Grey Towers, the once-home of Gifford Pinchot, is a National Historic Site. The estate, situated beautifully in the hills overlooking the Delaware Valley and the village of Milford, stands as testament to a man whose foresight launched the conservation movement and opened a new field of academic inquiry more than a century ago.
Gifford was the first head of the U.S. Forest Service and served two terms as Governor of Pennsylvania. Throughout his career as a forester and in politics, Pinchot urged Americans to preserve the past and protect the future. With help from President Teddy Roosevelt, himself a conservationist, Pinchot’s philosophy and ideas took root and have become mainstream thinking in 21st century America.
Fun fact: According to a news clipping covering the Hotel Fauchère’s Centennial Celebration in 1952, Gifford Pinchot and Teddy Roosevelt sketched out the plan for the National Park Service on a dinner napkin one evening at the Fauchère. Pinchot took the napkin with him and later had his chauffeur return it, freshly laundered and pressed.
Marie Zimmerman (1879-1972), the daughter of prosperous Swiss immigrants, was born in Brooklyn, NY, and educated at the Packer Collegiate Institute, Art Student’s League and the Pratt Institute. She lived near and ran her studio at the National Arts Club in New York from 1910 to 1937. Zimmermann designed metalwork in a wide range of media (gold, silver, bronze, copper and iron) and jewelry, as well as some furniture. Much of her eclectic work was inspired by diverse historical precedents, including ancient Egyptian, Classical and Chinese forms. She experimented freely with materials, surface, color and applied ornament.
Works by Marie Zimmermann are included in the collections of the Columbus Museum, Georgia (the Persian Box, in silver and ivory with applied lapis lazuli, pearls, jade and malachite), the Art Institute of Chicago, Carnegie Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Museum of Fine Arts-Boston and Wolfsonian-FIU.
The Marie Zimmermann farm, in Dingman’s Ferry, where Zimmermann lived for many years with her companion, vaudeville actress Faye Allen, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
Zane Grey, a famous writer of Western fiction, left his dentistry practice in New York City, met his wife-to-be, “Dolly,” and in 1905, they bought a house in Lackawaxen, about 35 minutes from Milford overlooking the Delaware River and the Roebling Bridge. On the banks of the Delaware River, in northeast Pennsylvania, Zane Grey began writing imaginative western novels, launching a career that ultimately took him to Hollywood. Some of his noted works include Riders of the Purple Sage and West of the Pecos.
Grey, an avid fisherman, was especially fond of the setting in Lackawaxen, PA, just below the confluence of the Lackawaxen and Delaware Rivers, and just north of the Roebling Bridge. For leisure, Grey fished the Lackawaxen and Delaware Rivers. He was a frequent dinner guest at the Fauchère.
The Zane Grey Museum
The National Park Service preserves Zane Grey’s home in Lackawaxen as a museum, displaying memorabilia, photographs, and books in the rooms that once served as his office and study. The museum is open seasonally, usually from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. (Closed some weekdays.)
Before Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct was built in 1848, there was much congestion on the Delaware – timber floating to Trenton and Philadelphia, and coal being delivered to New York City via the Delaware and Hudson Rivers. To solve this problem, John A. Roebling, a German civil engineer, built an aqueduct spanning the Delaware River between Lackawaxen, PA and Minisink Ford, NY.
Robeling’s “water canal” carried boat laden with coal over the Delaware River. His wire suspension design was the forerunner of his Brooklyn Bridge. The Roebling Bridge has since been restored by the National Park Service and is now a part of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.