|Federal Hill, Bloomingdale, NJ Nazi Bund Camp Site - The Iron Door
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|01 The Iron Door Federal Hill||02 The Iron Door Federal Hill||03 The Iron Door Federal Hill||04 The Iron Door From The Inside|
|05 The Iron Door Looking In||06 The Iron Door From The Inside||07 The Iron Door Inside Steps||08 The Iron Door Inside Ceiling Front|
|09 The Iron Door Inside Ceiling||10 The Iron Door Inside||11 The Iron Door Inside||12 The Iron Door Inside Latch|
|13 The Iron Door Inside Latch||14 The Iron Door Inside Bracing Bar Holes||15 The Iron Door Ceiling Vent Pipe||16 The Iron Door Federal Hill|
The Iron Door :
N 41° 00.084'
W 074° 18.328'
Large Foundations - Possibly the Main Lodge Location:
N 41° 00.046'
W 074° 18.349'
This is the infamous Iron Door on Federal Hill. It is a semi-natural cave with a sturdy Iron Door at the entrance. Looking up at the ceiling you will see gaps filled with rock and concrete. Near the entrance a small iron pipe goes up through the ceiling. I don't know if it was a vent or had some other purpose. At the back of the cave, which is about 15-20 feet deep is a hole for a chimney flue. At some point there must have been a wood stove in there. The story I was told was that when the area was being mined back in the 1800s this cave was built to store blasting caps and possibly explosives. If that is true then the flue must have been added later as wood stoves and explosives are not a good mix indoors. When the FBI raided the Bergwald Nazi Bund Camp in 1941 and rounded up the inhabitants, one of the locals explored the camp and found the cave filled floor to ceiling with documents in German. I haven't been able to find any more information on it yet.
There is an eyelet for a padlock on the outside of the Iron Door, and a long set of rods that can be used to latch the door from the inside. The horizontal row of holes near the bottom were where an iron reinforcing bar was fastened at some time. Slightly above that is a hole surrounded by smaller holes that looks like was fastened some sort of pipe fitting. I'm guessing it was a vent of some sort.
Bring a flashlight if you want to look around inside. It is much darker than these photos suggest and unless you go at night your eyes will not be accustomed to the darkness. Be forewarned that if you go in summer you will find it loaded with Cave Crickets. They won't bite you, but they are big, squishy, and jump when they are frightened. If you come in and shine a light on them they will start jumping in all directions, and usually land on your head and body. Even if you're not easily bothered by bugs it can be pretty freaky. Don't swat at them if they get on you as they squish pretty easily and it can get pretty messy.
As you are walking up the trail to get to the Iron Door, you will reach a relatively flat area with mounds to the left that I believe are the foundations to the original Bergwald Bund Camp Lodge. They are overwhelmed with forsythia bushes, which were obviously planted some time in the past. I can't say that is where the main lodge is for sure, but it is the only flat area big enough to fit the building shown in the 1930s videos of the camp.
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