Simply stated, I call it “the old waterworks.” Much easier to say, no? Funny thing is, it really is in Oradell, not New Milford. It’s right on the border, but still Oradell. It sits on Van Buskirk Island and is still going through renovations. 2001 was a big year: it is listed under the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
Let’s go back in the time machine, shall we? Van Buskirk Island served as a navigation spot in 1802. It was along the way of many mills along the Hackensack River. Fast forward a little. In 1881, Van Buskirk Island was purchased. A year later, The New Milford Plant of Hackensack Water Company opened, which provided clean drinking water. According to one of the many signs on the site of the plant, a pumping station was created in 1886. Over the years filtration systems and more pumping stations were added. More outbuilding were added as well. In 1960, the Haworth facility opened. Finally, on May 31, 1990, it all came to a halt for this facility. In 1993, Van Buskirk Island and all the buildings were donated to Bergen County. However, nearly a decade later, it was awarded a large sum from the state for the New Jersey Historic Trust to manage. I remember reading and hearing the buildings were going to be restored and become some sort of a museum. According to Preservation New Jersey, the money went to Saddle River instead. In spite of this, the signs on the property are fairly new. There’s a sign for future visions/ideas. Hopefully, these ideas will come to fruition because I want to see what’s inside! The area is fenced in and has some areas of overgrowth- probably to deter vandals.
What I enjoyed doing was walking along Milford Avenue, where one building’s brick façade is exposed. I touched the brick and wondered if a former worker may have leaned against that exact spot while on break once. Or held onto the wall to shout to a fellow coworker at the window. So yes, you can touch a little bit of history. (Warning: Picture heavy remainder of he post.)