Watchung Reservation, Union County
"Deserted Village" (Feltville)
founded 1845, built ca.1845
New York paper merchant David Felt built a paper mill on Blue Brook, two dams for the mill, and a town for the mill workers in about 1845, and named the town "Feltville." He erected this building between 1845 and 1847 to serve as a general store and chapel for the town, and required residents to attend services, although they were free to worship in accordance to their own beliefs. Felt himself was Unitarian, but he provided a variety of preachers in the chapel—even priests and a rabbi, if the County's brochure is to be believed; eventually he hired a non-denominational minister, Austin Craig, to remain in full-time residence. Craig later became president of Ohio's Antioch College.
The Feltville Historic District is located in the Watchung Reservation, and includes eight houses, a carriage house and a general building. Felt sold the town and mill in 1860, and over the next several decades the property changed hands six times. In 1882 it was converted to a summer resort, named Glenside Park. It was then that the open timber tower/belfry and porch were constructed. The building has been restored and is open occasionally as a visitor center, complete with interpretive exhibits and restrooms.