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.


Der Geezer von Tampadorf said...

How nice to see that the tower will be restored. I lived in Smoke Rise from 1961-1971 at 280 Longmeadow Road - the first house as you turned onto Longmeadow Rd. None of the houses that now appear between Longmeadow and the gatehouse existed when I lived there. Indeed, Kinnelon is hardly recognizable to me. Save the Highschool, Kinnelon Road is really built up.

I have so many fond memories of Smoke Rise. One of my favorites occurred almost every year during the winters. We would get so much snow that the power would go out. This meant that we had no oil because the pump was electric. We had no water because the pump to the well was electric so we had to melt snow for "Necessary water", build igloos out on the porch for refrigerator purposes and camp out in the living room using the fireplace for heat!

Some years it was so bad that we couldn't make it down the hill to Butler to buy food. But, no fear: there was a little market across Rt.23 that would take orders over the phone and then bring them up the hill on a horse drawn sleigh. (I'm NOT making this up.)

All the best to those of you who remain in Smoke Rise. It's a beautiful and magical place to live and grow up.

~Mike Keach
Tampa, Florida

CB Whittemore said...

Gnadige Geezer von Tampadorf [aka Mike],

What incredible details! I can just imagine a horse drawn sled delivering food. We've been wondering what the food resources were like at the time.

And I love that you created igloo refrigerators. I've actually fantasized about those and only held back because of the ferocious raccoons, foxes and coyotes around [the bears at least are hibernating].

[BTW, my daughter and I love trick/treating at your former house.]

Thanks so much for your comment. I'd love to hear more of your stories.


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