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NJ Tragedy – Duke Gardens Then and Now

News In NJ, NJ Arts, NJ Things, Places in NJ August 19, 2012

Working on today’s post I came across the following information and was extremely disheartened by what has happened to one of New Jersey’s finest treasures right here in Somerville NJ.

For many years I drove through the Duke Estates property on Dukes Parkway in Somerset County. It was a beautiful transition from the hustle & bustle of nearby towns and traffic on route 206. Every time I drove through there through there my mind would pleasantly wonder and reflect about the wonderful, beautiful and otherworldly sights that lay beyond the impressive security clad gates on the 2,700 acre estate.

To me, it was a representation of what was possible in life and one of the perks/benefits of financial success. In a way it was also a gift of inspiration to everyone anticipating what was behind the gates. So now, with all that was left behind monetarily as the Duke Foundation, I find it very depressing that one of her most significant and beautiful contributions to us is utterly destroyed.

It was a beautiful place, an expression of many years of dedication and love of nature by Doris. How could this happen… It just goes to show you the level of humanity we have reached.

Duke Gardens in Somerset County, New Jersey were among the most significant glass house collections in America. Created by Doris Duke herself, the aerial view confirms they were larger than the New York Botanical Garden’s Haupt Conservatory,[1] and were open to the public from 1964. They were closed by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation [2] on or before May 25, 2008 and dismantled.[2][3]

Read more about Duke Gardens here

Visit SaveDukeGardens.org for more updates

Please take a moment to watch both videos, before and after


Duke Gardens Then

Doris Duke spent 50 yrs. There were creating 11 classic indoor gardens. The gardens opened to public in 1964. Destroyed by Duke Foundation Board after 5/08. Some shots were taken thru broken glass and plastic in the following video.

Duke Gardens Now

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to actually visit the Duke Gardens, although it was always on my list of things to do.



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