Who mows the Chester Township telephone pole farm?
Morris County residents are undoubtedly familiar with the so-called telephone pole farm in Chester Township.
The area in Highlands Ridge Park is a former open-air lab for AT&T researchers looking for the best types of wood and varnish to use on telephone poles. It became a public park in 2004 and remains a quirky town icon.
But who is responsible for mowing the lawn between all of those poles? News 12’s Brian Donohue set out to find out.
Chester Township Public Works Superintendent Craig Reiner says that it used to take four people with four push lawn mowers and four weed wackers six hours to mow the property.
“So a daunting task, on a day when it’s 85 to 95 degrees. It was hard work,” he says.
Reiner says that he sought to streamline the process. The town invested in riding mowers that just about fit between the poles. Now it takes workers Chris Burcheli and Derek Meoli about 90 minutes to complete the job.
The Chester Historical Society says Bell Labs built several other "pole farms" in other parts of the United States during the first half of the 20th century. The one in New Jersey is believed to be the only one where the poles are still standing.