Water going over Haddonfield’s Wallworth Pond waterfall. It flows out into the Cooper River and the Camden County Park System. Infrared photography.
Not a place many associate with maritime history, Haddonfield, in Camden County, NJ, was actually founded three centuries ago because of its waterborne advantage. It sat astride the most inland navigable section of the Cooper River. In its first century, the Colonial village port was a commercial hub where lumber, farm and other goods from the surrounding region were loaded onto flat-bottom barges for the 12-mile trip to the Delaware River and the country’s largest and most prosperous city beyond: Philadelphia. In the 1930s, the heavily silted Cooper River became the serpentine centerpiece of the Camden County Park System. Its upper reaches were dammed to create Wallworth Pond and the waterfall that now straddles Haddonfield’s northeastern border. This is an infrared photography tour of Haddonfield.
Infrared photography is interesting because it records the exact details of a scene, yet renders foliage as white instead of green. The reason for this is that infrared light doesn’t “see” the green in the chlorophyll of plants and, instead, records chlorophyll as white. This can often create a magical, ethereal effect such as that seen in this image of Tumaini (nickname Tumi), Haddonfield’s newly installed giraffe in the Children’s Sculpture Zoo on Kings Highway.
Another unique quality of infrared photography is that it is particularly effective at making large outdoor artworks stand out dramatically from their foliage backgrounds. Here is “Ballerina,” a work by Barry Woods-Johnson that has become an icon of Haddonfield. It is one of the Haddonfield Outdoor Sculpture Trust (HOST) artworks that have made the whole town something of a sculpture garden.
One of the town’s more picturesque structures is the Gothic style memorial chapel in the Baptist Cemetery along Kings Highway. Built in 1890, it sits at the front of a serene cemetery with stones date to the 1700s.
The historic Baptist Cemetery was founded in 1818. The Haddonfield burial ground is filled with graves dating back more than 150 years. Some of the family plots like this one featured ornate stonework that spoke of individuals’ business or political power.
Although it has a highly visible dinosaur sculpture at its center, many people don’t fully comprehend that Haddonfield is one of the world’s most uniquely historic paleontology sites. When excavated by marl diggers in 1858, the fossil of Hadrosaurus foulkii was the first nearly-complete fossil of a dinosaur found anywhere in the world. The actual site of its discovery is in a wild ravine at the end of Maple Ave.
One of the least-known sculptures in Haddonfield is the pugnacious creature watching over the stadium field at the Haddonfield High School. Found discarded on a roadside by a student football player’s parents in 2014, the statue was refurbished and installed on a base built by a student as a Cub Scout project. It’s the mascot of school’s “Bulldawgs” athletic teams.
Another of Haddonfield’s scenic churches is Grace Episcopal on Kings Highway. It is a spectacular example of classic English Gothic architecture that could have been lifted from some cozy 19th-century hamlet in England. A recent addition on the front lawn is the sculpture “Three States of Being” by Carl Billingsley.
Matching the elegant architecture of its church is Grace Episcopal’s rectory, designed with a nod to a traditional British parish house. The church’s grounds include stone tunnels and winding paths through serene gardens.
Flowing from the Wallworth Pond waterfall toward the Delaware River, the Cooper River is the heart of a heavily forested park system offering myriad places to relax and commune with nature. Its trails and bridges are places of quiet respite from the daily urban grind.
While it’s actually in Cherry Hill on the other side of the border, Croft Farm is a stone’s throw from Haddonfield’s Wallworth Pond. Its massive, 3-ton sculpture “Free Wheel” by Peter Trout Gard commemorates the “key” to freedom offered by the farm’s use as an Underground Railroad station. The “wheel” is about the machinery of the local saw and grist mills that were once symbols of this area’s industrial might.
Haddonfield is known for its collection of historic houses. Many of its streets feature distinctive house architecture dating back as far as 300 years. This Georgian home at 125 Kings Highway was built in 1923 and harkens back to some of the original mansions built by wealthy Quakers who dominated the area’s commerce and society in the 18th and 19th centuries.
White gazebos and their surrounding fringes of garden offer another way to demonstrate how infrared photography can change the look of a site in a refreshing new way.
Located in the same gardens as the gazebo is this sculpture called The Seduction of Steppenwolf by Jacquelin Boulanger. It was donated to Haddonfield by Rowan College at Burlington County.
And a final infrared shot of a quiet yard in Haddonfield.