Friday, September 18, 2009

Francis S. Kinney's Boathouse & Bathhouse

Francis S. Kinney BoathouseMore details have emerged relating to Francis S. Kinney's Bathhouse and even his Boathouse, which did exist as you can see from this picture. We recently met with Tom Kline and John Connelly to get the lowdown on these vital details. In the process, Tom shared photos and both shared stories.

First some facts:

+ Both structures appear on a 1904 map of Francis S. Kinney's estate.

+ Both were wooden structures which means that neither has a "date stone" indicating exact building dates.

We do know that Kinney started using St. Hubert's Chapel in 1889 and had to have a means of getting people to the church on time. In other words, he needed boats - most probably an armada of wooden row boats and canoes - and a place for storing them. Hence, a Boathouse.

Extrapolating from that puts the construction date of the Boathouse and also the Bathhouse at circa 1890.

Francis S. Kinney bathhouseTom Kline believes that the Boathouse must have disappeared long ago. It was located in an obscure location and none of the more recent (i.e., 1930s to 1950s) photographs show it. Despite examining the area very carefully, he has found no trace of a foundation or anything else.

Most likely, he thinks it was taken down at about the time (1934) that the original Kinney mansion was disassembled and rebuilt into the present day "Cotswolds." (Talbot Home)

Moving on to the Bathhouse.

Tom and I had a fierce email exchange over the Bathhouse. I just couldn't in my mind figure out how it could have fit so close to the Lake Kinnelon spillway and dam, let alone include a pool. As you can see from the second photo, the Bathhouse wasn't built on Lake Kinnelon, but rather next to it. Do you see that roofline to the left of the dam? That's the Bathhouse!

Here's how Tom describes our Bathhouse:

The bathhouse was a wooden structure that sat on the left side of the dam as viewed from the lake (cottage side). It was on the downstream side of and directly under the dam. The roof of the structure peeped out above the dam and was visible from the water. The foundation for the structure on the brook side (the brook being the water that came over the dam) was a massive stone wall that went all the way to the bottom of the dam. The water flowing over the dam would brush against this wall as the water found its way down the brook, heading towards the stable.

[Note: I think that's the carriage house/stable building that you can see through the trees in the photo above.]

Kinnelon bathhouseIt was a wooden structure that measured approximately 28 wide and about 40-45 feet long. A set of stone stairs lead from the lawn down to the structure. As you entered, the first part had a wooden floor. Inside, on the left (the side closest to the cottage) were 8 changing rooms, completely paneled with stained wainscoting. The beams coming down from the ceiling had decorative carvings on the ends.

On the brook side of the structure was an indoor swimming pool, cast in concrete, with a ceramic tile lining. The indoor pool measured approximately 12 feet wide by about 30 feet long. the pool itself was about 4-8 feet deep and tapered to the back of the building (stable side).

A small gangway, also in concrete ran the length of the building and acted as a hallway that separated the changing rooms from the pool area. I recall that the changing rooms had windows, complete with glass. The wooden wall that was on the brook side had already collapsed by the time I got around to seeing this, so I am unsure what type of openings were in it to allow light in. On the dam side of the structure there was a set of double doors that opened towards the lake. The exterior of the structure was covered in cedar shingles and the roof was of wooden shingles also.

In third photo, you can ever so slightly see the Bathhouse roofline to the center left of the image, above the water line and nestled amidst the trees.

Tom further explains:

Getting to the ChapelAt one point, later in the building's life, a wooden structured deck was installed above the pool and the roof reinforced - probably in the 1930s when Cotswold was created.
It was on this deck that two skiraffs were stored. The skiraffs were long, thin boats that Morris Kinney brought to Smoke Rise from Pakistan in 1937. They were used for the first "community" services at St. Hubert's Chapel in the early 50s. [Note picture of boats headed toward the Chapel.]

The Bathhouse was finally taken down in the late 1980s. At that point, the structure was severely rotted from the extreme moisture of water falling over the dam. It was too far gone to be salvaged.

In my next post, I'll share information relating to the previously mentioned Ram Pump which did NOT power the Bathhouse....

Remember, though, all of this was and continues to be on private property!

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Michael Moody said...

I remember seeing those long boats when I lived on the property ('49 - '74). They were, by then, rotten and unusable. I was told that the wood used was teak. Even in their decaying state, they were impressive.

CB Whittemore said...

Wow! What wonderful detail! Thanks for sharing. Do you ever get back to Smoke Rise and Kinnelon to visit?


Michael Moody said...

Yes, I occasionally get back, but it pains me to see the condition of some of the places I remember with fondness. The Greenhouse on Talbot's property brings tears to my eyes.

CB Whittemore said...

Michael, I can imagine that. I have fantasized about the Kinnelon Community Garden annexing the greenhouses to create animal-proof growing space to the borough...

Thanks for sharing your memories.


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