Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kinnelon Castle aka the Untermeyer Estate

Kinnelon Castle, Untermeyer EstateHow many of you know of Kinnelon Castle - also known as the Untermeyer Estate? I came across signs of it when I first started researching Kinnelon online. A few weeks back, one of my long time readers, Damon Carmona, asked what I knew about Kinnelon Castle - not much - and shared stories from when he was a child in Kinnelon.

Damon now lives in North Carolina and is a staff pianist at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, his alma mater. He lived in Kinnelon from March '68 to June '74, first at 67 Meadow Lane between Kinnelon Road and Silas Condict, then at 11 Dean Avenue and finally at 24 Fayson Lakes Road.

What first caught his attention was when I mentioned in a post that the Butler Bowl had become the NYSC. He remembered when the Mead Farm still stood and made a pencil drawing of the Mead Barn and also a color ink drawing of the house in 1973 when he was about 12. He presented the latter to Mrs. Grace Mead at the Reformed Church on Kinnelon Road.

Of the Mead House, Damon writes "It's funny, but I can still remember the odd oval doorknobs, the "bullseye" window frames and the door which opened to a secret stairway leading to what I now suppose was a servant's room. The house had many rambling additions. It once had yellow siding, white trim and dark green shutters. That is how I drew it, as if restored."

Of his years in Kinnelon, Damon writes: "Kinnelon was such a wonderful place to grow up in those years. Today, I occasionally find teens on MySpace who complain that they are terribly bored there, but as a 7 to 13-year-old it was magical."

Here's what Damon shares about Kinnelon Castle or "The Gate", the abandoned remains of the Untermeyer estate.


The former Untermeyer property is indeed off Boonton Avenue, on Saw Mill Road. Follow Saw Mill Road until you see a lake on your right, and possibly two "Dead End" signs.

"Kinnelon Castle" was located directly across the street up the hill hidden in the brush. It was at the end of a long driveway guarded by ornate iron gates. I was there at least three times within five years of the 1968 fire that gutted the house, in 1973 and '74. I lived at 24 Fayson Lakes Rd. in those years. It wasn't until this past week that I thought to research the place online. I was actually surprised by the amount of information on a misty remembrance of what I'd assumed had become an obscure, forgotten place. A place that has haunted me all these years.

What none of the "urban exploration" sites mention, since I was there long before them, is that a three or perhaps four-story observation (perhaps also fire) tower was located just up the hill to the left-side rear of the house. It was of frame construction and sheathed in old-fashioned diamond-shaped asphalt shingles. Gray as I recall. The lower floors had dormers which had contained wooden, double-hung windows and the top floor, accessible by a metal spiral staircase, had wall-to-wall metal casement windows. The flooring was the same black & white checked pattern found elsewhere in the ruins, and still seen in several recent photographs The entire structure was obelisk-shaped until the top floor and had a prairie style, pyramid roof.

I explored this spot with a band of friends in defiance of the many "No Trespassing" signs. It was a legendary spot for latchkey suburban kids with little else to do for adventure in Kinnelon. It was also a party spot for older kids and, shortly after my second visit, the tower had fallen victim to arson and collapsed.

The view was remarkable. Miles of rolling, yet-to-be-developed wooded hillsides. Today the property is surrounded by the million-dollar estates of a new generation. At the time, there was only one homestead atop Graceview Drive, the home of my friends, the Watts family. The Untermeyer tower was visible in the distance from their back deck. Since then the Watts house has had more additions than an 1820s farmhouse and is surrounded today by palatial estates. The Watts kids, Kim and Tim, were likely among my companions.

The sad news of the last five years is that the ruins of the "castle" were not preserved, nor used in the construction of a new home on the site and were destroyed by the owner.

Here are links to the sites I found about Kinnelon Castle:
+ Abandoned But Not Forgotten: Kinnelon Castle
+ Lost Destinations: Kinnelon Castle - with good pictures of what I remember, sans tower of course.


Thank you, Damon!

Do you have memories of Kinnelon Castle?

To further inspire you, I uncovered a few additional resources:
+ The Unquiet Tomb: Untermeyer Mansion [photos]
+ And description of Untermeyer Mansion
+ Weird NJ: Exploring The Gate
+ On Flickr: Untermeyer Mansion [a slide show]
+ Untermeyer Castle [also a slide show]

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Next MCPC Hike: March 6, 2010 in Randolph

Save The Date! March 6, 2010 is the next Morris County Park Commission Hike-a-Park-a-Month. Destination: Randolph Township.

Here are the specifics:

Saturday March 6, 2010 for a 9AM start.

Randolph Township Trails (Meeting at Township Hall, 502 Millbrook Ave)

We’ll hike about 5-6 miles of trails on the Randolph system including some parts of MCPC James Andrew Park.

It’s relatively gentle rolling paths with a few uphills.

Route 10 to Millbrook Ave light (First light west of Kmart shopping Center). Stay right and use jug handle for left turn on to Millbrook.

Go about 3 miles to Town Hall on left opposite Randolph High School.

OR---- Sussex Turnpike from Morristown to light in Mt Freedom, right on Millbrook for 1 mile, town hall on right.

BRING: Water, good boots (weather depending on crampons etc) and a snack.

More details to come when you sign up.

To sign up, please contact Tom Edmunds via email:

Here is a link to Randolph's Trail System with maps.

See you then!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sad News About Nicole Ramsden

Nicole Nikki RamsdenYou may already have heard the very sad news that Nicole "Nikki" Ramsden died on Monday, February 22nd, 2010.

Here is the link to her Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home obituary. It includes a guest book and details on the funeral.

Also visit Nikki's Blog with a message from Mary Ramsden.

Finally, the Pearl R. Miller Principal Blog published a post titled Remembering Nicole Ramsden which includes a link for grief counseling for the friends of Nikki.

Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to Nikki's family and friends.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Didja Know? The Smoke Rise Tower

Didja Know?The two recent stories about the Smoke Rise Tower - The Smoke Rise Tower on Kitty Ann Mountain and Tower Tales: Smoke Rise to Honor Founder - reminded me that Cornie Hubner had written one, too, in his Didja Know? series. As with his other stories, you'll note several creative touches...

The Smoke Rise Tower

Kitty Anne Tower was built with the same granite used in the Brooklyn Bridge, quarried in Riverdale. It is 80' high and stands on the highest point in Smoke Rise 1156' above sea level. Designed and supervised by the estate superintendent, Joe Sisco, in 1904 with local labor, it became a star attraction for favored guests and neighbors.

Woman by Smoke Rise TowerGuests were transported in regally appointed carriages, by liveried coachmen, much like landed European Gentry, to gourmet meals served at the summit. The vista of undulating unending emerald green forest, dotted with sparkling blue lakes and ponds, so close to the big city, amazed the most blase guest. Conversation often turned to the story of the hermit for whom the hill was named.

Kitty Ann was the educated world traveler, plain 24 year "old maid" heiress to a fabulous fortune. Ignoring the warnings of parents and friends she became engaged and was jilted at the altar by her suave, dastardly, perfidious, bigamous fortune hunting nobleman lover (described as in the "penny dreadfuls" of the day). Unable to face her ignominious future, she disappeared. Months later, fearing recognition, she abandoned her fatherless son, fled the hovel of the kind Jackson Whites who had sheltered her and began her hermit existence on our mountain. Variations of the story have been told agreeing only that she vanished, never more to be heard of, when the Kinney family arrived in 1880.

[Note the young woman standing at the base of this early Smoke Rise Tower photo above. Might she be Kitty Ann?]

Smoke Rise Fire TowerThe Tower was a wonder from the time the oxen hauled loads of granite inched their ways painfully to the summit, until the fabulous circular iron stairway was installed. Local workers became experienced masons while earning generous "hard money" wages available otherwise only in the smelly Rubber or dangerous Powder works. One old timer proudly proclaimed he would always know "where to get money" as he had sealed five pennies in the foundation.

When completed, the Lord of the Manor offered this vantage point to the Forest Service and regular patrols, increasing to 24 hour manning, when tinder dry conditions required, provided protection as far as High Point. Its value was proven many times especially in the 30s when a seven mile fire extending from Echo Lake to Split Rock lasting two weeks, required several hundred fire fighters, directed from this command point. Again in '55 when supplies and over 2500 workers directed from the Tower spent a week extinguishing a blase that threatened the whole north end of Smoke Rise.

[Note the structure at the top of the Smoke Rise Tower in the photo above. It would have protected patrols and spotters from the elements.]

Family at top of Smoke Rise TowerDuring World War II, it was manned 24 hours daily by members of the Airplane Spotters volunteers from area towns. Because of its importance, it was regularly checked by the military to assure its full staffing. An envied assignment in sunshine and fair weather, the blasting winds and frigid winter assignments were acts of Patriotism.

Infrequently used in the late '20s, several steps were removed about 10 or 12 feet from the floor, to discourage venturesome locals from further ascents. This provided a challenge the local youths soon mastered, but the rapidly rusting staircase offered a safety hazard that prompted the sealing of the entrance in the mid '50s. Until some Club activity can provide a safe, entertaining use, it will continue only as a landmark for all and special beacon for planes.

[Note: the photo of this family looks to have been taken in the 30s or 40s which means that the steps would have been passable...]

NOTE: The images above are courtesy of Tom Kline. They cannot be used or reproduced without permission and attribution.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kinnelon After School Enrichment (KASE) Program

Kinnelon After School Enrichment Program - KASEAre you familiar with KASE, the Kinnelon After School Enrichment Program?

I wasn't totally until Carol Sventy - who instructs World of Computers for KASE, is a member of the Kinnelon Environmental Commission, Registrar for Kinnelon Library's CLL [Center for Lifelong Learning] and a few other activities - suggested that I contact Linda Russell that I started to put the pieces together.

[By the way, Carol and I intend to meet in the very near future. There's lots I want to learn from her and share with you here.]

Linda Russell is supervisor for the KASE program. I've not yet made direct contact with Linda. She's right in the thick of things with KASE as it is registration time for the Spring 2010 KASE program which begins March 1, 2010. But, I look forward to doing so.

In the meantime, here's what I've gleaned from the Kinnelon After School Enrichment Program site.

Did you know that the KASE program was started as a Saturday program by Eileen Gelenter, resident storyteller and recent Kinnelon Library poetry contest judge? It is a tuition based, after school program for residents of Kinnelon, NJ.
Don't wait to check out the KASE Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

If you'd like to share your experiences with the Kinnelon After School Enrichment Program, please do let me know. Something tells me this is a very special Kinnelon resource.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Favorite Shrimp and Pasta Recipe

Shrimp & Capellini in Bowl by Ted WhittemoreThe days are getting longer and, often, brighter which leads me to crave lighter, more spring-like food -- but still with some of the impact of heartier winter fare -- like the following recipe for Lemon Shrimp Scampi and Capellini, which comes together fairly quickly and tastes unbelievably great, if I do say so myself.

This recipe is a collision of several shrimp and pasta recipes I've run into in the past several years, and I've taken a little from one and some from the others -- can't claim anything as original -- but my tongue doesn't care.

Also, the recipe takes advantage of the fact that we have access at BJ's and Pathmark to some pretty cheap and very good quality frozen shrimp in 2lb bags, just the right size for this recipe. Depending on the sale or price at the time, I have paid between $12 and $16 for approx 25 count per lb 2 lb bags under the America's Choice (A&P) label at Pathmark or various other brands at BJ's.

Ted's Scampi Capellini:

1 lb dried Capellini
2 lbs U25 approx frozen shrimp, peeled and patted dry
reserved shells of the shrimp
1/2 sweet onion diced
1/2 TSP Salt, preferably sea salt
Juice and Zest of 1 large lemon
6 cloves garlic crushed and pressed
5 green scallions, cleaned and finely sliced
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 cup reserved pasta water
1 cup med. dry white wine, preferably sauvignon blanc
2 cups finely chopped flat leaf parsley
freshly ground pepper or pepper mix to taste
1/4 cup or to taste extra virgin olive oil
5 TBS Salted Butter

Optional: Red Pepper Flakes to taste (add to marinade)

Emma with Shrimp, Capellini & BowlCapellini only takes 2 minutes to cook, so watch carefully and get it out of the boiling salted water you've cooked it in and into a collander quickly, transfer it to a pasta serving bowl, then immediately toss with several tablespoons of olive oil to keep it from sticking together.

Mix the lemon, lemon zest, salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil, and toss with the well-patted-dry shrimp. Reserve.

Add the shrimp shells and diced onion to a pot with water to cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain liquid, discard solids, and reduce to 1 cup.

Reserving the marinade, saute shrimp in hot non-stick pan for 3 minutes or so until just barely cooked, stirring once to cook the other side right before removing from pan. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.

Simmer marinade in shrimp saute pan for 2 minutes, then add 1 cup white wine, and reduce by 1/2. Add the 1 cup shrimp stock and 1 cup pasta water and reduce volume to 3/4 cup or a little more. Add sliced scallions and saute on medium heat for 1 minute.

Add 5 TBS salted butter in 1 TBS pats to pan off the heat and stir to combine with sauce.

Add parsley and stir, then add pasta and shrimp to pan and toss to combine and reheat. Return pasta and shrimp to bowl and serve. If it's still not hot enough, you can nuke it covered for a minute or 2.

Reheats nicely, unlike many pastas, although the pasta tends to break.

Goes nicely with an arugala and spinach salad with a lemon/white balsamic vinaigrette.

Buon appetito!


Credits: Bowl, Lemon Shrimp Scampi & Capellini, and photos by Ted Whittemore

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tower Tales: Smoke Rise to Honor Founder

Newark Evening News: Smoke Rise to Honor FounderMany thanks to Tom Kline for sharing this article about the Smoke Rise Tower. This is the short-lived news he referred to in The Smoke Rise Tower on Kitty Ann Mountain. Can you spot any inaccuracies?

From the Newark Evening News, Thursday, January 9, 1964

Smoke Rise to Honor Founder

Restoring Tower for Talbot

by Richard Reeves, Staff Correspondent

Kinnelon - A neglected 60-year-old observation tower on Kitty Ann Mountain will be restored by residents of Smoke Rise in memory of John Alden Talbot Sr., founder of the exclusive residential community.

The skyline of Manhattan and other sights within a 40-mile radius will be visible from the 80-foot high tower on the 1,156-foot peak when the restoration is completed in the summer.

The tower was built in 1904 by Morris Kinney to survey his 5,000 acre estate, which is now a restricted residential area of 450 homes in the $40,000 to $230,000 price range. Talbot, who inherited the estate after Kinney's death in 1945, planned the development of the unique community from 1947 until his own death on Christmas Day 1962.

Smoke Rise Tower

WW II Lookout

A major phase of the restoration project will be the construction of iron stairs to the top of the structure. The tower's original stairs rusted away after World War II, when it was used as an aircraft observation post. It also was used by the state forest fire service.

The tower, 15 feet square at the base, was built with stone quarried from the site.

The board of trustees of the Smoke Rise Club, composed of the 1,500 residents of the area, initiated the project to honor Mr. Talbot. Work on the tower is scheduled to begin this spring, according to John Alden Talbot Jr., president of the board and a son of Mr. Talbot.

The Kinney estate dates back to 1884, when Francis Kinney, a pioneer in the tobacco industry, built a huge "summer cottage" here. His son, Morris Kinney, for whom the borough of Kinnelon was named 41 years ago, lived most of his life on the estate.

The younger Kinney left the estate to Talbot Sr., a longtime friend and former mayor of the borough. Talbot was a founder of Chilton Memorial Hospital, Pompton Plains. He was a patron of the arts and was credited with the revival of ballet as a major art form in the United States in the 1930s.

Alden Descendant

Talbot was a direct descendant of John Alden and a member of the family of two American presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

When friends asked to purchase land on the estate to build homes, Talbot decided to develop a planned community designed primarily to serve New York corporation executives.

Smoke Rise Tower detailSmoke Rise was the result in 1948. The name is a translation of the Pequannock Indian name for the mountainous area, where a heavy mist often rises at sunset.

The community, located entirely in Kinnelon, is administered by the club, which must approve all residents and their building plans.

Inside the community which can be entered only through two locked gates, are 30 miles of road, three lakes, two churches, a general store, inn and recreation facilities. Smoke Rise provides its own police and fire protection.


Thanks, Tom!

Note in the photos the large erratic that both Tom and Herb in the Early Days of Smoke Rise mentioned. Also observe the state of the tower crenellations.

I have one more Tower related article to share with you....

NOTE: The images above are courtesy of Tom Kline. They cannot be used or reproduced without permission and attribution.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Early Days of Smoke Rise

Herbert O. Fisher, Jr., age 6 in Caldwell, NJHave you wondered what Smoke Rise was like in the early days of its development? You're about to find out from Herb Fisher, Jr., formerly of 628 Mountain Road in Smoke Rise. He is pictured here at age 6 when his Smoke Rise story begins.


My name is Herb Fisher, Jr. I read Tom Kline's essay concerning the Smoke Rise Tower and I would like to add, plus more. My parents built a house at 628 Mountain Road in the mid 1950s. They lived there from 1955 until I found it necessary to move my Mom in 1996 to where we live in Texas. My Dad died in 1990. Fishers, forty one years in Smoke Rise.

My father was Herbert O. Fisher, Chief Test Pilot for the Curtiss Wright Corporation beginning in 1939. After the war he was assigned to the Propeller Division at Caldwell Wright Airport (now called Essex County Airport/KCDW), NJ. He left Curtiss in about 1952 to become Special Assistant to Aviation Development for the Port of New York Authority (at that time New Jersey was not included).

In early 1954, I was at the tender age of six and my world revolved around 23 Birkendene Road in Caldwell. Unknown to me, in the Spring of that year my parents purchased 1.5 acres (less than $6000/acre...hmmm big bucks back then, today a garage sale/chump change), just past the summit of Kitty Ann Mountain, on the east side. Late that summer they informed me we would be moving and wanted me to see where our brand new house would be located.

Initially, I was NOT a happy little boy. My Dad in our 1954 Cadillac headed north on this Route #23. We passed places like Dan's Steak House on the first traffic circle, some Hoffman (I think) furniture store on the second circle and the final circle ended on a long uphill climb. Places like a Sun Tan Lake passed my view and seemed very odd. We continued on Rt.23 and then finally turned back around. As we exited and I looked forward from the back seat with my grand mother Mitzi/Nana, there was some type of stone gatehouse with a gate keeper named Ole Abe....geez to me he looked like a 100 year old giant. To the right was another much larger structure with the same stones, several parking spaces and windows. I was told John Walker, a salesman, worked there.

628 Mountain Road, Smoke RiseWe entered and it seemed like every road went uphill, forests of trees, a creek every so often and very few houses. My wide eyes were staring in disbelief through the open window. We finally turned onto Mountain Road. The pavement continued up this mountain until an intersection. A carriage trail (that's what they were called) led off to the right into the deep forest (that would become Ridge Road). We were now on a dirt road and still climbing. As we began to reach the summit a house was being built to the left; it was the Smythes (to Tom Kline it was the Hunts.....Ralph Hunt was a piece of work and I do not believe that life saving story). At the Smythe's house, the dirt road ended and we continued on a carriage trail. At the summit, much like Tom's photo, was a stone Tower that reached to the sky and was surrounded by trees. Now my little mind was wondering...what kind of fairy tale place is this?

We passed the Tower and drove a little ways on and stopped. Portions of that carriage trail are still visible today just to the right of Mountain Road. We trekked through the woods, to the left. All I could see were waist high sticks in the ground with a string outlining where the house was to be built, by two Swede contractors named Olsen and Jacobson. My Dad said, this is where our new house will be. My mind was blurred, rocks, trees, kricks, castles...WHAT! He turned the car around, showed me the lake, a beach, green row-boats that belonged to the Smoke Rise Club, and Sailfish sail boats and pointed to Chapel Island, then Hoot Owl Pond, the stone Inn (which we stayed at upstairs for several weeks before moving into a stone house on East Shore Drive awaiting our house to be completed).

After this drive my attitude about moving changed......"I think this place will work out very nicely". I remember spending midnight New Years Eve 1954 changing to1955 in our unfinished house, standing on the plywood floor, without heat for about an hour. They wanted to spend that midnight, in their new house.

The Tower, early Smoke RiseBack in the mid to late 50s Smoke Rise was a wilderness. There was nothing around the lake except Talbot's mansion, there was nothing between the Lake and Split Rock Reservoir except New Pond and carriage trails. Ridge Road did not exist until the Rohrers began building followed by the Johnsons and Ericksons, and there was no Hilltop Road, just forests. We could camp/raise hell across the Lake or out by New Pond or on a high cliff over looking Split Rock Res. There was nobody around for a mile or more, just crickets, critters and fireflies.

Let me comment about Tom's reference to the Peabody's bomb shelter. Shortly after we moved in, the Orbans built that house. Kurt and his wife had two children. Robin who was my age and Bob who was a couple of years older. The shelter was not original with the house. Initially, it was a dirt floor cavity under their porch that could be accessed through a portal in their basement. Robin, Bob, myself and a fellow named Randy Arendt (his Dad built a house below mine on the end of Mountain Road Terrace) and John Phillip Smythe formed the Zacherley Fan Club. Zacherley was a scary fellow on WABC TV who showed 1940s horror movies late on Friday nights. We had candles, a hanging manikin, bottles with colored was our clubhouse. As the 60s unfolded, the Orbans built that bomb shelter....back then with the Cold War, it was the status symbol of the day.

Early Smoke Rise - WinterTom made reference to an old split rail fence that circled the Tower. Our challenge when it was new, was to walk the top rail all the way around the Tower. We spent 100s of hours attempting that task. We all finally made it after numerous cuts, falls and bruises, indignities and laughter.

We would use chalk and make roadways on our parents' driveways for our bicycles. Randy had a make believe gas station, I sold cola and Yoo-Hoo, and Robin had a store with Cambell's soup and after shave lotion. Bob printed Tower Bucks and we bought and sold in...... TOWER TOWN.

I know the rock that Tom is talking about to the west. I spent many hours there. If I was a gazillionaire I would buy that house and tear it down. Restore the area to original.

We played baseball at the Tower using the purple pudding stone as a backstop.

Yes, there were numerous late night parking activities. I would, at 17 or 18, walk down to 628 and sneak a six pack of Herb's beer from the basement bar, bring it back and be an ambassador of promoting very friendly relationships.

I climbed the rusty beams/stairs dozens of time with friends and the view is spectacular. And I will confirm Tom's statement.....clearly you could see the NYC skyline from pudding stone rock back then. Also, Tom, I will confirm that it was possible 45 or so years ago to see the Monument at High Point. On a crisp clear day with Herb's binoculars and with a steady hand or tripod, it was visible from the top of the Tower. We all agree, the New York skyline to the southeast at about 30 miles, looking to the north for about the same distance was also possible, just a smaller target.

Early Smoke Rise - ConstructionJenny is our daughter and my best friend is her God Father. Back then his dad, on textile business, would travel to South Carolina and bring us back cherry bombs, and other high explosive fireworks. We would throw them in the Tower for a great hollow thud or indiscriminately throw them around/they also worked underwater.

Speaking of high explosives let me comment on a fellow named Walt Uzinowitz (sp). He lived in Kinnelon, I think by the old firehouse and the original Kiel Avenue School. He had the contract to dynamite/blast the way through the granite to ultimately create Mountain Road. It must be understood Mountain Road ended at our property line. The carriage trail continued with nothing but stone outcrops and trees. I would sit out there (Emily and Nana keeping their eye on me) and watch him drill blasting holes, in the rock, load up with explosives, push the plunger down and WHAM!!!!! One day he asked Emily if she would allow me to push the plunger. PLEASE PLEASE Mother!!!! It was a very hesitant "okay". For a seven year old kid that was truly a BLAST. He let me do it dozens of times as the road progressed down the back side of Kitty Ann Mountain. There was also a road contractor that would park his huge bulldozer in front of our house, he told me to keep an eye on it overnight. I cannot remember his name, but he would let me sit next to him as we pushed huge boulders, mowed down trees, and repositioned dirt. At the end of the workday, Emily would always reward all these fellows and their workers with cold beer or in cooler weather coffee, hot chocolate and cookies.

I won first place in a Smoke Rise fishing contest, two pound pickerel, and could choose $20.00 worth of stuff from a sporting goods store in Pompton Lakes. In the 50s, 20 bucks was great. With my Sailfish I have several trophies from races on the Lake. A fellow named John Maginheimer (sp) was impossible to beat. Ray Edwards (Edwards Engineering) and Scott Allen (Bronze Medal winner Winter Olympics, skating) were also bad news competitors.

Also Tom mentioned fast cars around the Tower. Ask his older brother, Phil, about my green 68 GTO.

Driving by 628 Mountain RoadIn the winter under just the right conditions, we would jump on our sleds at the Tower, rocket past my house, past the Swett's curve, past the Joseph's, with enough generated speed cruise on the flats, then all the way down the huge "Curlin's Hill". Take a car and follow what I just described... it was unreal.

I could keep going but I will stop here.....maybe more to follow later, if this is of interest. The Tower will always be a symbol/memory of my childhood. I read some of the blog posts about ice fishing or walking to the chapel or hiking and it is very clear......although Smoke Rise is much different today, the magic is still there. As the cliche goes,"I have been there and done that". I have lived in Texas since 73, with my wife of 37 years, we have raised a terrific Texan daughter, who married a terrific Texan fellow, and will give us a terrific Texan grand daughter in March.......BUT Smoke Rise will always always be MY HOME.

Herbert O. and Emily FisherThis color picture is of my Mom and Dad. They are now both gone. Both cremated and in a niche together at the Catholic church outside the East Gate of SR, on the reservoir. I sent that just so you could see what my parents looked like. That is one of my favorite pictures of them. Always went first class, always ready for good times. They were the founders of "tailgate parties".

The picture was taken at the VIP parking lot at the Indianapolis 500 somewhere in the later 60s. My father was good friends with Tony Hulman who owned the Speedway and we always stayed at Roscoe and Donna Turner's house in Indianapolis. Roscoe was a famous winner of air races in the 30s.......very interesting character.

My father learned to fly in Indianapolis in about 1928.

Emily (my Mom) and Mildred Rohrer played bridge together back in Caldwell/Essex Fells way before I was born. We moved to SR, Mildred and Harry came up for a drink and fell in love with the place. They built on Ridge Road as I mentioned. That's how Jimmy and I became good friends.

So there ya go, another little slice of Smoke Rise history. You have any questions about back then, just ask.


Thank you, Herb, for this amazing picture of early Smoke Rise! You are always welcome to share more here.

NOTE: The images above are courtesy of Herbert O. Fisher, Jr. They cannot be used or reproduced without permission and attribution.
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