BARNEGAT, NJ – Less than a month ago came the first attempt to dig up the story of the Barnegat Rocks. Since then, someone’s debunked the alleged inspiration for the rock garden that sits by the Barnegat Municipal Dock.
Readers may recall the story of Greg Cummings, a local photographer with a good eye. It turns out that Cummings does something extra with his spare time. Four different people act as dockmasters as the Barnegat docks. However, Cummings is the site’s “Rockmaster.”
Cummings agrees that the rock garden started subsequent to the rebuild of the docks after Superstorm Sandy. One of the dockmasters was under the impression that an unknown woman placed the first painted rock and the idea took on a life of its own.
“It’s interesting how it really all began,” shared Cummings. “The area used to be all gravel before Sandy, and people could easily walk on it to get to picnic tables. Everyone started to complain about the rocks.”
Apparently tired of hearing the criticism, a now-retired dockmaster decided to add some humor to the situation. “Jon Hingos painted a rock with the inscription “Fred Flintstone was here,” Cummings said.
As more and more decorated rocks appeared, Cummings took it upon himself to organize them using a theme. “I divided them up between stone, rock, and pebble.”
Cummings well earns the title of the Barnegat Docks Rockmaster. He walks along every few days to check the condition of the rocks and glosses over ones that become weathered.
“I’ve painted approximately 70 of the rocks myself,” said Cummings. His work includes memorial rocks of dockmasters and others who frequented the Barnegat docks.
Meanwhile, it appears there’s some share of “rocklifting” at the Barnegat docks. Cummings can’t help but shake his head at the ones missing that were his work. “I do one that says that “Dogs are proof that God loves us. It has paw prints on it.”
According to Cumming, all four of his “dog rocks” have disappeared. Of course, it’s doubtful that any Fidos have taken them home to showcase.
Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing and resume service. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.