For this challenge, I decided to visit Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. I drove up to Ocean Avenue from Asbury Park, New Jersey. The road is lined with the beach homes of the wealthy. I imagine it was like driving down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. I don’t know. I’ve never been to Beverly Hills.

To enter New York Harbor, ships need a deep channel. Until the 1900s, that meant sailing next to the shore of Sandy Hook. This gave the small peninsula a big role in the safety and defence of New York Harbor for more than a century before Fort Hancock was built.National Parl Service

Fort Hancock Museums in Monmouth County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), © Khurt-Williams

Fort Hancock is a former United States Army fort at Sandy Hook in Middletown Township, New Jersey. The coastal artillery base defended the Atlantic coast and the entrance to New York Harbor, with its first gun batteries operational in 1896. Between 1874 and 1919, the adjacent US Army Sandy Hook Proving Ground was operated in conjunction with Fort Hancock. It is now part of Fort Hancock Memorial Park. It was preceded by the Fort at Sandy Hook, built 1857–1867 and demolished beginning in 1885. Wikipedia

Kessler Road and Hudson Road at Fort Hancock Museum in Monmouth County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), © Khurt-Williams
Fort Hancock Museum in Monmouth County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), © Khurt-Williams

I arrived in the Fort Hancock, and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark and drove slowly along Kessler Road looking for an interesting subject. As I expected most of the crumbling buildings had been fenced in. The buildings are favourite subjects for photographers and curious visitors, who have in the past entered the premises and bee hurt. Many of the buildings are unsafe. I turned on Hudson Road and parked in the back of one of the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters.

Bachelor Officers’ Quarters at Fort Hancock Museum in Monmouth County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), © Khürt L. Williams

The fort was decommissioned on December 31, 1974. Since then, most of Fort Hancock has served the public as the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. The remainder of the peninsula serves as U.S. Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook.

While the recreation area is well maintained, the former buildings and officers quarters are in disrepair. The weather has battered the buildings making them uninhabitable.

Fort Hancock Museum in Monmouth County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), © Khurt-Williams
Bachelor Officers’ Quarters at Fort Hancock Museum in Monmouth County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), © Khürt L. Williams
FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (35.3 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), © Khurt-Williams
FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (30.2 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), © Khurt-Williams
Fort Hancock Museum in Monmouth County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (26.6 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), © Khurt-Williams

Trash is your inspiration. Tell a story or create something beautiful.

Image submitted in response to Dogwood Photography’s annual 52-week photography challenge.

40° 27.799 N -74° 0.183 W
 

Constructed in 1873, the South Branch School House in Branchburg Township is a one-room building in the Victorian-Italianate style of architecture. From 1873 to 1950 it educated children in grades 1 through 8.

In 1848, Henry Barnard published School Architecture, which offered designs and ideas for model schoolhouses. Following his advice, schools were built with rectangular plans on raised foundations, with the gable end would serving as the front. The longer side walls featured multiple double-sash windows, and the classrooms offered high ceilings. Up until shortly after the Civil War, their style and manner of construction mirrored churches and meetinghouses.

South Branch School House, Branchburg, Somerset County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-02 Khürt L. Williams

Students faced a windowless wall at the back. The school also incorporated a raised platform at one end for when the classroom was used for assemblies. The South Branch School House was one of the first in the area built expressly as a tuition-free public school following the New Jersey Free School Act of 1871. With a room size of about 24 or 25 feet square the school was designed to accommodate 50 students.

Writing in the 1874 Annual Report of the New Jersey Department of Education, State Superintendent of Education Ellis Apgar wrote:

Every school should be well furnished. Everything added to make the schoolroom comfortable, convenient, and attractive, facilitates the work of education. A teacher cannot be expected to do good work without the proper tools. The desks furnished the children should be of the most approved style; they should have folding seats, so as to allow of freedom of motion in marching, callisthenics, and general exercises. Settees placed in front of the teacher’s desk are convenient for recitation purposes. The teacher’s desk should be neat and substantial, having at least six drawers in it. There should be three or four chairs, a thermometer, an eight-day clock, a small globe, a call bell, and other conveniences for teaching.

South Branch School House, Branchburg, Somerset County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-02 Khürt L. Williams

Peak attendance at the school hit 95 in 1875. Due to declining enrollment, in 1950 Branchburg Township built a new built a consolidated elementary school and use of the Little Red School House dropped even further.

In 1963, the Branchburg Board of Education sold the schoolhouse to Branchburg Township, and work was begun on a restoration project to coincide with the township’s tercentenary. Closing in 1965, the South Branch Schoolhouse was the last one-room school in use in Somerset County. Restoration worked continued into 2005, when the school was placed on the state and national registers of historic places.

The famous opera singer, Anna Case, attended the school in the late 1890s.

South Branch School House, Branchburg, Somerset County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-02 Khürt L. Williams

I shot from a tripod and bracketed my shots. The Classic Chome Fujifilm Film Simulation preset was applied to each image and the images combined in Photomatix Pro. The Natural filter was applied in Photomatix Pro and the resulting image was imported back into Adobe Lightroom for further adjustment.

Sources

South Branch School House, VisitSomeresetNJ.org, Somerset County, https://visitsomersetnj.org/fun-somerset-nj/south-branch-school-house/
Greg Gillette, South Branch Schoolhouse, My Central Jersey, 7:00 a.m. ET May 25, 2017, https://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/local/view-from-hillsborough/2017/05/25/south-branch-schoolhouse-2/102137624/
Kelly, Somerset County’s Last One-Room Schoolhouse: South Branch, The History Girl, Kelly, 2015/02, https://www.thehistorygirl.com/2015/02/south-branch-schoolhouse-nj.html

While on my way to photograph the South Branch School House yesterday, I noticed the ice floating on this section of River Road along the Raritan River in Hillsborough. I could the river through the trees, which only caught my eye because the trees had no leaves. Even though I have driven along this section of the river in the past, I don’t recall noticing before, perhaps because the trees were full of leaves. I made a mental note that, after photographing the schoolhouse, I would stop somewhere nearby and walk along the river.

I parked in the parking lot of the South Branch Bible Fellowship building on Orchard Road and walked back toward the river making sure to carefully cross River Road. I walked along the south-west trail noticing a large number of fallen trees. I walked closer to the edge of the river which I noticed had a steep drop from what is perhaps erosion from water from when the Raritan River was flooded. I noticed that many of the trees were hanging from the edges of the river bank, barely staying upright.

This image is from the set I used for Frank Jansen’s weekly photo challenge.

Best Photo of the Week is personal photography project where I post the best image captured that week. The image will be posted at the end of the week. That will be a Sunday. I can take one or 100 photos for the week but I will post only one, the best one.

I shot from a tripod and bracketed my shots. The Classic Chome Fujifilm Film Simulation preset was applied to each image and the images combined in Photomatix Pro. The Natural filter was applied in Photomatix Pro and the resulting image was imported back into Adobe Lightroom for further adjustment.