While the word “farm” might be a stretch, this former AT&T testing site in Chester, New Jersey definitely gives the illusion of farming with hundreds of tree trunks shaped into poles “planted” into the ground in tidy rows.
AT&T created the farm in the 1920’s, varying arboreal species and different protectant methods, then allegedly subjected their test subjects to flocks of woodpeckers, hordes of pocket gophers, and the most unforgiving enemy of all, time. The poles are carefully marked with metal data tags, and the site doubled as a training ground as a climbing school for technicians to practice.
Though learning how to climb the poles was no doubt strenuous work, maintaining the farm itself proved to be a challenge in its own right. According to Public Works Superintendent Craig Reiner, it used to take four people with four push lawn mowers and four weed wackers six hours to mow the property. Fortunately for everyone involved, the town invested in riding mowers that just about fit between the poles. Nowadays, it takes workers about 90 minutes to completely mow the lawn.
The farm was incorporated into Highlands Ridge Park in 2004, where it is now a popular spot for families and hikers, and a great place to spot local wildlife.
Know Before You Go
From intersection of routes 510 and 513 (Amoco Gas Station), proceed North on 513 (North Rd.)