The NJ Pinelands are interesting. Except for rapidly encroaching development along the edges the region is mostly natural area, much of it protected. You can drive for miles through the pine forests and then suddenly come across something interesting.

While passing through the region I came across a patch of road that for some reason was covered in graffiti for no apparent reason. It was deep in the Pinelands far from any towns or buildings.

When I stopped to get a shot, a motorcyclist came by and popped a wheelie for the camera.

See close up of this area below.

It was a little baffling why this patch of road was selected for graffiti art. After plotting the location of my photo on Google Map for future reference, I discovered that just off the road, into the woods were the ruins of the Brooksbrae Terracotta Brick Factory.

I always thought of the Pinelands as being sandy but much of it is clay which was mined for years. According to Scott Wieczorek in his article “The Story of Pasadena and its Neighboring Clay Industry” the Brookbrae Terracota Brick Factory was built around 1905 but never actually went into full operation and was shut down just a few years later.

At some point it became a destination, for people to hang out and somebody decided to bring a can of spray paint. I don’t know if that person was an artist or a vandal (a vartis?) but he or she was followed up by hundreds of other spray painters who have covered nearly every square inch of the old factory with graffiti, so much so it has become a landmark. If I had known what was just off the road I would have dived in.

Manchester, NJ - Brooksbrae Brick Factory Art

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