BRJMarch23Flipbook - Flipbook - Page 21
migrated to the Somerset Hills in the late
19th century to establish Anglophile country retreats and ride to the hounds at the invitation of their neighbor Charles Pfizer
and his Essex Hunt.
But it was two hillocks on the property
that captured Bruce’s boyhood imagination.
Overgrown and topped with trees, they rise
up on either side of a soggy glen on opposite sides of a small brook and inspire
thoughts of twin burial mounds from a bygone civilization, and in a way they are.
Bruce learned many years later that the
mounds contain the interred remains of
the Peapack Trestle, the most substantial
structure on the main line of the fabled
Rockaway Valley Railroad. His discovery
and subsequent research rekindled his
childhood interest and he has used the inspiration from the historic photographs in
Tom Taber III’s, The Rock-A-Bye Baby: A
History of the Rockaway Valley Railroad (selfpublished, 1972), to recreate not just the
trestle, but several of the stations along the
line in miniature and with astonishing detail. “We were kids and played on it and
never knew what it even was,” said Bruce.
“I found a rail when I looking for salamanders and said ‘Wow, a train must have been
around here,’ little did I know.”
Ill-conceived, underfunded, and badly
constructed, the Rockaway Valley Railroad,
dubbed the “Rock-A-Bye Baby” for its
bouncing ride over poorly laid tracks and
crooked rails, ran from Whitehouse Station
The Peapack Trestle