When Simon Morley needed to travel back in time to 1880s era New York City in Jack Finney's 1970 novel Time and Again, he holed up in the Dakota apartment building - a place unchanged since that time - where he could convince himself that he was on the upper west side of Manhattan in January 1882. At Duke Farms, the former Hillsborough Township, NJ estate of tobacco tycoon James B. Duke and later his daughter Doris, one can almost accomplish the same by taking a stroll along West Way.
|West Way Drive looking north at Duke's Park, postcard circa 1915|
With Vista Lake and the Mermaid Pool on your right, and Duke Reservoir up the hill to your left, the scene in 2015 is much as it was in 1915, when the postcard view above was photographed. Yes, bicycles have replaced autos - the favored way to tour the massive Duke's Park a century ago - but when I went back this week to get a better photo than the one originally slated for this post, I found many happily strolling the promenade as they might have done in the heyday of public access to the estate from 1905 to 1915.
|West Way at Duke Farms, August 2015|