01 September 2018

Roycefield Falls, Then and Now

To create the desired park-like setting at his Hillsborough, New Jersey estate, tobacco tycoon James B. Duke had his architects design and construct a series of interconnected artificial lakes on the massive property. The lakes were fed by water pumped from the Raritan, and the various levels of the lakes allowed for the transitions to be accompanied by various waterfalls.

Roycefield Falls at Duke's Park, postcard circa 1905

Duke also did work on a minor tributary of the Raritan which later took the name Duke's Brook. Here he instructed his architects to place dams at several locations along the stream to create small lakes behind them. This is no doubt what was intended by the dam that created the "Roycefield Falls" at the bridge near the intersection of Roycefield Road and Duke's Parkway.

Shady Nook Arch Bridge, postcard circa 1907

Just upstream from this location Duke built a beautiful double-arched stone bridge meant to span the widened stream created by the dam. The bridge still exists today but is overgrown and completely inaccessible to the public.

Roycefield Falls at Duke Farms, 2017

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