Ghost Town

Why do cities fail?

Today I decided to document the present conditions of the township of South River NJ.

I often take bike rides around main street South River and I'm always fascinated by its once booming herman & ackman handkerchief factory ( or what seems to be left of it in it's current state) see historical photos below:

The factory was comprised of many belarusian immigrant works that occupied South River during the post war period. A small rail road station was built adjacent to this factory which would connect south many miles to what was the historical raritan river railroad in old bridge that supplied the factory with all the materials they needed for their handkerchiefs. The rail road station is long gone and so are the rail road tracks. Surprisingly the area has remained mostly untouched and ignored for the past 100 or so years since it was built. See photos below:

Attached below are more historical photos of what South River used to look like in the 1880's. Some of the photos there you can still see some resemble to the current day photos especially ferry and main street:

In the 1720's South River was actually considered part of "Washington" or what we know in present day as the town of East Brunswick, it wasn't until the 1870's where small towns like South River, Milltown and Spotswood branched out from the larger Washington and became their own communities. As I began to notice the dramatic decline of the town with many homes foreclosed and or abandoned I couldn't help but document it's present state. The photos themselves tell quite a sad story however it's apparent that some owners of these homes left suddenly leaving windows, doors and front gates completely open. All the doors and windows had foreclosure notices taped to them with often outdoor furniture and kids toys still left out in the yard. You can see in a couple of the photos where businesses didn't bother to completely clear out their tenant spaces and just walked out. The local church in the area was completely boarded up and looked untouched for several years. Nearly every retail tenant space is empty or for lease and there literally wasn't a single person I could see walking the streets. For 11:00am on a Sunday this place was a ghost town.