The Palace of Depression
It is definitely a place that falls under the category of "Weird New Jersey" the "Palace of Depression" in Cumberland County in Vineland. Don't let the name fool you, it's not a state of mind....it's an era or was it?
Founder George Daynor was living in Alaska when, according to legend, he received a message from an angel to go to New Jersey and build something special. Daynor left Alaska and headed to the Garden State, he heard a town called "Vineland" was selling land and at one dollar an acre he purchased four acres with his last four dollars. The land he bought was a junk yard in a swamp. It was during the "Great Depression" and so many Americans were struggling terribly. Daynor decided to build a "palace" out of only ordinary items that he could find on the property....making something beautiful out of nothing.
Daynor began construction in 1929 and his palace opened to the public on Christmas Day 1932. It was a big tourist attraction back in the 30's and 40's. The building was terribly damaged during the 60's and now it's being rebuilt by concerned residents and it's exactly as it was back in the day except some areas were widened to make them handicapped accessible. Daynor built the home with no heat (fireplaces) no water (wells) and no electricity. He actually built wells into the house and would draw water from below and bring into the home.
During our tour it was said some thought Daynor was a genius and some thought he was crazy .... I am going on record as saying I believe he was crazy, maybe very intelligent ...but more eccentric then genius.
One of the strangest parts of his "palace" is a dungeon he built in the basement. Who has a dungeon? He said it was to trap the Jersey Devil when it visited ....I say hmmmm.
The building itself is very interesting and the folks doing the reconstruction have done a great job and they are getting closer to total completion. It's definitely something that is suited for "Weird New Jersey". If you get a chance check it out, it's bizarre.