Thursday, October 29, 2009

Haunting Batsto Village Captivates

It had been years since we'd been to Batsto Village in the Jersey pines near Hammonton.
But we recently returned as part of a tour with the South Jersey Tourism Corporation and we were delighted with what we saw.
The beautiful Wharton Mansion in the center of the village has been completely restored and beautifully furnished and you can now tour the Mansion's rooms as well as the old general store and other village attractions.
The entire village looks great and effectively turns back the clock to a time when Batsto produced iron and charcoal. In fact, a good deal of iron that was used for ammunition in the Revolutionary War was produced right here in Batsto.
Batsto is nationally recognized for its historical significance and beauty. The roots of Batsto Village can be traced back to 1766. Two centuries of American history are available to visitors, with the Pinelands environment as a scenic backdrop.
After the iron producing years ended Joseph Wharton, a Philadelphia businessman, purchased Batsto in 1876 at a Masters Sale. Wharton continued to purchase property in the area surrounding Batsto. He made improvements on the mansion, and on many of the village buildings. He was also involved in a variety of forestry and agricultural endeavors.
Joseph Wharton died in 1909. From his death until 1954, the Wharton properties in the Pine Barrens were managed by the Girard Trust Company in Philadelphia. BTW: The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania takes its name from Joseph Wharton. And Wharton State Forest in the pines is also named for him.
In the mid 1950s Batsto became the property of the State of New Jersey.
Many events are held for visitors to Batsto throughout the year.
The Batsto Village Visitors Center is the large building adjacent to the parking area. The Visitors Center is the starting point for visiting Batsto Village. It is here that you can pick up a brochure about the site, purchase tickets for a Mansion tour, and find out what special events are happening within the Village. The Visitor Center is open from 9:00am to 4:00pm daily.
For more information call 609-704-1964.

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