Sawmills in the Pinelands date back to 1700 and several are still active today. At first, they were often the site of the earliest settlements in this region (like the village of Batsto in Burlington County). They need the great supply of wood--pine, oak and cedar--found in Pinelands forests. Some industries that have depended on sawmills include: shipbuilding, iron, glass, charcoal, and paper. Originally, water power was harnessed to run the mills; however, today gasoline powered engines have taken the place of water. Now people mainly use the lumber that sawmills produce for home building and boat building.
Charcoal Making Charcoal making was a Pinelands industry from 1740-1960. Charcoal makers were called colliers. At first, charcoal making was important in the smelting of bog iron. After 1850, it was used as a source of heating fuel and fuel for cooking. Like many Pinelands industries, it depended on the great supply of wood found in Pinelands forests. Today it has been largely replaced by energy sources such as gas, oil, and electricity.
Sneakboxes and garveys are small boats used for shellfishing and water fowl hunting in the bays and inlets along New Jersey's Pinelands coast. This boat building industry began about 1700 and is still active today. It largely depends on the Atlantic White Cedar often found.along stream banks and in wetlands areas of Pinelands forests.
Sneakbox and Garvey Building
Hunting, gathering and trapping have been Pinelands industries from 1700 to the present. Abundant wildlife like deer, rabbits and foxes as well as plentiful plant life like pine cones, sphagnum moss and holly are essential to these industries. Today many people regard these activities as recreation.
Hunting, Gathering and Trapping
Farming of cultivated blueberries began in 1915 and is a major industry today. Both crops depend upon the highly acidic water and soil found in the Pinelands at places like Chatsworth, Speedwell, Hog Wallow, Indian Mills, and Whitesbog. Both also need the region's abundant water supply, the 17-trillion gallon Cohansey aquifer. Today many people enjoy drinking cranberry juice and eating foods like pies and breads made with both fruits.
Blueberry and Cranberry Farming
Row Crop and Truck Farming Row crop and truck farming began about 1700 and today it continues to be an important industry in the western part of the Pinelands in places like Gloucester County. Here the soil is acidic and contains some clay mixed with the sand making it different than the kind of soil cranberries and blueberries like. These crops-including tomatoes, corn, asparagus, peaches, and sweet potatoes - also need water from the large Cohansey aquifer. Today people enjoy New Jersey's excellent fruits and vegetables, many of which are grown in the Pinelands.
Iron making was important in the Pinelands from 1765-1865. Much of the bog iron used to make cannon and shot during the American Revolution was dug from stream banks near places such as the village of Batsto in Burlington county. It was smelted in furnaces that used charcoal made from wood cut from the pine forests surrounding the village. The region's large water supply was also important to this industry. Later cast iron stoves and fireplace equipment were manufactured from the iron. When coal, a more efficient fuel, was discovered in Pennsylvania, New Jersey's iron-making industry ended.
Iron Making
Glass Making Glass making was an important rural industry in the Pinelands from 1800-1875. It depended on the region's sand as well as its large supply of wood, especially the pitch pine that made very hot fires. Coal finally replaced wood as a fuel source for glass making and only those glass factories that were near sand deposits and good transportation routes were able to stay in business. Today most of these are located outside the Pinelands.
Grist Mills (for grinding grain)
Grist mills were an important business in about 50 Pinelands towns and villages from 1700 to 1920. Grain, like corn and wheat, was ground into flour at these mills and the heavy millstones that ground the grain were powered by water wheels or wind harnessed by windmills. Since the invention of modern equipment, grist mills are no longer used.
Recreation has been a Pinelands industry since 1850. Over the years, many people have visited the region to enjoy everything from the fresh, pine-scented air to its abundant wildlife. Today, several children's camps are located in the Pinelands and people come to hike the region's trails, canoe in its rivers, swim and fish in its lakes, and camp and picnic in its parks.
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