Society

19th Century Boat Found Under New Jersey House

| by Ray Brown
The boat that was found under a New Jersey homeThe boat that was found under a New Jersey home

A 44-foot wooden boat from the 19th century was found under a New Jersey house.

Rumors of the boat’s existence had been floating around the Highlands, NJ area for generations. And Eileen Scanlon told the Asbury Park Press that she got a glimpse at what appeared to be a rudder under her bungalow back in 2010. But she didn't find out how big the boat actually was until she had to have that bungalow raised. And she sure was surprised by what she saw.

“I never realized it was so big,” Scanlon told the Asbury Park Press. “It was quite an amazing find to wake up to.”

Scanlon then called Russell Card of the Historical Society of Highlands, who couldn't believe what he saw.

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“It was beyond amazing,” Card said. “I’ve heard about it before and the first time I ever saw it was yesterday. I never realized it was so big. I was amazed at the craftsmanship of it.”

Barbara Hartsgrove told the Associated Press that her late husband told his kids about the boat for years, but they thought it was just an amusing story.

“They said you’re crazy, Dad, you’re crazy, but it was there,” Barbara said.

Now that the existence of the boat under the house had been confirmed, the next order of business was figuring out how it got there.

Al Hartsgrove, Barbara's son, told the Asbury Park Press the legend.

“There was an old barge underneath there that sunk,” he explained. “With the storm coming they pulled this (coal boat) over top of the barge. After the storm came the sail was gone (and the boat damaged) so they just left it.”

Local historian Walt Cuenther said the boat was probably used to carry seafood.

“It’s probably at least 100-years-old, probably goes back to the middle, late 1800s,” he told the Associated Press.

Whatever the true story behind the boat is, its sailing days are long over. Scanlon does not plan to restore the boat, but she does hope to place the bow in her garden.

Sources: Associated Press via CBS New York, Asbury Park Press / Photo credit: Russell E. Card/Facebook

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