Saturday, January 21, 2012

Kinnelon's Untermeyer Estate Before 287

Stairwell 2
Photo taken 2007. For additional perspective, read the
comments on Stairwell 2 on Flickr

In October 2011, I received an email from Tom Cerullo who, after reading Kinnelon Castle aka the Untermeyer Estate shared with me his memories of that property based on hiking in the days before 287 existed.

Tom writes,

Hi Christine,

In your article you said that the estate was torn down and carted off. I'm not sure it was 1968 that the home burned because I was in the tower that year and it was still up until, I want to say, 1978-ish. The home had charred boards, but the glass hot houses still had flowers in them and the field in front of it still had ornamental bushes and flowers growing there. The driveway was pitted badly in 3 to 5 foot sections. The boat house was occupied by the caretakers.

I hiked from Lincoln Park up to the Untermeyer Estate 3 or four times. I used to park my car at the end of Mountain Ave. in Pompton Plains and hike up about once a year until 287 was completed and it cut my hiking paths out. It wasn't the same. I hiked those mountains with my buddy and my two dogs for 25 years. 3 times a week for the first 10. Then once a week after that and we occasionally would walk to the estate. After 287 we hiked in Jefferson and Silas Condit.

Thanks for the article. I wanted to show my friends up here in CNY the places I used to hike.

In a followup message, Tom added:

The rumors at that time, in the early 70s, were that someone was murdered there, it had been a speakeasy and the ghost of a little girl was haunting the home. Glad you set it straight as to who owned it. 

There were two hot houses perpendicular to the home off to the left of the west side driveway. Beautiful flowers outside in the field in front of them, and some inside. It looked like it was not used in a long time. The field of flowers was about 1/2 acre. The stone walled path led up to the home past the drive. It must have been beautiful. 

 There was a root cellar carved into the mountain next to the house with a thick wooden door with a circular top. (There were mason jars inside. Also mason jars in the basement.) There was a cistern well NE of the house. And of course the tower.


Thanks, Tom! I can just imagine hot house flowers growing and love that you found a root cellar carved into the mountain... Kinnelon must have been quite different before 287 was built.

What do you remember about the days before 287? What was Kinnelon like?

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