Sunday, March 30, 2014

The two pumping stations of South Orange

South Orange is a wealthy suburban town just outside of Newark. High property taxes don't allow for many properties to remain vacant, however there were two shuttered pumping stations in different parts of the village. The first one that I stumbled across was the Campbell's Pond Pumping Station.

Situated alongside Campells Pond in the South Mountain Reservation, this old pumping station has sat empty for years. Built around 1900,  it's main function was to supply drinking water to the city of Orange. It had a capacity of 2.5 million gallons per day. It ran for a number of decades before a fire put it out of operation.

When the county acquired the property and made it a reservation, they dammed up the pond. But they left the pumping station sitting just over the old train bridge that used to carry the trains bringing coal to the building.

Numerous vandals have broken into the building over the years, and there is very little left of its past. Pieces of the old chimney are breaking off and falling down to the ground below, which prompted the county to put up a fence around the structure. They are currently working on the riverfront trail, which runs right past the building. I would be shocked if they don't tear down the building as part of the project.

The Campbell's Pond pumping station is quite well known, and has been visited numerous times by photographers and hikers who just happen to be walking by. Little do most people know, there is actually another pumping station inside the village. However, it also won't be around for very long.

Built in 1912, this building was the pump house for the village water works. It is roughly the same size as the Campbell's Pond pump house, but all of the machinery is still inside this one.

There is not a ton of history online about the building, but from what I can gather it's been closed for over a decade. It's supposed to be demolished soon, in order to restore the flood plane of the area. The only people who will notice the building is gone of from the numerous kennel workers who walk the resident dogs around the building. And of course, myself.


  1. Ooh, I actually went to the Campbell Pond pumphouse with a group of friends. It was kind of cool, the whole place was falling apart and was pretty much the way it is in your photos. The only thing in the room with the intact floor was debris and a single lawnchair. The stairs to the lower floor had unfortunately collapsed and the lower floor was totally flooded with some of the dirtiest water I've ever seen. In case anyone is curious, what isn't shown is the left side of the third photo. That area is as big as the area in the third photo and completely lacks a floor. In addition, on the outside there is a crumbling chimney.

    When we were there we ran in to another small group of young people, which kind of spooked me. I didn't really expect to see anybody else enter the building.

    1. People are always going in and out of there. We scared the crap out of some people when we were coming out before they put the fence up.

  2. I went to SMR many times with my family as a child in the 60's and 70's. the Campbell pond pumphouse was very well built. As I recall it had a slate roof and slate roofs last forever. It is a beautiful piece of history being destroyed by thoughtless types who only respect an armed guard.

  3. where is this second pump house located? the village?

  4. A more accurate history of the Lake Campbell Pump Station -

  5. The 2nd building is just up the street from Columbia High School and through Chyzowych field. But it's been boarded up and probably will be demolished soon.