Winakung: Lenape Village at Waterloo Village
The valleys of Northwest New Jersey, scooped out of the earth's surface
by the glacial retreat, left a fertile area teeming with wildlife that
eventually became home to the first paleo Indians around 8600BC., beginning
a native American history from the archaic period to the woodland culture
of the Lenape, or Delawares. An Algonkian speaking people, the Lenape
tribe was one of the most advanced and civilized in the eastern US.
The culture flourished until the arrival of the first European fur
traders in the mid 1600s and the inevitable procession west, spurred
by copper mining near the Delaware River and trade along the old mine
road from Philadelphia to Kingston, NY.
Firmly entrenched in the Upper Delaware River Valley, known as the
Minisink, and throughout Northwest New Jersey for thousands of years,
Lenape civilization is commemorated on our modern map with familiar
names like Kittatinny, Allamuchy, Musconetcong, Netcong, Pahaquarry,
Hopatcong, and many others. Archeological sites have yielded a multitude
of artifacts that inform us of their culture. The most remarkable local
excavation occurred over a seven year period at a place called Dark
Moon in Frelinghuysen Township. At this ancient arrowhead factory,
the Lenape quarried flint from the limestone-rich hills around the
site, manufactured thousands of flint points, and buried them for later
use. The lodges, huts, pottery and agriculture implements found there
with the lode of weaponry are an important part of our academic understanding
of how the Lenape lived. More informal excavators have picked wheelbarrows
full of arrowheads from farmers' fields. Those days, of course, have
vanished along with the arrowheads, although, for scholars, the area
still promises a lode of material for interpretation and analysis.
Only a rough sketch of
a robust culture remains; we know nothing of the human deeds and dramas
The Lenape Village at historic Waterloo Village was created to help visualize
the past. Located in Allamuchy Mountain State Park, Sussex County, on an island
in Waterloo Lake, the Lenape Village—called Winakung ("Place of
surrounded by thousands of acres of wooded forests, stone cliffs, streams and
marshes, home to beaver, osprey, and the occasional bear. It is a place of
wonder and a land seemingly left alone by time. Here you can walk 400 years
into the past and experience an ancient and gentler way of life.
Once considered one of New Jersey's best school trips and a popular tourist destination, the Lenape Village has suffered from neglect in past years. Bark lodges were left to crumble, dugout canoes rotted, mortars and pestles decayed, and the exhibits were removed or ruined. Thanks to an intense concern for Historic Waterloo Village and the foresight to save its valuable assets, the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection took over operations at Waterloo in early 2007 and, together with the help of Lenape Lifeways, Inc., restored this unique outdoor exhibit.
Dutch traders visit a group of elders, braves, women, children and infants
with bark wigwams, longhouses, native garden, fishing, hunting, and cooking
areas, the village revives the Lenape world as it might have been in 1630,
when European traders visited Indian communities to barter metal pots, iron
axes, scissors, cloth, glass beads and other items for the Indians' furs and
skins. Totally reconstructed, one bark longhouse measuring 60 feet by 20 feet
has been newly furnished with benches, fireplaces, animal furs woven baskets,
copper pots, metal trinkets and other paraphernalia replicating a trading scene.
Fifteen mannequins portray two visiting Dutch traders and a group of elders,
braves, women, children and infants.
A traditional herbalist and shaman attending a sick child
Another 40-foot long house, like the first,
has been refurnished with mat-covered bunks and shelves holding baskets, pots
and pelts. Countless braided ears of corn hang from the domed roof. At one
end, a seated woman uses a carved spoon to stir the contents of a large clay
pot boiling over a fire, while women and children engage in various activities
nearby. A storyteller entertains a small child as an interested mother looks
on. In one area of the Island a wigwam is being built by a newly married couple;
in another a traditional herbalist and shaman can be seen attending a sick
A boy spears fish from a canoe in the Musconetcong River.
A hunting trail equipped with snares and deadfalls shows the Indians' methods
of catching wild game and food. Dugout canoes are beached at the edge of the
island, while a boy spears fish from a canoe in the lake. A fish weir encloses
part of the Musconetcong River, and fishnets are stretched to dry. Elsewhere
on the island are a sweat lodge, burial plot with grave markers, and a sacred
precinct marked by poles carved with effigy faces—twelve in all, as Lenape
tradition required. Visitors may catch sight of the Mesingw or "Living
Solid Face", who wears a bearskin outfit with a red and black mask. Or one
of the "little people," spirit pranksters who cause people to trip on
roots or suffer other annoyances. Smaller bark or mat covered houses are located
throughout the island; each with its own fireplace complete with pottery cooking
vessels, mortar and pestle.
Simulated archaeological excavation
A short distance from the bridge to the Island, a simulated archaeological excavation provides an overview of the methods and tools used by archaeologists in the Northeast. Different levels show such diverse features as mastodon bones and Paleo-Indian artifacts, human burials (plastic reproduction), chipped stone implements, fire pits, pottery fragments, and historic trade goods of old which help interpret 12,000 years of Indian occupation in New Jersey.
Winakung is a place of wonder once again, believable and archaeologically correct. The shapes and sizes of the houses are patterned on those excavated at Minisink Indian sites in the upper Delaware Valley. The stone tools and pottery vessels have been modeled on excavated specimens or patterned after established ethnographic models.
NJ Department of Environmental Protection is committed to re-opening not only
Winakung, but also the historic village of Waterloo, and work progressed slowly
on stabilizing and preserving the various structures. Waterloo was a 19th century
community that grew up along the Morris Canal, and boasts an entire canal town
including period houses, grist- and saw-mills, general store, blacksmith shop,
carriage barn and numerous other attractions. An enormous restoration effort,
it may take some time to complete.
Lenape Lifeways Educational Programs is a primary
resource for learning about New Jersey's prehistory. Based in Sussex
County, this not for profit organization provides a variety of programs and
services for schools, libraries, historical societies, civic groups and other
organizations. Through a fascinating slide presentation, together with numerous
hands-on objects like masks, musical instruments, clothing, tools and weapons,
the Lenape culture is brought to life. For more information, to schedule
a program, or to order books, visit their website or
Programs at Winakung are now supervised by Winakung at Waterloo.
05 Jun 2015, 19:40
Is their an Indian display for viewing
01 Aug 2014, 19:05
I'm very interested in visiting the village, but can't seem to find basic
info like when is it open, and directions.. Please help?
11 Jun 2014, 07:44
My great great grandmother experinance was from the Lenape tribe in
swampcreek in port Monmouth I am trying to find info about her
20 May 2014, 14:32
When I was a kid living in North West Manhattan Island. Lots of years ago.
My friends and I explored? an area along the extreme northern shore of
Manhattan where the East River met the Hudson. It is known as Spuyten
Dyvil. On the Manhattan shore was an enormous cave (right under what is
now the Henry Hudson Bridge) that held huge amounts of clam and oyster
shells. We were told that they, the shells, were remnants of an ancient
Native tribe. Were they Lenape or some other group? And what is the
history of that group?
05 Sep 2013, 16:49
A few years ago, Waterloo Village had a demonstration on how to built a
tepee, and had dinner with food from American Natives. Do you still have
27 May 2013, 18:45
The Dark Moon site and the Minisink Island site both contributed to the
creation of Winakung. Herbert Kraft recreated the large Long House based on
actual measurements of the Minisink longhouse from charcoaled remains of
the upright poles, which were fire hardened before insertion into the
ground. The Long House measures 21' X 59'. Elements of Herbert Kraft's work
at Minisink are also evident in the archaeology exhibit which depicts
14,000 years of NJ history,from manufactured metal back and down to Paleo
Indian artifacts and a Mastodon skeleton. There's no "too Bad" at Winakung,
it is a tremendous teaching site and open to school tours and on special
29 Jun 2012, 13:00
Too bad that those who created the Lenape Village at Waterloo Village
didn't use a model for the village from the Dark Moon Site which is only a
few miles away. Instead they used a model from from an archaeological site
located on the Delaware River. The houses that were located on the river
are quite different than the ones found at the Dark Moon Site. \r\n
22 Aug 2011, 19:15
Waterloo Village is open again for school trips. Check out
20 Aug 2011, 13:01
Serching for information about Rose Mellick ( Hall ) I am also seeking info
on Elizabeth ( Linn ) Melick , her and her spouse were origanally part of
Mellick farms in the 1800's .\r\n \r\nThank you,
27 Jul 2011, 12:06
Will the Lenape Indian Village be opened before the end of summer 2011?
23 Jun 2011, 14:19
Winakung, the recreated Lenape Village, and several other areas at Waterloo
Village are open for group tours given by Winakung at Waterloo Inc staff
and volunteers. Please visit WinakungatWaterloo.com for more information
or contact Andrea Proctor at email@example.com.
08 Nov 2010, 17:50
Do you have an estimated time of when the village/exhibits will reopen?
09 Oct 2010, 21:36
The domain name Lenape.net is available for purchase. Please visit the web
site for details.
17 Sep 2010, 12:17
I represent the Lenape Partners Parents Group of Lenape High School in
Medford, NJ . We are in search of a Lenape indian decendant who is an
artisan. We are looking for original artwork or furniture to be purchaased
for our school.\r\n\r\nI appreciate any assistance you can give me in this
search.\r\n\r\nThank you for your time.
23 Aug 2010, 12:21
I'm searching for any info that my greatgrand mother may hve wed a lanape
indian her name was ROSE Melick ( hall ) , i have been told of this threw
word of mouth from my mother I'm seeking all infomation I can on her that
I can gather , She also was part of the Melick Farm Family. Thank you
05 Jul 2010, 14:46
About 8 years ago while digging planting on the back yard of our home, I
found a stone head carving and including some sea shells, could this be
native Lenape artifacts.
23 Jun 2010, 10:43
Waterloo Village will be open Saturday June 26, 2010 for Canal Day and the
Lenape Village and some of the buildings will be open also.
03 Apr 2010, 06:33
Please let me know when it is possible to visit Waterloo Village Again. We
used to make many trips per year to this beautiful park in New Jersey
23 Mar 2010, 14:56
Can you tell me if the large white 3 story victorian house still stands.
About 55-60 years ago my family knew the Garrigans who lived in the house
and we visited frequently. I went on many class trips with my children and
also other visits there until I heard they closed the village. I would
love to see the house one more time before it is destroyed, if it hasn't
been already. I have many memories of the village, but particularly that
house, having played in the play-room on the 3rd floor. The family was
going to restore it, but never got around to it. I remember them trying to
put in a first floor bathroom and either putting in or taking down a
staircase in the kitchen to the second floor. It was rumored that certain
places in the village were inhabited by ghosts and in fact the wife of Mr.
Garrigan told my mother that she saw the headless horseman riding down the
canal. I'm sure it was her imagination, being alone there all week while
her husband stayed in Irvington for work, but it makes a good story. Will
the village be open to the public any time soon? Even just to walk through
it again would be great, even if nothing is open. Thanks.
11 Mar 2010, 06:43
Did Lenni Lenape Indians of NJ use/create totem poles?
21 Jan 2010, 11:42
I have something that was giving to me that has been passed down through
the family and i want to know more about it. Plus on the bottom of it has
especially made for len-a-pe village
07 Nov 2009, 13:22
Greetings to our interested Teachers and folks who want to return to the
Lenape Village at Waterloo.\r\nSchool programs will be available starting
in April 15th through June 11th, 2010. There will be 1/2 and full day class
visits.\r\nPre=registrations are being accepted now with \r\nJan. 1st, 2010
as the actual registration date. For more info contact Fran at Stephens SP
at (908) 852-3790. For more info contact Mrs. Helen Maurella, Park
Superintendent at Lake Hoptacong at (973) 398-7010.\r\nThanks for your
interest in our new and anticipated Lenape Elementary School Education
Program\r\nRegards,\r\nJim Newquist\r\nResource Interpretive
01 Nov 2009, 02:38
I would be interested in knowing if the Lennape village has an authentic
pestle for grinding corn.\r\nAlso, who is the true owner of artifacts found
in the ground?\r\n1. the finder\r\n2. the land owner\r\n3. the state of
NJ?\r\na response would be appreciated.
08 Jul 2009, 07:16
When I was a child in late 50's early 60's, my buddies and I would swim and
dive off the WaterLoo Bridge. Of course, the bridge was torn down due to a
heavy truck that tried to cross it. I lived in Budd Lake New Jersey on
Waterloo and in the spring and summer I enjoyed fishing and swiming at
Waterloo Village. When I go to visit the area it has been completely
changed. At one time there was a back road called Snake Hill which is now a
turn around where houses now stand . Years ago,that whole area was
beautiful woods, streams and even a large sand pit. Nowadays, The Tradw
Center occupies that area. Sometimes change is a necessity but I feel
emotionally battered by changes that has taken away the physical aspects of
my glorious childhood memories. Please e-mail me when the Winakung will be
open to the public.\r\n Thank You\r\n
01 Jun 2009, 17:48
hey I didn't know how many facts about one tribe! and I still can't find
out the one I want!
22 Jan 2009, 16:07
what did the longhouses look like...???
10 Jan 2009, 08:10
To whom it may concern:\r\nWhat a shock and how disappointing to learn all
this. I am a middle grade teacher in NY and was commenting on how the
Waterloo Village would be such a terrific school trip. I was researching
the village to bring in materials to show my colleagues only to see all
this! We visited the village and island when our children were young and
loved it. How could this have happened? Why? NJ Parks and State
Government,you should be ashamed of yourselves... and quite honestly
21 Oct 2008, 10:48
just what jersey needs , more housing no land.
Shirley K. lawson
17 Oct 2008, 16:40
I would like to know what happened to this village...and particualry
it's\r\nmissionaries in the past, it's my understanding many of them were
Germans\r\n"menonnites" perhaps that later settled along the Blue Ridge
Mountains of Virginia, taking some of these "friendly" Indians along with
them\r\n..at one time killed and murdered only because people thought they
were \r\nof other Indians that were on the "war path" at the time. My
maternal lines may\r\nof been of one of the "missionary"\r\npeople..and we
know their history from\r\nBucks county, and England prior...to present day
for the most part, but we do not know if our James Larkins, \r\nwas an
"Varkins" to this history, we \r\nthink differently at this time
though.\r\nDestroy this legacy and we will never know. Would it be better
if we turned Hipsanic?..sad but true these days. \r\nThe heritage is
apparently being continued on as our family historical cemetary despite
being owned by an church..Latter-Day Saints, is STILL much vandlized...even
with an small wire fence around it.. God forbid it should ever become an
"apartment" complex though, it serves the ruination of our land to see our
nation's hertiage passed over\r\nfor monetary value. Why must the only
Indians be left, be those whom are known to be "ruthless" in their
struggles to keep their heritage alive, when we have an example of peaceful
people through the Lenape?..the days of Cowboys and "savage" indians is
over thank God. There is an whole story out there of the good things they
did while alive, why can we not focus on that? \r\nI pray "city hall" gets
passed by for the "Laws of God" that what you do unto others, you do unto
yourself..forget them,and someday you will be forgotten also.
26 Sep 2008, 04:39
Writing to the New Jersey Herald in 1876, Seymour Smith, of Waterloo,
described “an old Indian burying ground, in which the rough stone marks the
final resting place of many a departed child of the forest.” It is situated
about a quarter of a mile east of the village on the shores of Waterloo
Lake. The Smith family, owners of the land, “scrupulously respected” the
burials and never plowed in their vicinity. A promotional booklet for Lake
Waterloo Estates, published about 1927, also reported, “An old Indian
burying ground apparently was located in a rise of land which juts into the
waters of what is now the main lake of a chain.” A portion of this burying
ground became an island in Waterloo Lake circa 1902-03 when the Mountain
Ice Company excavated a channel to redirect the river’s current along the
northwestern bank and thus create a quiet pool of water, free of debris,
for their ice harvests. Remnants of a dike, which once channeled the flow
of water around the ice pond, are still discernible at the upper end of the
lake. This ditch detached the peninsula bearing part of the cemetery from
the shore, thereby creating the smaller and more westerly of the two
islands in Waterloo Lake. When it was dug, excavators disturbed three
graves, uncovering hardware from disintegrated caskets and artifacts of
eighteenth-century European manufacture. At this time, Sanford Roy Smith
(1887-1982), the son of Peter D. Smith, unearthed a skeleton with pewter
buttons and a clay pipe with flowers painted on it and a deer-horn
stem.\r\n\r\nThis old cemetery reportedly encompasses about 50 interments,
including the remains of the early inhabitants of Andover Forge and Byram
Township. The promotional booklet for Lake Waterloo Estates also relates,
“The health-giving atmosphere of the territory [around Waterloo] is
attested by the fact that during the time of Washington’s occupancy of
headquarters in Morristown many of his French allied soldiers attacked by a
small-pox were encamped in quarantine on a bluff overlooking the valley. A
group of stones facing east marks the spot.” Supposedly, this ancient
cemetery holds the bones of Lafayette’s soldiers, who died while
quarantined there. Or, perhaps, there is some confusion. Could the old
cemetery contain the remains of those Continental artificers who operated
the forge during the American Revolutionary War?\r\n\r\nThis re-created
Indian village needs to be moved off of this ancient cemetery. This
violates the most fundamental principles of honoring our heritage. The
bureaucrats who enable this desecration should be fired.\r\n\r\nBest
25 Sep 2008, 09:11
what did lenape indians use to hunt?
06 Aug 2008, 10:21
Will you folks who have worked at the village in any capacity contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. I need to gather some history for the village.
27 Jun 2008, 04:25
I spoke at the village on Canal Day. I had been Tour Director there in
1979-81. I've spent the last 26 years working for Parks & Forestry. Despite
the patchwork repairs that have been done, this place is very much on the
edge and the people in the DEP are not capable of bringing it back. The
so-called Indian village needs to be moved off the prehistoric and historic
burial ground. The last thing we want to teach our children is to
disrespect the past in favor of "entertainment." Perhaps it should be moved
to nearby Wild West City.\r\n\r\nIn truth, the state of NJ needs to rescue
the State Historic Sites from their present misplacement in an
environmental protection agency and join the rest of America in valuing its
26 Jun 2008, 12:29
I was a guide at the Lenape village 2001-03. Miss the village-miss the
good people I worked with. Live in Indiana now. Still teach Native
history. Hopefully I will come back soon and visit the grounds. It is too
much history to lose.
24 Jun 2008, 15:30
Was at Waterloo Sat for Canal Day and \r\nwalked through the Indian
Village. As a\r\nformer guide, it looks very nice, but is\r\ndefinitely
not suited to the many school\r\ngroups who used to come here. Yes, its
more authentic, but the crowds we used to have would have been all bunched
up and\r\nconfused. Something to think about\r\n\r\nAlso, did I see an open
house real estate\r\nsign in front of the Wellington? Seems that if the
state really wanted to preserve a valuable piece of history, they wouldn't
be selling it piecemeal\r\n\r\nWhat gives DEP?
23 Jun 2008, 11:18
When will you be reopening again? We used to come all the time and miss
the amazing exhibit of the Lenape Indians!!
23 Jun 2008, 11:18
When will you be reopening again? We used to come all the time and miss
the amazing exhibit of the Lenape Indians!!
20 Jun 2008, 18:15
On April 17th, John asked if the church is still open. The short answer is
yes.\r\n\r\nServices are held at 10 am from the Sunday after Labor Day
until the last Sunday of June. During July, August and Labor Day weekend,
services are held at 9:30 am.\r\n\r\nThe church website is
03 Jun 2008, 06:29
Plan on visiting this weekend is the village open?
27 May 2008, 20:11
These cement wigwams are standing atop an ancient burial ground, first
reported in 1872 as an Indian cemetery, where historic burials include
Revolutionary War veterans. Three burials were excavated around 1902 when
the ice company dug a channel through the narrow peninsula jutting into the
lake to redirect the current away from the ice pond. One estimate claims 30
to 50 burials. I heard that evidence of burials was found when this
"village" was built. This only desecrates and dishonors our real
heritage.\r\n\r\nWhy are we spending public money on this when the truly
historic fabric of the village is falling to pieces?
Sally Lane, NJDEP
20 May 2008, 09:02
The Lenape Village at Waterloo has been repaired, rebuilt and expanded by
its original designer-builder, John Kraft. The Lenape Village will be open
for tours by Kraft as part of the Saturday, June 21 celebration of the
Canal Society of New Jersey's 13th Annual Canal Day. Scheduled events from
10am to 5pm include mule-drawn boat rides on the Morris Canal; a
first-person presentation by historian Richard Pawling as an 1870s canal
boat captain; exhibits on aspects of canal history; walking tours of the
village's canal features and of its architectural history. Check
www.canalsocietynj.org/otl.pdf for details.\r\n\r\nThe architectural tour
will be led by one of the team working on a preservation plan for Waterloo
Village. That plan, work on the Lenape Village and ongoing structural and
roof repairs and re-roofing at Waterloo are all part of the NJDEP FY08
commitment of $750,000, of which $500,000 has been spent to date. The
funding source is the percentage of Corporate Business Tax which the
state's voters agreed in November, 2006, should be reallocated to capital
needs of state parks & wildlife areas.
28 Apr 2008, 13:41
I live in Douglassville, Pa. While planting a tree in my front yard, I dug
up what I think to be arrowheads. Is there any way I can tell whether or
not they are real, or what indian tribe might have made them?
Bill Becker (ASNJ)
26 Apr 2008, 12:41
Is there an address for Waterloo Village that I might Mapquest it to find
out how to get there??\r\n\r\nThanks!\r\n\r\n--Bill
22 Apr 2008, 21:26
Could you tell me if the field about a 1/2 mile south of Waterloo entrance
on Kinny Rd. is apart of Waterloo or is it owned by the County? The field
is large and had a large stage set up.\r\n\r\nThank you.
17 Apr 2008, 12:18
is the church still open.
02 Apr 2008, 04:49
Abraham Hutchings House.\r\n\r\nWhat is happening to the Cannon Ball
house?\r\n\r\nIs it being moved to another site?\r\nI am not familiar with
Waterloo, but wish to see this
24 Mar 2008, 11:07
My daughter is getting married on June 14th at the Mohawk Country Club. We
thought it would be wonderful if people could visit Waterloo and Lenape
Village that early afternoon and maybe even have lunch. IS that a
21 Feb 2008, 09:51
I loved my visit to waterloo village and I hope that when I move back up
North I will get the opportunity to visit again.\r\n
14 Feb 2008, 16:54
Maybe it's me, but I think it's a shame if it is true that the Lenape
Village will be turned into a housing development. I took many school
classes there when I lived in the area and it was always a trip to
remember. It was a great way to teach about native americans and how they
lived...you walked right back into the past.
13 Feb 2008, 08:21
I did some research and found out that the Lenape Village at Waterloo has
been dismantled. In fact, the entire village has been sold (except for the
privately owned church)and will be knocked down in March 2008. A beautiful
new townhome development is going to be built to help revitalize the area.
I hope they keep the "Waterloo" name as a salute to the past!
09 Feb 2008, 16:55
I am interested in bringing a group to see the Indian Village and Waterloo
Village. When will it be available to tour?
26 Jan 2008, 11:09
We've notified the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry about
inquiries regarding the status of Waterloo Village and asked that they
respond here directly. You can monitor the state's progress on the project
26 Jan 2008, 10:20
I would love to bring 5 third-grade classes to Waterloo this spring; any
idea when it will reopen?
14 Jan 2008, 10:24
I am a painter/sculptor who lives in central new jersey. I recently
constructed a vision for a sculpture design that will need to include a
native american canoe. I am interested in being able to see one in person
as well as the literature that may aid me in my design. I am extremely
interested not only in the specific canoe, but the history of the people.
I would like to make this canoe as traditional as possible according to
tradtion. The sculpture will be the result of what i learn and the more
information the richer the meaning and honesty I will feel about the
process. I was pointed in this direction of waterloo village by the
National museum of the american indian. According to the website the
villiage is under construction, i was wondering if there is a speculated
date where visitors would be welcome again.
09 Jan 2008, 20:42
is there a possible date to project this park being open again?