Saturday, August 4, 2012

St. Hubert's Chapel, Garrett Orr, Smoke Rise Memories

St. Hubert's Chapel
The recent article about Support St. Hubert's Chapel in Smoke Rise has generated wonderful email messages!

Joan Semmler Oravits, who contributed an article about Growing Up in Smoke Rise (at 153 Green Hill Road), recently forwarded me photos of "some old Smoke Rise treasures" that she has had for years. They are pretty marvelous as are the details that she shares with us below.

First, Memories About Living in Smoke Rise

Joan has the following to say about Laurel Lane.

"I remember Laurel Lane. There was a wonderful lady who gave us piano lessons in the early 1960s who lived on that road. Her last name was Wycke (not sure of spelling) and she gave lessons to what seemed like then half of the Smoke Rise kids! She would hold recitals several times a year in her home, always a nerve wracking time so I remember those quite well. She was a dear lady and, unfortunately, passed away from a heart attack about 2 years after our lessons started."

About Tom Kline, Joan says,

"Did Tom have a brother named Phillip? I believe Phillip Kline (also on Ski Trail) graduated the year before I did from Kinnelon High in '68."

[FYI - Kinnelon High School is holding a 50th anniversary event on September 15th, 2012 from 7 to 11pm at the Sheraton in Mahway. Here is a link to the KHS 50th Anniversary flyer with information and to a message from Debbie Bartkowski Annaheim '77 [if the message doesn't work for you, let me know. I came across it on the Facebook Page for the KHS 50th Anniversary Gathering.]

Second, St. Hubert's Chapel Items

Joan shares two items where St. Hubert's Chapel features prominently.

First is a tile which Joan  framed. As she explains, "it shows a black/white drawing of the Chapel with "St. Hubert's Chapel, Smoke Rise, New Jersey" on the front. This belonged to my mother (Rita Semmler) and she had it for a good many years hanging in our kitchen on 153 Green Hill Rd. so it has to be from the late 1960s or early 70s. I think it must have been a Smoke Rise fund raiser item for whatever cause, possibly for the Smoke Rise Community Church."

St. Hubert's Chapel

Next is an oil painting that Joan had an artist paint of the chapel in 1977. As Joan describes,

"One of my mother's best friends in those days worked for an art gallery in Kinnelon and my mother used to have items framed there. On one visit there with my mother where we were viewing some paintings by local artists I suggested that St. Hubert's would make a wonderful subject and I would be so interested in talking to an artist who would be open to the idea of doing one. Long story short - the gallery owner must have talked to a few artists and one, Garrett Orr, agreed to do the painting for me!"

St. Hubert's Chapel by Garrett Orr

Joan continues,

"It was so long ago, but I think he must have started this painting in the winter and maybe walked across the ice at some point to take some preliminary photos for sketches. 

His first finished item had the ice all around the chapel and I felt like it did not show "water" was around it so he redid that section and broke up the ice so I could see water. He was a wonderful man and I think did a wonderful job of capturing the little chapel as it was during that time. 

I'm not sure what happened to him as I was living in New York City then and only came home on weekends to visit my parents. I did not know then how special that painting would be to me as time went on and today it hangs in a special place where I can see it every day. It is one of my favorite items and has survived through 2 major tornadoes here without a scratch!"

Thank you, Joan!

By the way, here's what I located online re: Garrett Orr:

From Outdoor Advertising Collections in the Hartman Center - Garrett Orr Papers, ca. 1890s–1994 "Orr started out as a graphic artist and went on to become the Art Director of Outdoor Advertising Incorporated (OAI) and the President of the Art Directors Club of New York. This collection documents his artistic output and includes original drawings, water colors, and paintings produced by Orr for the outdoor advertising campaigns of Gillette, Ipana, Lucky Strike, Mazola, Seagram, Verney, Viceroy, and White Rose."

If you have photos and stories you'd like to share, let me know.

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