In Vineland, the remnants of what was once referred to as “the strangest house in the world” rest on a nondescript plot of land. This home dates back to 1929, and was once a much more majestic site. Fortunately, a major restoration project is underway and soon, what was once one of the most famous houses in the world will be restored to its former glory. Our Vineland DWI lawyers have visited this site and even though the project isn’t finished yet, it’s still worth a trip to learn about the fascinating history of this artistic home.
History of the Palace of Depression
The story of the Palace of Depression begins in 1929 – the year the stock market crashed, and the first year of the Great Depression. 70-year-old New York stock trader George Daynor lost everything – the entire fortune he’d work to build over the course of his long life. With only seven dollars left to his name, Daynor claims an angel came to him and led him on a 10-mile, 112-mile hike to Vineland, New Jersey. Here, he bought the only piece of land he could afford – a seven-acre junkyard on a swamp listed for exactly seven dollars.
According to the legend, the angel reappeared to Daynor one night while he was sleeping in the junkyard and told him to use mud, bottles, bed frames, fuel leakage, and auto parts from the junkyard to build the Palace of Depression. Over the next few years, Daynor worked to build an ornate home made of mud and junk. He lived a basic hunter-gatherer lifestyle, killing and eating fish, rabbits, frogs, squirrels, and whatever else he could find while spending all of his free time making his junk palace.
The finished product was much more than a heap of junk – it was a magnificent display of creativity and what one can accomplish even in the lowest places. Daynor’s mission was to prove to all Americans that our country could rise from the ashes, rebuild itself, and push its way through the Great Depression and onto bigger and better things.
Unfortunately, the Palace of Depression was torn down in 1969, long after Daynor had passed away. But luckily, nearly half a century later, a volunteer restoration project is underway. Soon, we’ll all have the opportunity to see the Palace as it looked in its original state nearly 90 years ago.
The Palace of Depression Today
Although the Palace restoration project is still underway, you can still view the outside of the home. Much of the exterior has been restored, but the area is often roped off and visitors are not always allowed to enter the site. We’d recommend contacting the Palace ahead of time, as they do give occasional tours.