Saturday, October 26, 2013

Oh, The Things I Do For Love

Hiking With My Honey and Discovering Tragic History

Hoeferlin Trail, Ramapo State Forest, NJ

He takes a day off from work
and he wants to hike or ride bikes.

Ramapo Lake, Ramapo State Forest, NJ

He lets me plan the day,
which I do with photo ops in mind,
since that is the only reason I would
want to tramp around in the woods.

One Remaining Private Residence in the Park 

Tucked away in northwestern New Jersey
I found the Ramapo State Forest
offering fall foliage, a lake and castle ruins.
That sounded enticing.

View of Rampano Lake from the Castle Point Trail

In 1910, William Porter, a New York Stock Broker,
 purchased this property overlooking the Rampano Lake
and built a stone home he named Foxcroft.

The Castle Ruins

A year later, the story of Foxcroft takes a tragic turn
when Porter, after a weekend of partying at the home with other brokers,
was killed in an automobile crash Monday morning
on his way back to New York City.

Fireplaces in the Ruins

Porter left behind his wife, Ruth Halliwell Porter, and two children from a previous marriage.
Ruth was on board the Luisitania at the time of her husband's death
and did not learn of it until returning to New York.

Windows of the Castle Ruins

In 1913, Ruth was engaged and married to a Manhattan lawyer named Warren Van Slyke.
Ruth and Warren lived the high life in the upper social circles of their day.
But tragedy struck again, when in 1925 Warren died
from complications of a gallstone operation.

Remains of the water tower 
that provided water to the home. 

Widowed for a third time, 
Ruth did not remarry. 
She died at Foxcraft in 1940. 

The Skyline of New York City 

After her death, the home was bought by a couple
who abandoned it in the midst of a divorce battle.
In 1959, vandals burned the building.

View from an Overlook toward Wanaque Resevior

Can you imagine having once lived in this castle?
There are 360 views around you,
including the skyline of New York City.
If it weren't for all the tragic history surrounding this beautiful place,
I would be tempted to bring it all back to life.
Well, I guess I would need an extra few million too.

The only two images I could find online of the castle, which was really a mansion.

Foxcroft became known as Van Slyke Castle,
and is sometimes referred to as the Oakland Castle
assuming the name of nearby Oakland, NJ.

The Trail...
Oh, The Things I Do For Love

To Hike This Loop Trail:
We began at a small parking lot
off of Skyline Drive,
41.047479, -74.251313. 

-Access the Hoeferlin Trail next to the gravel road at the south end of the lot. 
-Follow the trail via the yellow blazes. 
-You will then join with the MacEvoy Trail following both the yellow and blue blazes. 
-At Ramapo Lake, leave the Hoeferlin Trail and take the MacEvoy Trail up North Shore Drive. 
-After passing between two pillars watch for and follow the white blazes indicating the Castle Point Trail. 
-Make the steep climb up to the castle ruins but be sure to turn around and take in the view of the lake below you. 
-After investigating the ruins, continue on the Castle Point Trail passing and old concrete swimming pool, the old water tower, toward a gas line right of way.  
-Before you get to the right of way, take the Castle Point Trail to the right. 
-Watch for the trail to turn left before reaching the gravel road within view of it.  This is easy to miss.
-When you come in view of Skyline Dive, turn right onto a gravel road and pick up the Cannon Ball trail to your left marked by a red c. 
-When the trail Ys stay left to make your way back to the parking lot via the red and white blazed Skyline Connector Trail. 

The hike is about 3 miles, and taking our time to enjoy the view and investigate the ruins it took us between 1.5 and 2 hours. It could easily be done more quickly.

Credit and more details about Foxcroft history found here and here
Credit and more hike details found here
More images from our hike found here


Suburban Girl said...

By Associated Press. NEW YORK, May 7.— Charles E. Hallwell, vice president of the American Tobacco company, and one of the heaviest stockholders in the corporation, died sudenly of apoplexy in the Holland house last night. Mr. Halllwell was stricken when at dinner with his wife of a few months and a niece. Prior to the formation of the American Tobacco company Mr. Halliwell was at the head of the Llgett & Meyers Tobacco company of St. Louis. He was reputed to be worth $20,000,000. Mr. Halliwell, who was 50 years of age, was married In October last to Miss Ruth Alice Cole, a trained nurse who had cared for him for some months and had nursed him through dangerous 111ness twice.

Suburban Girl said...

Charles E. Halliwell

In January 1899, the majority of stock of the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co. was sold to Mr. Butler of the Union Tobacco Company by Moses C. Wetmore, Charles E. Halliwell, Samuel T. McCormick, Mrs. Claude Kilpatrick, Mrs. John Fowler, and Mrs. John E. Liggett for $6.5 million cash. Wetmore was to continue as president and general manager for five years, and George S. Myers kept his shares. (Big Tobacco Deal. Morning Oregonian, Feb. 5, 1899.) Mrs. Charles E. Halliwell, wife of the First Vice President of the Continental Tobacco Company, was the daughter of James Ayres Brown, "a leading merchant of London." (Obituary Notes. New York Times, Mar. 13, 1902.) Their daughter Mabel married Holland Sacket Duell, Yale 1902, a lawyer from Syracuse. (Weddings of a Day. New York Times, Sep. 30, 1904.) Halliwell fell ill in 1905 and married his nurse, Miss Ruth Alice Cole. "In the American Tobacco Company Mr. Halliwell is second in importance only to James B. Duke. He is also a director of the American Peat Fuel Company, the American Snuff Company, Automatic Weighing Machine Company, International Cigar Machine Company, Kentucky Tobacco Product Company, Luhrman & Wilbern Tobacco Company, and the P. Lorillard Company. He is 55 years old, and his wealth has been estimated at $20,000,000." (Charles E. Halliwell Weds. New York Times, Oct. 5, 1906.) "Mr. Halliwell was in control of the Leggitt [sic] & Meyers Tobacco Company, in St. Louis, when James B. Duke set out to combine the big tobacco concerns," and made Halliwell an officer of the American Tobacco Company. He was said to be 50 years old. (Charles Halliwell Dead. Washington Post, May 7, 1907.) In 1909, C.E. Halliwell had $600 in dividends of American Tobacco preferred stock unclaimed since 1904. (American Tobacco Co., Fiscal Statement, Dec. 31, 1921.)

American Tobacco Co., Fiscal Statement, Dec. 31, 1921 / tobacco document
His widow married William Porter, who began as a cotton broker in Louisville, then "allied himself with the National Tobacco Company and then with the American Tobacco Company, becoming general manager of the sales department in this city. In 1903, Porter gave up the tobacco business, becoming a member of the Stock Exchange firm of Perkins, Erickson & Co." (Stock Exchange Man Hurt in Auto Wreck. New York Times, May 25, 1911.) Porter died, and she married Warren Clark Van Slyke, a well-known lawyer. She had received a quarter of Halliwell's $5 million estate in trust, with half to his daughter and a quarter to his son, Walter S. Halliwell. (Mrs. Porter to Wed Again. New York Times, Jun. 20, 1913.) Holland S. Duell's daughter Helen, Vassar 1927, married Thomas Witter Chrystie, Columbia 1924. (Holland Sackett Duell, B.A. 1902. Bulletin of Yale University. Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University Deceased during the Year 1942-1943, pp. 75-76.). They were the parents of American Health Foundation trustee Thomas L. Chrystie. (Mrs. Thomas W. Christie, Women's Civic Leader, 57. New York Times, Oct. 28, 1963.)

Suburban Girl said...

Velvet Pipe & Cigarette Tobacco
In January 1899, the majority of stock of the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co. was sold to Mr. Butler of the Union Tobacco Company by Moses C. Wetmore, Charles E. Halliwell, Samuel T. McCormick, Mrs. Claude Kilpatrick, Mrs. John Fowler, and Mrs. John E. Liggett for $6.5 million cash.

MadSnapper said...

this is quite a story, a tragic one to.. i was about to say the 3 photos of the castle/fireplae were my favorites, but the skyline view knocked them down and took 1st place. what an amazing view and i love old and i love stones... you did a great job planning your hubby's hike

Debbie said...

What a beautiful place for a walk, your images are outstanding!! I live in New Jersey but I have never been here. Perhaps I will put it on my "places I need to see list"!!

Thanks for all the information and history. All of it very interesting!!

Anonymous said...

Oh a dreamy walk and so much history of it. Castle. Hmmmmmmmmmm

Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Wow, love all the bright colors of fall! The one with the ruin that shows all the windows is my favorite. Rebecca I'm leaving Google + and found out that because of that I also have to delete my blogs on blogspot. But you can find me on wordpress. My url is Jeannettestgermain(dot)wordpress(dot)com. Enjoy your weekend!

Wayne said...

Nice photos and a great story. Sadly, it sound like some really bad karma going there.

Nancy said...

I loved reading this post; so very interesting.....and all because you were being a wonderful wife and went on a hike with your hubby....You really captured some fantastic shots.....

GardenOfDaisies said...

It's absolutely beautiful! But how tragic. Your fall season is well underway and the leaves look gorgeous.

DawnTreader said...

Looks like a good day out with excellent photo opportunities :) I'm especially impressed with the NY skyline photo with the colourful woods in the foreground. Well done!

Sarah Huizenga said...

Looks like a fabulous place to explore, all that crumbling stone and decay. Things that I love so much. Thanks for the history surrounding the place as we'll.

Adrienne said...

So interesting...And that shot of the NYC skyline is amazing!!

Helen said...

This is a fascinating post - just the sort of area I like to visit. I think your shot of the New York skyline is outstanding!!!

Out on the prairie said...

Lovely place to explore, sad to be left behind

Kmcblackburn said...

Very interesting! Imagine hiking along a beautiful path to happen upon a castle in New Jersey? Quite amazing actually. Beautiful usual :)

Muza-chan said...

Very beautiful place...

Michele {Malaysian Meanders} said...

I've never heard of this place, but now I want to visit it in person. I love that you can wander around the ruins and that they haven't been razed. That view of the NYC skyline in the distance made me realize that you weren't all that far off from the big city.

Jackie and Joel Smith said...

A beautiful walk you took us on and what an interesting story you told!