylor-Wharton Iron and Steel Company, a prominent munitions manufacturer whose history spans from the American Revolutionary War through the Korean War. The dam holds significance for its civil engineering design and for the role that it played in permitting Taylor-Wharton ironworks, downstream, to expand. Both the dam and 35-acre Lake Solitude, created by the dam, are eligible for listing in the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places individually as well as part of a possible larger industrial historic district and the Taylor Iron Workers Historical Greenway connecting Columbia Trail to the Amesbury Furnace.
 
Solitude House and Union Forge in the 19th Century Photo, Click for full size
3. Solitude House and Union Forge in the 19th Century
 
While the dam’s history is acknowledged, borough officials grapple with the cost of repairing the 1909 dam or breaching it. Interestingly, there is renewed interest in rebuilding a hydroelectric plant at Lake Solitude dam, however no firm proposals have been made. The Mayor and Council put 13 years of effort into purchasing the property and $200,000+ in remediation plans, resulting now in full DEP approval. Unfortunately, the Borough Council has until August 2008 to act. Through this long time period as elected officials have come and gone, sentiments have changed and some now believe that although breaching costs upfront are greater, they advocate that it is more cost-effective measure in the long term with no annual maintenance or inspection costs. Some favor returning the river to its natural course, one it has not taken since 1858. However, breaching would not only create a long-term historical loss, it would drain Lake Solitude, a High Bridge landmark, and destroy the natural habitat for wildlife dependent upon the lake. Additionally, financial costs would be incurred for then dredging, silt and contaminated soils removal that would not be incurred were the dam to remain intact. Preservation of the Lake Solitude Dam and Lake is an important linkage to not only High Bridge’s past but to a 6-mile hiking trail linking the borough’s open spaces. It is far more cost-effective, can do nothing but spur tourism and local business, and has the potential to revert to its historical origins by providing hydroelectric power. (Submitted on May 23, 2008, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey.) 
 
1865 Solitude Painting unveiled Photo, Click for full size
By William Honachefsky Jr, February 19, 2005
4. 1865 Solitude Painting unveiled
An artist from Somerset County, New Jersey donated this painting of Solitude House Valley and Falls, circa 1860. Ms. Wick spent 250 man hours on the painting. The painting was unveiled on May 4, 2008 at Solitude Museum's Season Opening.
 

3. Solitude House Museum web site. (Submitted on April 13, 2009, by Mike Gronsky of Highbridge, New Jersey.)
 
Additional comments.
1. Museum closed
Sadly, on October 24, 2012 , the Union Forge Heritage Associations volunteer managed Museum was closed after 10 years because the Borough of High Bridge is looking to make this site a Bed and Breakfast. The Union Forge Heritage Association would like to thank our members,friends,supporters and patrons for making this possible. Although, UFHA has left Solitude House, a incredibly bright future is ahead.
    — Submitted January 18, 2013, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey.

2. Union Forge Heritage Association's Solitude Heritage Museum
Solitude House Museum closed in 2012, but the grand opening of Solitude Heritage Museum located at 117 Van Syckles Road Hampton NJ 08827 will be on July 5th, 2014.
    — Submitted May 20, 2014, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey.
 
2008 Independence Day Celebration at Solitude House Photo, Click for full size
By William Honachefsky Jr, July 4, 2008
5. 2008 Independence Day Celebration at Solitude House
This celebration also marked the 150th Anniversary of Lake Solitude
 
 
New Jersey State Senator Leonard Lance Photo, Click for full size
By William Honachefsky Jr, July 4, 2008
6. New Jersey State Senator Leonard Lance
with the Board of Trustees of the Union Forge Heritage Association
 
 
Senator Lance introduces the Independence Day celebration Photo, Click for full size
By William Honachefsky Jr, July 4, 2008
7. Senator Lance introduces the Independence Day celebration
 
 
Photo of Union Iron Works (Now located under Spruce Run Resevoir 1912) Photo, Click for full size
By William Honachefsky Jr
8. Photo of Union Iron Works (Now located under Spruce Run Resevoir 1912)
 
 
Slaves Quarters 1742 Photo, Click for full size
By William Honachefsky Jr, 2003
9. Slaves Quarters 1742
 
 
Revolutionary War Barracks Photo, Click for full size
By William Honachefsky Jr, May 2, 2008
10. Revolutionary War Barracks
 
 
Lake Solitude Dam Photo, Click for full size
By William Honachefsky Jr, May 2, 2008
11. Lake Solitude Dam
 
 
Lake Solitude Photo, Click for full size
By William Honachefsky Jr, May 2, 2008
12. Lake Solitude
Located adjacient to Lake Solitude Dam and Solitude Dam it is used for a variety of recreational pursuits.
 
 
Vintage photo of Solitude House Photo, Click for full size
circa 1900
13. Vintage photo of Solitude House
 
 
Entry Hallway at Solitude House Photo, Click for full size
By Karen S. Larsen, circa May 2007
14. Entry Hallway at Solitude House
Note the inlaid floor of oak and walnut wood. The wood pattern on the floor is delibrately set in a railroad pattern.
 
 
Penn Room and Solitude House Photo, Click for full size
By Karen S. Larsen, circa May 2007
15. Penn Room and Solitude House
Picture above mantle is John Moore, first mayor of High Bridge, NJ
 
 
Replica of George Washington's Sundial in Mount Vernon Photo, Click for full size
By William Honachefsky Jr, January 19, 2008
16. Replica of George Washington's Sundial in Mount Vernon
“Let others talk of storms and showers, I'll only mark your sunny hours.”
 
 
Lake Solitude Falls and Dam Photo, Click for full size
By William Honachefsky Jr
17. Lake Solitude Falls and Dam
Adjoining Solitude, Lake Solitude Dam, originally built in 1858, later updated in 1909 by Master Engineer Frank S. Tainter, produced hydroelectric power for the Taylor Iron and Steel Company. It is believed to be the last remaining masonry dam with buttresses in the State of New Jersey
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on January 8, 2008, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 4,765 times since then. Last updated on May 26, 2014, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey. Photos:   1. submitted on January 19, 2008, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey.   2. submitted on January 8, 2008, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey.   3. submitted on January 20, 2008, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey.   4. submitted on April 30, 2008, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey.   5, 6, 7. submitted on July 9, 2008, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey.   8. submitted on November 24, 2008, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey.   9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on November 25, 2008, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey.   13. submitted on January 20, 2008, by Karen S. Larsen of Bridgewater, New Jersey.   14, 15. submitted on January 21, 2008, by Karen S. Larsen of Bridgewater, New Jersey.   16. submitted on January 19, 2008, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey.   17. submitted on January 20, 2008, by William Honachefsky Jr of High Bridge/Clinton Twp, New Jersey. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
 
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