This historic district appeared on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and within the locality, it is referred to as “The Deserted Village.” In 1736, this area was a frontier and it is the same time when the first settler came in from Long Island who was an Englishman named Peter Willcox.
When Willcox settled here, he established a sawmill that was brought down later on as the population in the area grew. In 1825, a Boston based businessman by the name David Felt moved to New York City and by the year 1844, demand from the merchants he supplied had grown to the extent that his mill could not satisfy it. It was at this time that Felt went looking for land within New Jersey where the next factory would be established.
In the process, Peter Willcox’s descendants sold him land. Later on, Felt would go on to establish a mill on Blue Brook, 2 dams to serve the mill and a town for those who worked at the mill, which he named “Feltville.” All these were put up within a period of two years and residents here gave Felt the nickname “King David.”
That was because he had put out a requirement for all children to attend lessons at the schoolhouse that had one room only and attendance of the churchhouse services for all residents. Within the town of Feltville in those early days, two families lived in each of the smaller houses while four families had their accommodation in each of the larger houses.
Population in the town stood at 175 individuals by the year 1850 and there was a resident pastor of the nondenominational “Union Church” at the time. Finally, Felt sold this property after a period of 15 years and those that followed after him operated businesses in the area that never really succeeded. That is when Feltville acquired the name “the deserted village.”
Warren Ackerman bought it out in 1882 and turned it to a summer resort that was named Glenside Park. In the course of time, most people opted for the shore of New Jersey in summer as opposed to Glenside Park and the area was later deserted once again. Union Country Park Commission stepped in and bought the place and started renting out the houses in place to families, after including it in Watchung Reservation.
Most of the main structures in this ghost town have vanished including the school, the mill, dormitories and the Felt Mansion. But even with this, efforts are being made to preserve the area as a site where visitors can learn how it was like living in Feltville-Glenside Park. Some of the activities to enjoy when one visits the place include an apple cider pressing demo, games for children as well as display of archaeological artifacts.
The place is also open to the public on a daily basis and every October, just two weeks before Halloween, families are taken for haunted hayrides within this ghost town, as they learn more about notable individuals who once lived here.