Snake Hill
Overview
 
Snake Hill is an igneous rock
Igneous rock
Igneous rock is one of the three main rock types, the others being sedimentary and metamorphic rock. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava...

 intrusion
Intrusion
An intrusion is liquid rock that forms under Earth's surface. Magma from under the surface is slowly pushed up from deep within the earth into any cracks or spaces it can find, sometimes pushing existing country rock out of the way, a process that can take millions of years. As the rock slowly...

 jutting some 150 feet (46 m) up from the floor of the Meadowlands
New Jersey Meadowlands
New Jersey Meadowlands, also known as the Hackensack Meadowlands after the primary river flowing through it, is a general name for the large ecosystem of wetlands in northeast New Jersey in the United States. The Meadowlands are known for being the site of large landfills and decades of...

 in Secaucus
Secaucus, New Jersey
Secaucus is a town in Hudson County, New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town population was 16,264. Located within the New Jersey Meadowlands, it is the most suburban of the county's municipalities, though large parts of the town are dedicated to light manufacturing, retail, and...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, USA
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It was largely obliterated by quarrying in the 1960s that reduced its height by one-quarter and its base area by four fifths. The diabase rock was used as building material in growing areas like Jersey City. The graffiti-covered remains of Snake Hill are a familiar landmark to travelers on the New Jersey Turnpike
New Jersey Turnpike
The New Jersey Turnpike is a toll road in New Jersey, maintained by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. According to the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, the Turnpike is the nation's sixth-busiest toll road and is among one of the most heavily traveled highways in the United...

's Eastern Spur, which skirts its southern edge.
Encyclopedia
Snake Hill is an igneous rock
Igneous rock
Igneous rock is one of the three main rock types, the others being sedimentary and metamorphic rock. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava...

 intrusion
Intrusion
An intrusion is liquid rock that forms under Earth's surface. Magma from under the surface is slowly pushed up from deep within the earth into any cracks or spaces it can find, sometimes pushing existing country rock out of the way, a process that can take millions of years. As the rock slowly...

 jutting some 150 feet (46 m) up from the floor of the Meadowlands
New Jersey Meadowlands
New Jersey Meadowlands, also known as the Hackensack Meadowlands after the primary river flowing through it, is a general name for the large ecosystem of wetlands in northeast New Jersey in the United States. The Meadowlands are known for being the site of large landfills and decades of...

 in Secaucus
Secaucus, New Jersey
Secaucus is a town in Hudson County, New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town population was 16,264. Located within the New Jersey Meadowlands, it is the most suburban of the county's municipalities, though large parts of the town are dedicated to light manufacturing, retail, and...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, USA
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It was largely obliterated by quarrying in the 1960s that reduced its height by one-quarter and its base area by four fifths. The diabase rock was used as building material in growing areas like Jersey City. The graffiti-covered remains of Snake Hill are a familiar landmark to travelers on the New Jersey Turnpike
New Jersey Turnpike
The New Jersey Turnpike is a toll road in New Jersey, maintained by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. According to the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, the Turnpike is the nation's sixth-busiest toll road and is among one of the most heavily traveled highways in the United...

's Eastern Spur, which skirts its southern edge. The large protruding rock along the Hackensack River
Hackensack River
The Hackensack River is a river, approximately 45 miles long, in the U.S. states of New York and New Jersey, emptying into Newark Bay, a back chamber of New York Harbor. The watershed of the river includes part of the suburban area outside New York City just west of the lower Hudson River,...

 bank is the highest point on Laurel Hill.

Laurel Hill was formed by volcanic action over 150 million years ago. Much later, colonists kept away from the peculiar sloped hill because of the many large black snakes found there and coined the nickname “Snake Hill.”

Laurel Hill County Park

In the early first decade of the 21st century, further blasting occurred along the New Jersey Turnpike. Most of the original 184 acre (0.74462224 km²) parcel is currently being utilized as Laurel Hill County Park, which includes a portion of Hackensack RiverWalk
Hackensack RiverWalk
Hackensack RiverWalk a is partially constructed greenway along the Newark Bay and Hackensack River on the west side of the Bergen Neck peninsula in Hudson County, New Jersey...

.

Laurel Hill Park is home to the Hackensack Riverkeeper's Field Office and Paddling Center, which is open weekends from April through October and weekdays by appointment. Hackensack Riverkeeper also conducts many of its Eco-Cruises from this park. There is a narrow Ridge Trail along the top of the hill.

History

From 1855 to 1962 there were Hudson County penal and charitable institutions on Snake Hill. The Almshouse
Almshouse
Almshouses are charitable housing provided to enable people to live in a particular community...

, Penitentiary
Prison
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

, Quarry
Quarry
A quarry is a type of open-pit mine from which rock or minerals are extracted. Quarries are generally used for extracting building materials, such as dimension stone, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, and gravel. They are often collocated with concrete and asphalt plants due to the requirement...

 and Hospital for the Insane, Contagious Diseases Hospital, and Tuberculosis Sanatorium
Sanatorium
A sanatorium is a medical facility for long-term illness, most typically associated with treatment of tuberculosis before antibiotics...

, were all grouped on the north side of Snake Hill. Hundreds of people lived at Snake Hill at any given time. The Hudson County Burial Grounds
Hudson County Burial Grounds
The Hudson County Burial Grounds are also known as the Secaucus Potter's Field and Snake Hill Cemetery and it is located in Secaucus, New Jersey. The cemetery was cleared of bodies to make room for the Secaucus Transfer Station between 1992-2003...

 is a Potter's Field
Potter's field
A potter's field was an American term for a place for the burial of unknown or indigent people. The expression derives from the Bible, referring to a field used for the extraction of potter's clay, which was useless for agriculture but could be used as a burial site.-Origin:The term comes from...

 associated with the numerous institutions, which had long been forgotten. They were unearthed during the addition to the New Jersey Turnpike
New Jersey Turnpike
The New Jersey Turnpike is a toll road in New Jersey, maintained by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. According to the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, the Turnpike is the nation's sixth-busiest toll road and is among one of the most heavily traveled highways in the United...

 for access to Secaucus Junction
Secaucus Junction
The Frank R. Lautenberg Secaucus Junction Station is a major commuter rail hub in Secaucus, New Jersey...

 at exit 15X. When the graves were discovered, they were tested and found to have come from the facilities.

The rock is a 61 meter (203 ft) high pipe-like diabase intrusive, which is believed to be an offshoot of the nearby Palisades Sill
Palisades Sill
The Palisades Sill is a Triassic, 200 Ma diabase intrusion. It extends through portions of New York and New Jersey. It is most noteworthy for The Palisades, the cliffs that rise steeply above the western bank of the Hudson River...

. Mineralized shales and sandstones, intruded by the diabase, are visible in the north and southwest sections of the property. Minerals were found in veins in both the diabase and metamorphosed sediments. Quarrying took place from the late 19th century to the 1950s, when a section of the land was utilized as a prison Penetentiary Quarry. In 1962 Hudson County finished closing their facilities on the site, which included the county prison and the insane asylum. The County entered into a 20 year contract with Callanan Industries to level much of the hill. In the 1960s and 70's Gallo Asphalt had 4 asphalt plants, side by side, adjacent to the quarry and supplied paving materials throughout the surrounding urban region. Production ended on schedule in 1982. Ref:Refs.:

Snake Hill has had a modest, if largely anonymous, impact on the popular consciousness. A New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 advertising executive, passing the hill on a train, is said to have drawn from it the inspiration for the Prudential
Prudential Financial
The Prudential Insurance Company of America , also known as Prudential Financial, Inc., is a Fortune Global 500 and Fortune 500 company whose subsidiaries provide insurance, investment management, and other financial products and services to both retail and institutional customers throughout the...

 "Rock of Gibraltar
Rock of Gibraltar
The Rock of Gibraltar is a monolithic limestone promontory located in Gibraltar, off the southwestern tip of Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It is high...

" logo in the 1890s. Its rugged landscapes also feature prominently in artist Robert Smithson
Robert Smithson
Robert Smithson was an American artist famous for his land art.-Background and education:Smithson was born in Passaic, New Jersey and studied painting and drawing in New York City at the Art Students League of New York....

's 1968 work Untitled (6 Stops on a Section).
The mineral Petersite was discovered at Snake Hill in June 1981 by Nicholas Facciolla, who took it to the Paterson Museum. In 1982 the mineral was recognized as a new discovery and named for Thomas A. Peters (1947-) and Joseph Peters (1951-), curators of minerals at the Paterson, New Jersey
Paterson, New Jersey
Paterson is a city serving as the county seat of Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 146,199, rendering it New Jersey's third largest city and one of the largest cities in the New York City Metropolitan Area, despite a decrease of 3,023...

, museum and the American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History , located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, respectively.

The hill and the area between Snake Hill and the Hackensack River
Hackensack River
The Hackensack River is a river, approximately 45 miles long, in the U.S. states of New York and New Jersey, emptying into Newark Bay, a back chamber of New York Harbor. The watershed of the river includes part of the suburban area outside New York City just west of the lower Hudson River,...

 today comprise Laurel Hill County Park.

The rock most often referred to as Laurel or Snake Hill (Slangenbergh in Dutch) has also been called Fraternity Rock (because of the greek letters painted on it presumably by local college fraternities
Fraternities and sororities
Fraternities and sororities are fraternal social organizations for undergraduate students. In Latin, the term refers mainly to such organizations at colleges and universities in the United States, although it is also applied to analogous European groups also known as corporations...

), Long Neck (because it is a volcanic neck), Graffiti Rock and Mt. Pinhorne (after plantation owner William Pinhorne) by a 17th century owner.

The name changed from Snake Hill to Laurel Hill in 1926, when Hudson County freeholder
Board of Chosen Freeholders
In New Jersey, the Boards of Chosen Freeholders are the county legislatures in each of that state's 21 counties.- Origin :New Jersey's system of naming county legislators "freeholders" is unique in the United States...

 Katherine Whelan Brown said that it was the "crowning Laurel
Laurel wreath
A laurel wreath is a circular wreath made of interlocking branches and leaves of the bay laurel , an aromatic broadleaf evergreen. In Greek mythology, Apollo is represented wearing a laurel wreath on his head...

of Hudson County" because of its prominence in the low lying meadowlands.

External links


Further reading

Facciolla, N. (1981) Minerals of Laurel Hill, Secaucus, New Jersey.]

Manchester, J.G. (1931) The Minerals of New York City and Its Environs. New York Mineralogical Club Bulletin, 3:58-9.

Peacor, D.R. & Dunn, P.J. (1982) American Mineralogist, 67:1039-42.

Puffer, J. & Peters, J. (1974) Economic Geology. Magnetite Veins in Diabase of Laurel Hill, New Jersey, 69:1294-99.

Tschernich, R. (1992) Zeolites of the World, 66, 116 p.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK