Although you probably won't see Duke Farms' renowned Bald Eagles when you visit the property -- unless one is flying overhead, a rare occurrence -- you can still see another famous pair of eagles while you are there. All you have to do is drive down Dukes Parkway West and look for the most statuesque eagles you have ever seen. They stand guard at the aptly named Eagle Gate. The bronze eagles were cast more than a century ago -- around 1902 -- for Duke's Park at Fonderie dArt du Val, dOsne, a foundry described by the Association for the Preservation and Promotion of the Haute-Marne Metallurgical Heritage as the most prestigious and most important world art foundry.
As you can see from the old postcard, the eagles at one point did not have a coat of black paint, which, in a sense, made them Golden Eagles. Around 1960, the eagles were moved to the former main gate along Route 206 and Dukes Parkway East. As the Skylands Visitor website notes: are a reminder that not only is this a place of uncommon pedigree, but that birds are primary citizens at Duke Farms. The eagle statues are but two examples of the amazing statuary that awaits when you visit Duke Farms. As Duke Farms' website points out: "J.B. Duke sought the finest craftsmen to make statuary for his estate. Duke commissioned bronze, marble and stone reproductions in the first decade of the 20th century, mostly from French and Italian firms that specialized in casting Classical and Renaissance-style reproductions for museums and private collectors." For more on Duke Farms' array of statues, click here.
Got a question or suggestion? E-mail Jim at email@example.com
Jim Wright writes The Bird Watcher columnist for The Record and the Herald-News. He is the author of four coffee-table books about wild places, and the deputy marsh warden of the Celery Farm Natural Area in Allendale, N.J.