Parking passes are required on Saturdays. The Orientation Center and Cafe are open Thursdays – Saturdays. Trails and bike rentals open Tuesdays – Saturdays. The property is closed to the public on Sundays and Mondays.

Duke Farms
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Postcards from the Past Series 6-10

In this series, participants will visit the past while developing an understanding of the present by comparing postcards of "Duke's Park" from the early 1900s to current views of the same location at Duke Farms. 

Written by:


Jan 1, 2023


In this series, participants will visit the past while developing an understanding of the present by comparing postcards of "Duke's Park" from the early 1900s to current views of the same location at Duke Farms. 


James Buchanan Duke, amassing his fortune in tobacco and hydro-electric power, arrived on the banks of the Raritan River in 1893. He bought farms, mostly from early Dutch settlers, who had removed early growth while introducing many non-native plants to the area. J.B. Duke wished to emulate the European gardens and parks he encountered on his travels and desired to create his own park in Hillsborough, NJ. With manicured lawns, a variety of native and non-native plants, in addition to many structures and statues inspired by his ventures, he opened “Duke's Park” to the public in the early 1900s.

The Challenge

Over the next few weeks, we will present scenes from these early postcards of Duke Farms partnered with a current photograph of the same site.

  • Can you identify the specific differences between the view from a historic postcard and a current photo of the same area?
  • Can visitors, who have previously visited the property recognize the location? Or, if you are new to Duke Farms, we encourage you to explore our website or app for clues.  
  • If this activity inspired you to further explore how our recent initiatives improve the environment while maintaining the integrity of the past, click here
  • There are a series of questions under the pair of photos. 
  • The answers for each week will be posted under the following week.

Week 6

  1. What is this pool called?
  2. What is missing from the postcard to the present-day view?
  3. What is the center fountain called?
  4. Extra Credit: Where does the water come from that feeds this pool?

Week 7

  1. Which path is this well house located?
  2. How many other foot paths will lead one to this well?
  3. This well house is located near which Duke Farm entrance?

a) East gate  b) North gate  c) Eagle gate  d) South gate

4. Extra Credit: This well makes excellent use the arch in its construction. Which ancient peoples invented the arch? (Hint: They inhabited present day Italy.)

Week 8

  1. Where can you find these statues today?
  2. This “parterre” garden was originally located on which present day path?
  3. What are the central three statues called?
  4. Which European country inspired the original landscape design?
  5. Bonus:  The term “parterre” can best be described in what way?

Week 9

  1. On which “main” path is this structure located?
  2. What is this structure called?
  3. Name two recent additions/renovations to this building?
  4. J.B. Duke’s office overlooked which previously viewed statue?
  5. Extra Credit: What do the four murals found on the inside walls of this structure depict?

Week 10

  1. The early postcard calls this waterfall the “Silver Cascades.” What is it called today?  
  2. Both the postcard and the recent photo vantage points were taken on which Duke Farms path? 
  3. During normal operations, how often does this waterfall get turned on each day?
  4. What Duke Farms’ water resource feeds this waterfall? 
  5. Extra Credit: What are the times during the day when the waterfall is turned on?
  6. Super Bonus: All the lakes at Duke Farm are man made and the water systems date back to the early 1900s. What was the original water source that fed these lakes?


Answers to Week 6

  1. Mermaid Pool
  2. The mermaids around the fountain
  3. Pineapple Fountain
  4. Duke Reservoir

Click here to jump to Week 7

Answers to Week 7

  1. West Way
  2. 2
  3. North Gate
  4. The Etruscans

Click here to jump to Week 8

Answers to Week 8

  1. Hay Barn
  2. Research Woods Path
  3. Three Graces
  4. France
  5. A parterre is a level space in a garden occupied by an ornamental arrangement of flowerbeds. Some parterres include pathways and geometric designs.

Click here to jump to Week 9

Answers to Week 9

  1. Central Way
  2. Coach Barn
  3. Roof and weathervane
  4. Durham Bull
  5. 4 different continents

Click here to jump to Week 10

Answers to Week 10

Click here for the next part in this series

This resource was created by Carl Cucchiara and Kate Reilly.

Written by:


January 1, 2023