I N T E R S T A T E   B U R I A L   G R O U N D

The dead might as well try to speak to the living as the old to the young --Willa Cather

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground (Quaker Burial Ground), I-195, New Jersey

explored & photographed by: Shady

Spanning east to west is one of New Jersey's most heavily-traveled highways, Interstate 195. One straight shot can get you from near Pennsylvania to the famous Jersey Shore, where it turns into 138. Route 195 is a busy interstate, multiple lanes wide in most areas, yet millions of people each year pass right over a hidden treasure as they drive this major freeway, without ever knowing it is there...

If you were to take the CR-547 NORTH/ALLAIRE STATE PK/FARMINGDALE (CR-524) exit, you'd span an overpass with hidden exit ramps on each side, which lead to an odd sliver of land nestled like an island between the eastbound and westbound lanes of 195. These exits are nearly invisible until you are actually passing them; even then they are fairly hard to spot as you speed by. If you were to take one of these strange exits, you would reach a small boat launching area on one one side of this bizarre interstate-flanked "island" where fishing enthusiasts begin their quests for a trophy or meal. On the other side, you'd end up in a small elevated clearing surrounded by thick trees. Just past the tree line lies the busy traffic of the Interstate... yet inside this small patch of land, the dead have been resting for hundreds of years, undisturbed by their hectic surroundings...

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

It stands nearly invisible from the narrow lane that leads to it, perched high atop a grassy, shadowed plateau and surrounded by a dense border of tangly forest on almost all sides... a mysterious cemetery hidden from all but the most curious of travelers.

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

We were surprised to find out that this was an old Quaker Burial Ground dating back to 1778. Faded, worn, and crumbling stone markers are studded throughout the silent graveyard. Some of the gravestones are so old, they've broken off; someone has gathered the pieces and grouped them around the trunk under the sheltering branches of the biggest tree in the clearing.

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

The not-very-distant buzz of the Interstate traffic just a few feet away on the other side of the trees provides a surreal backdrop while we wander amidst the ancient memorials. The place sits mostly in shadow, seemingly frozen in time. Here and there a stray shaft of mellow sunlight broke through the canopy of branches to illuminate scattered groups of tombstones.

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Despite the advanced ages of many of these graves, some of them still bore fresh blossoms and bouquets at their marker's bases. Some of the stones are so timeworn that their engravings have all but worn away. Many of the graves at the edges of the clearing are slowly but surely being swallowed up by creeping forest.

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

Interstate Burial Ground, New Jersey

This place is really intriguing. It's so hidden, you can really drive right past it without ever knowing of it's existence. It's secluded location gives it an air of otherworldliness... yet the muted hum of traffic droning around you serves to remind that you're right in the middle of civilization, quite literally. A really great find... we spent a good summer afternoon leisurely wandering around this place. We even went back a second time, just to make sure that we didn't imagine the place... and yes, it was still there.

No doubt, it sits there still, today... waiting for the next intrepid explorer to seek out it's secrets.

Do you have any background information or stories to tell about this abandoned site?

 

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