07 July 2018

Old Foundation Fountain, Then and Now

One might think of fountains and terraces and gardens and assorted landscaping as the finishing touches to one's home but for James B. Duke's Hillsborough, New Jersey estate all of these things were built first - and many can still be seen today.

Foundation Fountain at Duke's Park, postcard circa 1915
Duke first contemplated a large manor house for the property around 1902 but began planning in earnest after he returned from a European honeymoon with his first wife in 1904. By 1905 he had given his architects the go-ahead to begin the landscape design, even while the house was going through its several permutations on the drafting table.

One of the designs for Duke's "country home"

The finished designs which have survived show what would have been the "terrace" facade facing the great lawn. The entrance was to have been on the other side overlooking the lakes. This is the side where you can find the 1915 postcard view of the central fountain, and my snapshot of the scene from 2017.

Old Foundation Fountain at Duke Farms, 2017

After divorcing in 1906 and remarrying in 1907, excitement about the mansion gradually dwindled, and the plan was given up.

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