Going up Lindbergh Road towards the Lindbergh Estate, you pass Ridge Road, South Hill Road and Zion Road. Just before you exit the Township you come to Burd Lane on your left with “Private-No Trespassing” signs. This non-descript gravel lane has had quite a history over the years. On maps from the late 1800’s this is shown as a farm lane to the old farm house belonging to Stephen Wychoff, part of the large extended Wychoff clan that owned most of the mountain and had extensive peach orchards there. Later, in 1902, this property was owned by a William Burgee. Sometime in the 1930’s Mario Tomarchio and his brother Joseph came out of New York City to the wilds of the Sourland Mountains and began a vegetable truck farm. At that time there were very few trees on the mountain, with most areas being farmed. Their produce, including apples and peaches was taken to the New York area and eventually they opened a stand on Rt 518 west of Hopewell. Gradually they had their friends and relatives come out and  weekend bungalows sprang up. These were typically one story buildings with no heat, no indoor plumbing and no water. They were occupied from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The only running water was at the Tomachio’s house and people lined up with their gallon jugs. Shortly there were the Mazullos, Tarantinos, Affrontis, Bertunas, Cellas, LoRiccos, Valentis, the Pontillios, the Primitaras  all living on a road that had no name. Because of the nameless road, people in Montgomery Township called this area “Bungalow Alley” while people on the East Amwell side referred it as “Little Italy”. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, people began to move out permanently and the bungalows were expanded, and heat, electricity and plumbing were installed. But the road was not without its tragedy. In the early 1940’s two Polish gentlemen from Jersey City bought a piece of property and began to clear the land. They burned a pile of yard debris including poison ivy which they inhaled and both died after only owning the property two days! Interestingly, the residents themselves gradually graded the lane by hand and only recently did the township begin to maintain it due to fire and rescue vehicles. Although still privately owned, if one drives very slowly you can make it to Spring Hill Road. So, how did it become Burd Lane?  In 1975, residents got together to name the road. Someone said that in past history a family by the name Burd had lived on the road. Whether that is true or not, the name stuck.


Jim Davidson