25 July 2015

Lover's Lane, Then and Now

Old postcards are not only a great resource for discovering what Duke Farms looked like a century ago, but can also reveal long forgotten names of lanes, and bridges, and bodies of water at J.B. Duke's "Duke's Park".

Lover's Lane at Duke's Park, postcard circa 1907

I previously took note of "Hoo Doo Bridge" on Habitat Lane - but a study of the postcards in my personal collection provides us with "Swan Falls", "Woodville Falls", "Silver Cascades", "Shady Nook Drive", "Willow Lake", and other disused monikers.  This week, we have the practically unchanged view facing west on Overlook Way, formerly named "Lover's Lane" - at least at the time the original postcard view was printed in 1907.

Overlook Way at Duke Farms. April 1915

18 July 2015

Great Falls, Then and Now

Although the connected lake system at Duke Farms isn't functioning today as it did over 100 years ago when first conceived and built by James B. Duke, the Great Falls are operational and flow at least a couple of times each day.

Great Falls postcard circa 1915

Great Falls at Duke Farms, May 2015

11 July 2015

Conservation Lane Bridge,Then and Now

I am not sure what the stone bridge to the east of the Farm Barn at Duke Farms is called, but I'm calling it the Conservation Lane Bridge. 

Conservation Lane Bridge, postcard circa 1905

Yes, this is the first photo in this series where I've been foiled by sticking to my game plan of not venturing off the paths and into the brush to get the shot. So this one is from a different angle, but you get the idea.

Conservation Lane Bridge at Duke Farms April 2015
The bridge is still in very good condition well over a century since its construction - still, I wish Duke Farms would do more to preserve these beautiful structures.

04 July 2015

Vista Lake Fountains, Then and Now

Fountains of all kinds were a major attraction at Duke Farms a century ago when the Hillsborough, New Jersey estate of tobacco tycoon James B. Duke was still popularly known as Duke's Park. So important were the water displays that Duke wouldn't even consider having the grounds open to the public unless all of the fountains and falls were operational. 

Vista Lake Fountains, postcard circa 1915

It was eventually decided that the park would only be open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays. The stated reason for the reduction was the unruly behavior of some guests, but it was also noted that the fountains would only be active while the park was open - no doubt saving a great deal of money.

New Brunswick Daily Home News, May 31, 1910

New Brunswick Daily Home News, September 19, 1910
If you take a walk on Fox Hollow Lane along the lower drive around Vista Lake you may still imagine the sight of the magnificent fountains with the overflow cascading down over the stone embankment. No wonder the editor of the New Brunswick Daily Home News decried the lack of access to the working people of central New Jersey!

The view from Fox Hollow Lane across Vista Lake at Duke Farms, April 2015