Reading the Landscape: 46


Riding through Watchung Reservation in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, I come upon the Deserted Village of Feltville.


I park my bike to have a look around.


The Deserted Village of Feltville is in some ways the model for all American suburbia. An employer builds housing for his workers.

David Felt, a businessman in Boston, Massachusetts, decided to move to New York City in 1825. By 1844, the production of his mill could not grow fast enough to meet the demands of the merchants he supplied, so Felt began to look for land in New Jersey on which to build a second factory. Eventually he bought land from the descendants of Peter Willcox, and in two years, he had built a mill on Blue Brook, two dams for the mill, and a town for the workers in the mill. He named this new town “Feltville”. Within the little town, Felt gained the nickname of “King David”, for he required the residents to attend services in the churchhouse and their children to attend classes in a one-room schoolhouse.

The nearby towns of Basking Ridge and Berkeley Heights started out in fact as corporate villages for the gigantic Bell Labs complex in Basking Ridge. Feltville is now part of the Watching Reservation and the Union County Park system (one of the few things New Jersey has ever done right.


What to do if you find Yogi and Boo Boo trying to steal your picnic baskets. I occasionally see black bears in Watching Reservation but never manage to get close enough to take a photograph (not really a good idea anyway).


Don’t selfie-shame me bro.

7 thoughts on “Reading the Landscape: 46”

  1. I love he selfie – and fun after seeing the bike a couple times!
    The old chimneys in the houses hint of how old they are – and so interesting to learn about felt-ville –
    And how powerful and rich Mr Feltville must have been!
    We recently took a road trip and passed through St Louis MIssouri and I grabbed some photos of old abandoned houses – many were burned out – but I did not get very many photos from the highway – yet grateful for the ones I did get- and plan to post about it soon!
    Anyhow – hope u have a nice night and I enjoyed this post!

      1. Oh that is a bit sad – even tho i know some resources are meant to be used –
        I mean – a gift to humans – but so many folks abuse it!
        And here in Virginia i heard our governor was letting a Chinese company come and open a paper mill here – and we have driven by mills before and they stink – and so i thought – really? Is it not enough that we buy from China – but now let them pollute our water and air and make money from us on our own soil? But I guess the mill will bring a couple of hundred “hourly” jobs to the area – and well – am I missing something here! ? Doesn’t this seem wrong?

  2. Hi Stan, I have appreciated your photos and your reviews of old movies. Here are some words I’ve collected into a pseudo book review:
    The Three Bullies
    The Shaming of the United Nations

    This is a pseudo – review of two old books, from another era. The first is a biography of U Thant, Secretary- General of the United Nations (titled “U Thant – The Search for Peace”{1966}), and the second is a volume edited by Otto Nathan and Heinz Norden, “Einstein On Peace” (1960).
    These books are connected by previous ownership by the Atwater Library in Montreal, and have been cast aside as no longer relevant. I have bought a number of books for 50 cents each from a shelf of discards. For two reasons (re-living my youth, and preservation of some important ideas). I have collected about a dozen of these ideas being withdrawn from circulation, thinking to make some effort at preservation.
    Presently, to explain my thesis, if you will, as of July, 2016, our world is in chaos. Russia, after annexing Crimea, continues to occupy, or at least to support, an argument concerning Ukraine, where a “revolution” attempts to wrest control from Russia and make trade with “the West”. The conflict has been punctuated by a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet with over 300 passengers shot out of the sky by unverified events. A sour mood descends upon us all as “the powers that be” have encouraged Ukrainians to take up arms against their Ukrainian neighbours. Rancid smells continue unabated as citizens are used as pawns for geo-political games between “the West” (USA and followers, like Canada) and an apparent power grab by Putin of Russia. Still unresolved after some time, citizens of the planet hold their breath, waiting for some development to either a deeper crisis, or a blinking of resolve on some side. Students of history recall the expansionism of colonial power of all those European nations that rushed to strip so many foreign places of their resources and laying some claim of “sovereignty” on anyone who happened to be in the way. Starting in 1948, we learned about “nations” like India resurfacing as the slavery of a foreign sovereign was lifted in nearly all of the former “colonies”. We know very well, us worldly knowers in this vast universe of knowledge, that colonialism has ended. Alas, neo-colonialism, a new form of “remote control” enfeebles freedom everywhere. Just when the colonials thought they were getting free, a new wave of “globalisation” in the name of corporate fascism, threatens freedom on every side. Using differences in exchange rates and countries with low standards of living, “off-shore” workers and banks, irresponsible corporations play the rich against the poor, recognizing easy gains from people rescued from poor to “working poor”, competing in a race to the bottom for labor and a race to the bank for the owners.
    There is so much detail to cover in this tiny “observation of fact”, it can easily run to a number of pages. I don’t mean to distract with a bunch of fluff or useless information. I’m trying to introduce the reader to the pertinent facts, and there are many.
    So, there is Putin in Ukraine, and rumors also suggest the rattling of sabres at the Polish border, where NATO wants to station some troops.

    Meanwhile, USA and Russia are monkeying around in Syria, supposedly trying to avoid each other while “bringing peace to the world.” Please refer to some “encyclopedia of war” to ascertain the conflicts currently in progress as both Russia and USA decide to play “policeman”.

    Today, the World Court ruled against China’s claim for territory within the South China Sea. Colonialism, again, as China decides to come out of its shell and start with this “sovereignty” idea, about 200 years too late. At this point in world history “Because it was there” cannot truthfully be thought about any region on earth. We know that little boys have egos, and each person in all of humanity attempts to supply themselves with the necessities of life. And some men do not outgrow a ravenous greed that demands extreme fulfillment, becoming national leaders, they grasp for “all of it”, giving no ground, accepting no limits. A lot of people, these days, know that that kind of behavior is pathological. We’ve had our Hitlers and Stalins and Maos and Bushes, and we’re pretty doubtful about Trump, eh? Who wants megalomania? Who wants tyrants and dictators? Do you think “your favorite dictator” will be okay because it looks like he is on your side?
    To digress – 5 police officers have been killed in a sniper attack in Dallas, Texas. “Black Lives Matter” are protesting many shootings of black men by police. Revolution is in the air as President Obama tries, yet once again, to calm things down after too many shootings. War around the world and killers on the street. Oh, and we have forgotten all the climate change disasters, like 200 ml of rain in West Virginia that killed 24 persons? Famine and drought in Ethiopia. On and on, the litany of doom becomes more persistent, the suicide bombers defining “unpredictable”.
    I present these vignettes of violence to assure the calm reader that so many days are filled with dread – perhaps subconscious, hardly felt, still allowing me to sleep, but seemingly leading (soon) to an unhappy conclusion.
    I so enjoyed my reading of U Thant’s United Nations biography. It describes a time of peace, although the Korean war finally brought us to Viet Nam, where the USA chose to move on its own (without international support) against a perceived communist threat. So many Americans were certain of error, a large anti-war movement developed, draft resisters fleeing to Canada, demonstrations against the government, a chaos of The People against The State.
    These three major countries, with large populations, large tax revenues and large defense systems, have certainly edged towards more and more independent views about geopolitical realities, the idealism of supranational order devised by the United Nations having been replaced with self-serving superiority.
    A book from 1946, “One World Or None”, published by “a number of intellectuals”, edited by Dexter Masters, including Albert Einstein as a contributor, projected “to inform the American public of the full import of the atom bomb”. Along with this message of dire consequences of the technology, moves were afoot to form the United Nations.
    From page 357 of “Einstein On Peace”, a cable sent to the Academy of Science in Moscow by Einstein on December 18, 1945 states:
    “Those who have worked on the atomic bomb in this country are deeply concerned with the great dangers connected with this weapon. Some of the basic facts of bomb’s development and their practical implications with respect to human survival are now being summarized in book to be published here, written mainly by scientists from atomic project. The book will also express our feeling that menace of bomb can be removed only by co-operation on international scale through agreement or organization strong enough to deal with the problem as a world problem. We feel that the book will be incomplete without a statement from some of our Russian colleagues, such as Kapitza, Joffe, Kurschatov, Landau or others you might care to designate. In the interest of clarifying and contributing to solution of the problems raised by atomic bomb, we urge you to cable statement of a few hundred words length care of Albert Einstein, Princeton, New Jersey.”
    I am re-typing, here, with some effort, the four pages of Einstein’s own contribution to the book, “The Way Out”. I believe the readers’ effort here will be rewarded with a full understanding of the scientific community’s grappling, at the time, with the new-found nuclear powers that delivered all of humanity into a state of great uncertainty, and that conscious, deliberate efforts were needed to organize a method of controlling this great power.
    “The creation of the atomic bomb has brought the constant threat of sudden annihilation into the life of every city dweller throughout the world. No one can deny that this situation must cease if man is to make even partial claim to his chosen name of Homo sapiens. But there is no agreement yet which of the traditional social and political institutions will have to be sacrificed to achieve security.
    After the First World War, we were confronted with a contradictory situation in regard to the solution of international conflicts. An International Court of Justice had been established for the peaceful solution of such conflicts on the basis of international law. In addition, the creation of the League of Nations provided a sort of world parliament, a political instrument for securing peace by means of international negotiation; and the nations united in the League had in fact outlawed war as a criminal method of solving international conflicts.
    Thus, an illusion of security had been created in the world, one that could not but lead to bitter disappointment. For even the highest court is of no significance unless it has the power to enforce its decisions, and certainly this is no less true of a world parliament. A single country, in possession of sufficient military and economic power, can easily resort to force and destroy at will the entire structure of supranational security, if that security is founded on nothing more substantial than words and documents. Moral authority alone will prove inadequate to the task of securing peace.
    The effectiveness of the United Nations is now being tested. It may eventually emerge as the agency of “security without illusion” that we so badly need. But as of now, it does not possess more than moral authority, which, as I have said, is not sufficient.
    The present situation is even more precarious due to a number of other circumstances, only two of which will be mentioned here. First, as long as individual countries are obliged to consider war as a possibility, although they officially condemn war, they are forced to train and indoctrinate their citizens, especially the young generation, in such a manner that in the event of war, the men can easily be converted into an efficient soldiery. To achieve this end, the countries are compelled not only to promote a military atmosphere and cultivate military training but also to inculcate a spirit of patriotism and national vanity which will assure the psychological readiness of the population in the event of war. Such indoctrination will necessarily counteract any endeavour to establish a supranational organization with moral authority.
    The second factor which contributes to the threat of war in our time is the development of technology. The fact that modern weapons, in particular the atomic bomb, give considerable advantage to the aggressor nation may well induce statesmen, who are conscious of their responsibility, to assume the risk of preventive war.
    Confronted as we are with this situation, I am convinced there is only one way out.
    Institutions must be established which will guarantee that any disputes which may arise between individual nations will be solved on a basis of law and under international jurisdiction. A supranational organization must make it impossible for any country to wage war by being able to employ military forces which that nation alone controls.
    Only when these two conditions are fully met will we have some assurance that mankind will escape the fate of being disintegrated someday into atoms and swept up into the atmosphere.
    In view of the prevailing political mentality, it may seem illusory, even absurd, to hope for such great changes within the next few years. And yet, we cannot hope that those changes can be accomplished in a slow gradual development; without supranational military security, the forces pushing towards war are irresistible. Even more disastrous than man’s lust for power will be his fear of sudden attack – unless we openly and resolutely set ourselves the task to abandon national military power and accept supranational authority.
    With all respect for the difficulties of such a task, about one thing I have no doubt : The peoples of the world will solve the problem as soon as they realize that there is no other, or simpler, alternative to the present dilemma.
    I now feel an obligation to say something about the individual steps which might lead to a solution of the problem of security.
    1. Mutual inspection (a preliminary step, as taken with Iran’s nuclear status, and should be ongoing with all nuclear powers. {2 paragraphs of explanation deleted} R.C.)
    2. “Denationalization can be advanced through exchanges, at a steadily increasing degree, of the military, scientific, and technical personnel of the various nations.” (We are seeing great co-operation between Russia and other countries regarding the International Space Station, despite Western sanctions against Russia. Could we create more integration at other levels, while increasing a means of pressure at diplomatic levels?)R.C. (July 13, 2016: Canada contributing 450 troops to NATO presence in Latvia, as Russians perceived to be building a threat in the Baltic.) To continue with Einstein’s remarks:” Although a national army would seem the last place where nationalistic sentiments could be expected to weaken, an attempt should be made, even within the ranks of national armies, to combat nationalism, while, at the same time, a supranational army is being recruited and trained.” (The aim being the “internationalization” of armed forces. NATO is a “combined international force” but tends to be a pro-western affiliation responding to threats from Russia. What is it about this ancient threat from Russia against “the West”? Even though Russia is no longer “communist”, Mr. Putin seems to want to glorify Russia’s past – which seems mostly full of gory misadventures in failed monarchies, a communist revolution, and a mad dictator responsible for what? 100 million lives? “Glorious Russia”, Mr. Putin? This is just silly posturing, Mr. Putin, hardly believable as any “foreign policy“. Let’s all grow up, shall we? Expansionism by ANY nation, at this stage of the world’s evolution is purely 18th century parody. “…the strongest military powers could draft a charter for an international security organization and for a court of arbitration.”
    ( Currently, China has refused to accept the ruling of the International Court at The Hague about China’s claims of areas in the South China Sea. A “moral authority” easily ignored.)
    3. Einstein suggests: “As these {supranational} agencies begin to function, the vestiges of national armies can either be disbanded or placed under the high command of the supranational authority.
    (I think NATO is not specifically a “supranational force” as it is an organization of several states representing countries that disagree with expansionary efforts in Russia. The Cold War burps into renewed rhetoric, a crude fall back onto ancient 20th century paranoia. Can we move on, boys? Intellectually incapable of rational thought? Climate change and old enemies – unanswerable questions for some, “The Times They Are a-Changing” – Bob Dylan, 1965. You will have to understand, or perhaps take your backwardness to the grave, please!)
    4. “…efforts should be made to recruit possibly all nations into the supranational organization, on an entirely voluntary basis.”
    (We should remember that the “state of war” since USA entered into a determined war against communism (alone) in Viet Nam, has continued almost uninterrupted since 1965, and Russia also had their own military adventures in Afghanistan before the Americans claimed it as their own war against the Taliban the USA had supported against the Soviets. It is obvious that “national” wars are obsolete, and even post 9/11, the Islamic struggle has no resolution because “conquering the world` is a hopeless project for those who do not know the patience of mankind`s Creator. As humans, any `certainty`about a Creator must contain the doubt of human error – no human understands the ineffable idea of divinity that occurs in the human soul. Even the prophet, according to Isaiah, speaks with unclean lips. Human truth escapes comprehension, divine truth is delivered through prophecy without true understanding or knowledge of any prophet.)


    1. I couldn’t help but think of the attack in Nice as I read your comment.

      The thing about violence, it crosses religions, nations, ideologies. The more you think about it the more it makes sense. We’re a violent out of control species currently destroying the planet. These attacks are only the tip of the iceberg.

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