Rockaway Water Power

Rockaway Water Power (HM2LAV)

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N 40° 54.097', W 74° 30.568'

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Village of Rockaway

The town of Rockaway is located at the upper end of the Rockaway Valley at the spot where the Rockaway River drops 25 feet, providing an excellent site for waterpowered industry. Job Allen, one of the earliest settlers, came to this area in the 1730s and built a bloomer forge on the river. Another early settler, Joseph Jackson came to the area from Long Island, built a cabin and began acquiring property. In 1778 his son Stephen purchased an interest in the forge, eventually acquiring the entire operation. In 1796, he built a second forge just down stream. To supply ore and charcoal for his forges, Stephen purchased additional property including most of what would become the village of Rockaway.      When Stephen Jackson died in 1812, he passed on a well established business that included mines, forges and a gristmill-sawmill, all powered by the flow of the Rockaway River. His sons Col. Joseph and William Jackson upgraded the forges and expanded the family's holdings to include a rolling mill adjacent to the lower forge.     Together the upper and lower forges had five fires where ore was smelted to form masses of wrought iron called blooms. The blooms were then hammered into a consolidated block called a billet. At the rolling mill the billets were reheated then rolled into bars from which iron products of all kinds

could be manufactured. Water power was needed to run bellows, trip hammers and roller trains. To accomplish this, the river was dammed in two places forming mill ponds that fed raceways that brought water to numerous water wheels. The upper dam also supplied additional water to run the gristmill-saw mill.      However, waterpower has its limitations. Spring floods often washed away dams and summer droughts could bring work to a standstill. By the 1890s the New Jersey Iron Industry was in decline and new industries like the Liondale Bleach, Dye & Print Works installed powerful steam engines and no longer needed to rely on the river for motive power.
Placed ByBorough of Rockaway Historical Committee
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 29th, 2019 at 11:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 541315 N 4527951
Decimal Degrees40.90161667, -74.50946667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 54.097', W 74° 30.568'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 54' 5.8200000000001" N, 74° 30' 34.08" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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