Superstorm Sandy destroyed the Shack, but in December 2012 its remains were found and salvaged

The “shack” was an iconic landmark along the Jersey Shore. It was located on the eastbound side of the Route 72 Causeway to Long Beach Island. It was built sometime in the 1920s and was an old hunting shanty used by baymen of Barnegat Bay. It was admired and documented by many people; locals and tourists. The shack stood for over 80 years until the storm surge with Superstorm Sandy washed it away; however, it didn’t go far… After the storm a very large debris pile was located along the SW side of the Route 72 Causeway, which was only 400 feet from where the shack once stood. In the debris pile was the remains of the shack. I had no intention of finding the shack when I first visited the site in early December. I only went to check it out after being asked to do a piece with a student from Columbia University School of Journalism (you can see her video below) on debris created by Sandy and what people were doing with that debris… It was was easy for me to tell the difference between the 80+ year old wood and the new boards that were used to keep it standing over the past decade. The harsh environment of the coastal salt marsh caused much of the wood to decay, but a good amount of it was in really good condition. I managed to salvage a decent amount of wood that used to be the shack, mostly tongue & groove yellow (yellow) pine siding, cedar shakes, a beam, floor boards, and a few joists. I even found a couple whole sections of wall, one from the front of the shack where the American flag was once nailed on the siding… I collected wood on December 7th and again on December 22nd. On the 22nd I could tell that debris removal crews had targeted the area for removal (a deck was being cut up with chainsaws) so I made plans to go back after Christmas. When I returned on the 26th with my Dad, all the remains of the shack were gone.

The fourth and final batch of limited edition jersey cutouts made from the shack are sold out!

From all of the sales of these limited edition Jersey cutouts and other items made from reclaimed shack wood (and other items made from Sandy debris) I’ve donated over 1/3 of the proceeds to Sandy relief efforts. A huge thank you to everyone who purchased one from this batch and previous ones! I’ve also donated several to local charity auctions to support ongoing Sandy relief efforts along the Jersey Shore this summer. In August I plan on making a few to sell on eBay to raise more funds to support coastal cleanups, like those by Clean Ocean Action. Lots of debris remains on our coastal saltmarshes and we should ALL be concerned! I have collected a lot of it myself and some is really concerning, like oil canisters, toxic chemicals and cleaners, etc… Petrochemicals that leach into our marine environment can reek havoc on many environmentally sensitive organisms.

Watch as wood from the old shack was salvaged after Sandy

During the holiday season of 2013 I made a new product from some of the remains from the shack. When I found the remains of the shack, which was mostly in pieces, I knew I had to try and salvaged as much as possible. It was a piece of history that deserved to be saved. So, I grabbed as many of the old cedar shakes as I could.

I made a small ornament from the reclaimed cedar shakes. The shape of New Jersey was traced (using a template) on the wood then carefully cutout using a scroll saw. I’d say one out of every three to four broke. The wood was so fragile to work with. After being cutout, the edges were sanded and a 1/4″ hole was drilled near the top for easy hanging. Wood was left with it’s natural aged patina. Size was ~ 4×2″. I plan to make as many as I can. So far I’ve made around 75 of them. I’ll probably be able to make another 10-15 more from all that remains. If you’re interested in getting one, please shoot me an email.