Tag: nj historic sites

Franklin Mineral Museum                                       32 Evans Street                                              Franklin, NJ 07416

Franklin Mineral Museum 32 Evans Street Franklin, NJ 07416

Franklin Mineral Museum

32 Evans Street

Franklin, NJ  07416

(973) 827-3481

franklinmineralmuseum.com

Home Page

Open: Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm/Monday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm/Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm

Fee:  Combination Rock Collecting & Museum: Adults $15.00/Children 3-16 $10.00/Seniors (65+) and Veterans $12.00; Museum Only: Adults $10.00/Children 3-16 $8.00/Seniors & Veterans $9.00. See packages on the website.

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46449-d2172670-Reviews-Franklin_Mineral_Museum-Franklin_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

 

I recently visited the Franklin Mineral Museum on a trip to Sussex County wanting to learn more of the mining history of New Jersey. I never released that the mines were so close to my home in Bergen County. I have to admit though that the museum is a little dated with the typed signs and no video information on the exhibits.

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Where the museum shines though is in its depth of display, the interesting artifacts that the museum contains with both fossils and Native American pieces. It really shows the extent of Paleontology in the State of New Jersey and how the make up of the Earth and its history is shown in the displays. Many of the fossils have been found all over the State.

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The fossil area

Two of the exhibits that I thought stood out that you must see is the “Fluorescent Room”, which when left alone when the lights go out is an illumination of colors due to the fluorescent make up of the minerals in the rocks. It displays all the colors of the rainbow. When the lights go back on they just look like ordinary rocks. Take time when the lights are out to really look at the colors of the stones. I was told that the blue or violet ones are the rarest.

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The Fluorescent Room

Another stand out display is the simulated “Mine Replica” that takes you in a tunnel and then maze of the make up of working in a mine complete with ladders down the lower tunnels, a working office of the foreman, the mine car tracts and displays on how miners went about there business. It shows how hard and dangerous the mining industry is and was back then to today. Try to see this display first as it takes time to tour.

Before you go inside to the museum, take some time to look through the quarry for rocks and minerals. You are given a bag to keep your specimens and there is a fluorescence light to check if you found anything. At first I thought this was just for little kids but later discovered that I found some ‘glowing rocks’ that I could take home and I found this fascinating. I never knew these types of rocks existed in New Jersey.

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The quarry area

Give yourself about three hours to really explore these rooms and it will give you a clear indication of how New Jersey formed as a State and its role in the evolution of the Earth. There are some really interesting displays to see and read about.

 

 

History of the Museum & Mines:

(This information was provided by the Franklin Mineral Museum pamphlet)

Due to the depletion of zinc and other ores the Franklin Mine closed operations in 1954. In preservation of the mining heritage the local Kiwanis Club started an annual mineral show donating the funds to charitable causes. Popularity of the show lead to the formation of the Franklin Mineral Museum, a non-profit educational museum, incorporated July 1, 1963, which is governed by a board of trustees and powered by a dedicated staff. Of note: Although the Kiwanis Club is no longer involved with the museum, the original sign still hangs over the outside door to the mine replica.

The former Buckwheat engine house, thought to be the hoist house that supplied the power to lift the mined ore from the Buckwheat open pit was donated to the museum in 1963. The mine replica was installed and made a permanent display inside the hoist house. Of note: Around 1940, the original replica was a modular unit displayed at the local community center “Neighborhood House” and was used to show the miners’ families how they worked inside the mine. Prior to being reconstructed inside the engine house the modular replica was used at the NJ Zinc Company for the purpose of training mine rescue workers.

A mineral repository was also added in 1963 to the museum. The first mineral exhibit was donated by the NJ Zinc Company to the Kiwanis Club for display in the then permanent mine replica. The collection consisted of 71 specimens and mill samplings, including 11 fluorescents. The first mineral exhibit was later used as a traveling exhibit is displayed in the “Local Mining District Mineral” room of the museum. (Of note: The collection was originally on display in 1920 at the local high school and then moved around to several other locations, then the Neighborhood House in 1940.

On October 9, 1965, the Franklin Mineral Museum opened to the public. On June 20, 1968, the State of New Jersey declared the Borough of Franklin, NJ “The Fluorescent Mineral Capital of the World”. The discovery of more than 200 varieties of minerals from the working mines brought forth the great phenomena of mineral wonders from this area, particularly brilliant fluorescent minerals. On September 24, 1971, the State of New Jersey declared the Franklin Mineral Museum an Historic Site. Today this museum houses the most comprehensive display of local fluorescent minerals in the world.

The Museum is broken down into several rooms and displays:

 

World Minerals “Welsh Hall”:

*There are approximately 6000 world-wide specimens and some from outer space.

*The three rock types are displayed. Igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary.

*Displays include meteorites, solidified lava, a volcanic bomb, pumice the floating rock, gold and birthstones in natural and gem forms.

*The hollow rocks called geodes are formed from air bubbles in lava and often contain crystals. (Wilfred Welsh, a former teacher from Saddle River, NJ and his wife, Mary, collected and donated the majority of specimens in this room. This collection represents the passion they had for minerals. New specimens are continually added to this exhibit).

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The Mineral Room

“Mine Replica”:

*In the lower level, left tunnel, the can in the alcove represents the miners’ “bathroom”. If a miner showed up late for work it was his job to carry the cans at the end of the shift (Where the expression “Going to the Can” comes from).

*This area contains the “Wall of Zinc”. The exhibit demonstrates the layers of various zinc ores that may have been visible in the mine.

*The original ore cars were pulled by mules.

*The miners of the 1800’s used candles & oil wick lamps on top of their helmets. Later in the 1900’s the carbide light was used to do away with candles. Water dripping on carbide produced acetylene gas which provided better light.

*Rats were prevalent in the mines. They stole lunches out of the metal lunch boxes if not locked. Most importantly they were very good indicators of cave-ins and provided early warning signs.

*The office exhibit represents that of a NJ Zinc scientist. This exhibit and open display area with “Sam” show mining artifacts. “Sam” is the original miner statue that stood outside of the museum, now replaced by a bronze statue sculptured by Carey Boone Nelson.

*Upstairs show the stope and pillar mining used in the 1900’s

*The large drill weighed 300 pounds and took two men to operate.

*The man cage (mine elevator) delivered men to their work levels inside the mine. A signal bell was rung to alert the operator.

 

Artifacts:

The artifacts of Native American, Artic & Aztec tribes, representing various regions are displaying in this exhibit.

“Fossils & Artifacts”:

*Petrified wood, the large circles along the wall are slices of fossilized tree trunk. The wood has been replaced with mineral over a long period of time. The tree rounds are estimated to date back to the Triassic Age 230 million years ago.

*The dinosaur footprint is from a Grallator, that roamed NJ. Grallator means “stilt walker”. This was a herding dinosaur known only from its fossilized footprints. Grallator-type footprints have been found in formations dating from the late Triassic through to the early Cretaceous periods. It is said to have up to five toes.

*The large bone is from a Mastodon.  Mastodons are an extinct group of mammal; species related to elephants. They inhabited North and Central America during the late Miocene or late Pliocene up to their extinction at the end of the Pleistocene  10,000 to 11,000 years ago. Their genus name is Mammut and they are members of the order Proboscidea. They lived in herds and were predominately forest dwelling animals.

*Coprolite is fossilized dinosaur dung.

*The giant shark tooth is from the Megalodon one of the largest most powerful predators. It is an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 28 to 1.5 million years ago, during the Cenozoic Era. Fossil remains suggest that this giant shark reached a maximum length of 46-59 feet. Some believe that the Megalodon still swims in the deep waters today and are larger in size than originally thought.

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The Fossil Room

*Trilobites are extinct arthropods, distant relatives of modern lobsters, horseshoe crabs and spiders. Trilobites existed for approximately 300 million years. They lived from the Lower Cambrian Period (521 million years ago) to the end of the Permian (240 million years ago). Trilobites were probably the first life forms with complex eyes with some species having hundreds of individual lenses per eye.

 

“Fluorescent Room”:

The Fluorescence of the Franklin ores was discovered accidentally in the early 1900’s. Sparks from primitive electrical equipment in the mines caused the rocks to glow. Sparking equipment in the mines caused the rocks to glow. Sparking equipment was built and the fluorescents were used to follow ore zones and to monitor the quality of mill concentrates. Later, fluorescence was used to determine if exploratory drill holes were close to the ore body. If the holes would glow red. Calcite further from the holes had no fluorescence.

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The Fluorescent Room

The reason why some minerals fluoresce is because of the impurities in the mineral. The ultraviolet light rays dislodge and excite electrons from their orbits in a molecular structure of the mineral and in their efforts to get back in the orbit, the electrons give off energy in the form of light.

Fluorescence refers to the emission of visible light from a substance being irradiated by ultraviolet light which the human eye can not see.

In the displays:

The large exhibit displays some of the finest fluorescent minerals from the local mining district, shown under shortwave ultraviolet light. Most local fluorescent minerals look fairly ordinary in natural light and only fluoresce under shortwave ultraviolet light. The exhibit on the opposite wall identifies local specimens in alphabetical order under shortwave ultraviolet light. Only a few local minerals fluoresce under long wave ultraviolet light, some of which are displayed in the first case you enter.

“Local Mining District Mineral Room”:

*Every mineral on display is from the local mining district of Franklin or Sterling-Hill.

*Several geological events produced the wealth of mineral species found in this area.

*The first one mined in Franklin was magnetite iron ore. Searching for more magnetite, zinc was discovered.

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The Mineral Room

The discovery of zinc in the minerals franklinite, willemite and zincite brought on a new era of mining. Between 1848 and 1897 several small companies began underground zinc mining and continued to do so until the great consolidation of 1897.

In 1897, these smaller companies consolidate to from the New Jersey Zinc Company which operated in Franklin until 1954 and then closed after exhausting the mineral resources available.

The Franklin open cut “surface mining” with an underground opening to the mine is across the street and currently under water. The open cut was originally named the “Buckwheat Mine”. The “buckwheat dump” is the collecting area of the museum, comprised of discarded rock from that mine.

*The mine produced 22 million tons of ore worth 500 million dollars.

*Many uses for Zinc include sunscreen, pennies, paint, batteries…

*Solid zinc bars are on display in this room.

In this exhibits:

*The left side of the room as you walk in, displays various species of local minerals. The primary economic ores mined were willemite, franklinite and zincite. See a sample that contains all of these minerals in “High Grade Franklin Ore” located on the floor next to the Franklinite Crystal model.

Willemite: Colorless to white, gray, flesh-red, dark brown, honey-yellow, apple-green, blue, Fluorescent (green) under shortwave ultraviolet light.

Franklinite: is an oxide mineral. Commonly occurs with willemite, calcite and red zincite forming small black octahedral crystals. Franklinite was only found here in the local mining district until recently.

Zincite: A mineral form of zinc oxide. Its crystal form is rare in nature except at the Franklin and Sterling Hill Mines. The hexagonal crystal is red-colored (mostly due to iron and manganese) and associated with willemite and franklinite. Some zincite fluoresces yellow under long wave light.

*You can collect for these mineral species on the “buckwheat dump” located on the property of the museum.

*On display are small amounts of gold found here.

*The corner floor display consists of local common rocks and minerals some of which contain iron. There was an iron furnace located at the now Police station at the edge of the Franklin pond. Most of the iron mined here was called magnetite. Magnetite is highly magnetic.

Some minerals on display are on loan from various institutions and major universities. We have out minerals on display in museums all over the world. The majority of the specimens are acquired through donations or purchased for the betterment of the museum.

As of this publication, the Franklin-Sterling ore deposits have produced 359 different mineral species about 10% of all those known to man. More mineral species than anywhere else on earth, 19 of these are unique to the area, 92 of which are fluorescent.

(This information on the museum and on their displays is taken from the Franklin Mineral Museum pamphlet and I give the museum full credit for the information. Please check the website for more information about programs at the museum.)

 

 

The Paterson Museum                                             2 Market Street                                            Paterson, NJ 07501

The Paterson Museum 2 Market Street Paterson, NJ 07501

The Paterson Museum

2 Market Street

Paterson, NJ  07501

(973) 321-1260

Open: Monday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm/Sunday-Sunday 12:30pm-4:30pm

Fee: Free

http://www.thepatersonmuseum.com/

http://www.patersonmuseum.com

https://www.patersonnj.gov/department/?structureid=16

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46718-d2704664-Reviews-Paterson_Museum-Paterson_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Paterson Museum is an interesting museum of the history of the City of Paterson, NJ. The museum is broken into different sections of the City’s history. The museum discusses from the time that the Lenape Indians lived in the area to the rise of colonization and then to how it developed into the Silk City  through city planning and placement. The museum covers the history of the City of Paterson in the industrial Age as well with the rise of the Silk Industry, the Wright Airplane Factory, the Colt Revolver and the growth of the hospital industry in the City.

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Paterson Fire Department

Take time to look at the live displays of minerals, Native American artifacts, old fire department equipment and the life and times of its native son, Lou Costello.

The nice part of this museum is that the parking is free, it can be toured in about two to three hours and it is walking distance to the Paterson Falls and to Little Peru restaurants. It is also free.

The Introduction:

The Paterson Museum offers a ‘History within History’ experience. Located inside the former erecting shop if the Rogers Locomotive & Machine Works, the museum, presents a glimpse of the rich history and the many factors that gave rise to Paterson, New Jersey: “America’s First Planned Industrial City.”

From the natural wonders and the first inhabitants of the land that lay below and above the ground to the vital role Paterson played in setting of our nation’s industrial course. Through the museum’s exhibits. you’ll find out why Paterson was known for more than a century as the “Silk City.” You’ll discover that Paterson was at the forefront of locomotive, submarine and airplane engine development. And that’s just the beginning of our story. By the time you finish your visit, you will want to learn more about this city that surrounds the Great Falls.

The Exhibitions:

Paterson Residents: There are exhibitions on such celebrity natives as Lou Costello and his life after living in Paterson are shown in detail. Baseball players, football players and actors have shown against all odds and color barriers they found success in the world with Paterson being their roots.

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The Silk Industry

Silk City: The history of Paterson as ‘Silk City’ features winders, warpers and power-looms that produced beautiful fabrics. How the Falls and the location of the City of Paterson played its part in the garment industry at the turn of the last century. Not just in the silk industry but also in other companies like the Wright Aeronautical Corporation and the their time as a manufacturer in Paterson.

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The Paterson Fire Department

The Paterson Fire and Police Departments: The history and development of both the Paterson Police and Fire Departments are told through pictures, stories, uniforms and equipment through the ages. There are many turn of the last century fire trucks in the museum.

World War Exhibition: The museum has a wonderful exhibition on the history of Paterson and the role it played in the World Wars. There are all sorts of uniforms, munitions and stories to tell.

Geographical: There is a whole side exhibition of gems and minerals both native and from all over the country at the museum and a full display of native New Jersey stone formations. There is also a discussion of how the Falls played such an important role inf the development not just of the City of Paterson but of New Jersey as well.

Alexander Hamilton Exhibit: The history and life of Alexander Hamilton is told from the time he was born in the Caribbean to his coming to the United States, his marriage and his rise through the ranks of the government. There is how he helped develop the banking industry and paying of the government debts to his fall from grace and his eventual fatal duel with Aaron Burr.

Lenape Indian Culture: The Lenape Native American culture is shown how the tribes developed, lived, worked and hunted and gathered to create the society that was in place before colonization. There are all sorts of tools, displays on their regions of living, language, housing (there is a recreation of a Tee Pee here), that native wardrobe and a complete display of tools and arrow heads. It is a very detailed account of life as a Lenape Indian.

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Lenape Exhibition at the Paterson Art Museum

The museum shows the history not just of Paterson but of the surrounding areas and how growth of the City of Paterson made an impact on the region.

Sunset Beach                                                         502 Sunset Boulevard                                       Lower Township, NJ 08212

Sunset Beach 502 Sunset Boulevard Lower Township, NJ 08212

Sunset Beach

502 Sunset Boulevard

Lower Township, NJ  08212

https://www.new-jersey-leisure-guide.com/sunset-beach.html

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g3948623-d103992-Reviews-Sunset_Beach-Lower_Township_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Sunset Beach in Cape May, NJ is one of the most beautiful beaches in American and is ranked 24# on TripAdvisor as one of the breathtaking beaches to visit. The beach site in Lower Township in Cape May and is at the very end of Sunset Boulevard which is a direct run from downtown Cape May.

One both sides of the parking lot, there are gift shops and a small café grill. These have limited hours after Labor Day Weekend. The grill is closed after the holiday weekend but sometimes stays open depending on the weather after the Labor Day weekend.

The beach is amazing as you can see the pleasure boats in the distance coming in and out of the small harbor just north of the beach. Looking out into Delaware Bay is quite spectacular with its moving waves and the way it glitters in the sun. In the warmer months, it is just nice to walk along the shore and watch the birds. In the winter months, the breezes get to be too much and a short visit is nicer.

Any time of the year though, make sure to be here for sunset and that is when the beach works it beautiful natural magic. At sunset  you will see an array of colors with the sun setting in the distance. The last time I visited the beach in September, it was a combination of oranges, purples and blues as the sun set. The lower the sun the more brilliant the colors.  They become more complex as the sun gets lower.

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Sunset Beach

The best part of the view is that it is played out on the large stage. It covers the whole sky and it looks like the sun is going to sleep in the bay. You can almost touch it. Each night when the sun sets its a different color in the rainbow in the sky. The backdrop of the small stone formations and the SS Atlantus Concrete Ship make it more dramatic.

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SS Atlantus Concrete Ship

Whenever you are in Cape May, try to finish your dinner early and then watch Mother Nature work her magic by the shoreline. It is an experience that should not be missed. Please try to arrive about an hour before sunset to get a space in the parking lot.

It is the most spectacular site at anytime of the year.

Sunset Beach area:

The SS Atlantus Concrete Ship:

The SS Atlantus Concrete Ship was built and launched in 1918, just after World War I had ended as a trans-Atlantic steamer to return troops from Europe to home. After being decommissioned in 1926, she was purchased along with two other ships to create a ferry dock for ferries from Cape May to Delaware. The plans were later shelved as she ran aground in a storm along Sunset Beach and could not be freed.

Flag Lowering Ceremony:

The Evening Flag Ceremony held every night at sunset between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The lowering of the American flag at sunset is a 40 year old tradition. All of the flags that are flown at the flag ceremony are veteran’s caskets flags that families being with them from their loved one’s funeral. The ceremony includes the Pledge of Allegiance, the ‘Stat-Spangled Banner’ and a recording of Kate Smith’s ‘God Bless America”.

Cape May Diamonds:

While taking a stroll along the beach, look out for Cape May ‘Diamonds’. These are small pieces of quartz crystal found in the sand that are washed from the bay. You can find Cape May diamond jewelry in the gift stores at the beach.

(NJ Leisure Guide)

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Sunset Beach

Disclaimer: This information was taken from the NJ Leisure Guide and I give their writer full credit for it. The beach is open all year around but it is the best in the warmer months. Don’t miss this spectacular view at sunset.

Skylands Manor-New Jersey Botanical Garden      5 Morris Road                                           Ringwood, NJ 07456

Skylands Manor-New Jersey Botanical Garden 5 Morris Road Ringwood, NJ 07456

Skylands Manor-New Jersey Botanical Garden

5 Morris Road

Ringwood, NJ  07456

(973) 962-9370

http://www.ringwoodmanor.org/Victorian-Christmas.html

Open: Check website for details

Fee: Check the website for details

Note: The Skylands Manor is decorated for the holidays during the first week of December and only for one weekend as it used for a banquet facility the rest of the time and as a hotel. The first weekend of December is when local Gardening groups are assigned one room to decorate and they have one week to put it together, display their ideas and explain how they did it to the public. The best day to go is the Thursday afternoon opening as it is the quietest day of the four day event with Saturday being the busiest.

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g46774-d1140628-Reviews-The_Castle_at_Skylands_Manor-Ringwood_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

In 2018:

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Each of the eleven rooms that were decorated for the event were amazing each with their own decor, docents and gardeners and theme to the room. The Entrance Hall was elegant with its garland and potted plants, the Octagon Hall used its space wisely with a series of trees and hot house flowers. The women who decorated it had a phenomenal sense of space.

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The Teaneck Garden Club did a great job decorating the Library with an elegant Christmas Tree and vintage ornaments. Some of the gardeners also came in vintage clothing of the area.

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Each room had its own personality and was a combination of Christmas decorations and holiday plants.

In 2019:

In 2019, the decorations were not as elaborate as the previous two years. The snow storm before the event may have put a damper on a few of the groups decorating. Still the best day to visit the manor is Thursday afternoon as it is the quietest time and you can take the best pictures.

The two best rooms in the manor in 2019 were the Entrance Hall and Grand Staircase decorated by the Magnificent Seven, a group of volunteers whose theme was ‘The Secret Life of Gnomes’ and the trees and staircases were studded with gnomes, large and small, on the trees and wreathes surrounding the stairs.

The other room that was very impressive was the Center Hall whose theme was the “Enchanted Forest, full of little fairies and painted rocks and jeweled winged ornaments. When you looked at the detail work of the trees and table displays you could see the work that went into the decor. Each little fairy on the stands and trees had immense detail and took a lot of time. This display was done by the Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne, NJ.

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Skylands Manor in 2019

The rest of the rooms in the manor were really pared down from 2018 and did not have the same elaborate details to them. The Library and Study did not have half of the display items that they did in the past.

The fee to enter the home is still $10.00. The carriage house is being used for a cafe with Chicken Salad sandwiches and hot dogs with toppings. There are all sorts of crafts for sale.

Watch the calendar for 2020 in early December for the next display.

 

History of the Skylands Manor & People:

Clarence McKenzie Lewis bought Skylands in 1922 from the estate of Francis Lynde Stetson, who founded Skylands in 1891. Mr. Lewis was educated in England and Germany. While he was there, his widowed mother, Helen Forbes Lewis married William Salomon, founder of the New York banking house. Upon his return, Lewis attended Columbia University, where he received a Civil Engineering degree in 1898. In 1908, he married and bought a country place in Mahwah; it was there that Lewis became interested in horticulture.

Helen Lewis Salomon, the mother of Clarence Lewis, was widowed in 1919. Not only thereafter, she and her bereaved son agreed to a joint project; she wanted a Tudor-style showplace; he wanted plants and gardens. Mrs. Salomon worked closely with the architect on Skylands Manor but she died in 1927 before its completion.

John Russell Pope (1874-1937) “an architect born to work, in the grand style” was educated at City College, Columbia University, the American Academy in Rome and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He trained under Bruce Price, the master builder of Tuxedo Park. Pope designed many outstanding public buildings, such as the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art.

Tutor Architecture originated in England in the late Gothic period and continued to be popular into the Renaissance. It features half-timbering on the exterior, crenelated walls, large groups of rectangular windows, oriel or bay windows and intricate chimney complexes The interiors usually had large central halls, wood paneling, molded plaster ceilings and elaborately carved staircases. Tudor Revival became a popular style for the elegant country houses of wealthy Americans.

The builder of Skylands was the Elliot C. Brown Co., of New York City, which also built the country homes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at Hyde Park and E. Roland Harriman (Arden House).

Samuel Yellin (1885-1940) decorative metal designer and craftsman, who performed to call himself “the blacksmith”, fashioned the lanterns. electrical fixtures, lamps, gate, and spiral staircase rail for Skylands Manor.

Native Granite for the exterior walls of Skylands was quarried at Pierson Ridge above Emerald Pond in the eastern part of the property in Bergen County.

Mrs. Salomon purchased a collection of antique Stained Glass Medallions from an English collector. The 16th century German, Bavarian and Swiss panes were set in leaded windows by Heinegke & Smith of New York City.

Disclaimer: This information on the details of the history of Skylands Manor was taken directly from their pamphlet and I give them full credit for it. Please call the manor for times that it is open as it is used a banquet/catering facility and a B & B.