The Deserted Village of Feltville – Berkeley Heights, New Jersey - Atlas Obscura

The Deserted Village of Feltville

Berkeley Heights, New Jersey

This tiny New Jersey village has lived many lives but seems determined to remain a ghost town. 


Originally settled in the early 1700s, the small village of Feltville has existed in a number of formations including a mill town, a religious community, and a mountain resort, but with each makeover the village keeps slipping back to its status as a deserted ghost town.

The small village now known as Feltville was first settled by Long Island migrant Peter Willcox who built a sawmill on the land that in the 1730s was just more frontier. New Jersey continued to grow up around Willcox’s land until the mid-1800’s when the parcel was purchased by David Felt, yet another mill owner looking for cheaper real estate outside of New York. This larger mill spawned its own village which Felt dubbed with no small amount of ego,”Feltville.” A staunchly religious man, Felt pressured the townsfolk into attending regular church services, garnering him the nickname, “King David.”

By the late 1800s Felt sold the land and while a number of businesses made a go of reinvigorating the remaining buildings, none succeeded and the tiny settlement soon became known as the “deserted village.” However the land, with the buildings still standing, eventually changed hands and was turned into a mountain resort destination. unfortunately the much more appealing Jersey shore soon put a nail in the coffin of that incarnation, and the land was once again abandoned.

Today Feltville is still a ghost town with only a handful of residents clinging to the land. Many of the original structures still stand and the tucked away town is a popular tourist site for New Jersey history buffs.

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