As each year passes, I find I am more fascinated by those passing years, than I am by the present. I want to know the stories of that which came before me. What was – had a profound affect on what is – and how I understand that influences the choices I make affecting what will be in the future.
My hometown celebrates its sesquicentennial of 150 years this weekend with four days of events beginning tonight. As an active member of the Friends of Historic Vineland, I coordinated a vintage photo exhibit at our Vineland Public Library titled, Landscapes of Vineland History – longer post on this with lots of pictures later. The photo exhibit is a project I’ve been coordinating for over a year, planning and refining the vision for it, and involving the community at large. People were encouraged to submit enlarged copies of old family photos that were of “historic and unique value” to Vineland history.
Here’s one of the photos I submitted:
Here you see a 1940’s era shot of my mom, Connie (far left), next to her sister, Anne, and mother, Anna. Two distant relatives we can’t identify come next, with my mom’s brother, Paul at the far right.
They are touring one of Vineland’s oddest claims to fame – the Palace Depression – built by hand by an eccentric former gold prospector named George Daynor, who bought his land sight unseen – for about $4 only to find it to be an old junk yard of automobiles and garbage on a swamp. Click on the above link for an informational article and fascinating video on the Palace.
Being the 1930’s depression era, he was undaunted, and chose to build with what he had and live off the land – hopeful with what was at hand – rather than hopeless in what was not. He used all the junk – old bricks, stone, mud, auto parts, and garbage, and built something from nothing! The most amazing house arose from the rubble on his land during the depression years. A Palace of Depression! Then, he opened it for tours. Here he is in a vintage postcard shot standing in front of his pride and joy of the day:
It was so unique it became world famous. Tours ended when he eventually lost all his money by the late 1950’s – and got in trouble with the FBI. He was an old man in his nineties by then, and ended up doing a year in jail charged with fraud. During this time and after his death in 1964, the Palace fell to vandals, fire, and was eventually razed by the city in the late 1960’s.
Currently, the Palace is being rebuilt on it’s original site exactly as Daynor built it – plenty of documentation remains to accomplish the reconstruction. Amazingly, in just another couple of years, the Palace will once again be open to visitors – including an added museum building on the site with more artifacts and details about our hometown history.
So, my Simple Pleasure this week is the joy of remembering bygone times, hearing a good story, and sharing an old gem from my family photo archives in a stroll down memory lane. I expect to be enjoying this Simple Pleasure throughout the weekend – extended blog on the subject coming next week!
But, for today, I’m sharing this Simple Pleasure with Dayle at A Collection of This and That