Explore Duke Farms, the 2,700-acre property in New Jersey that Doris Duke's father created at the turn of the 20th century.
Duke Farms was the vision of James Buchanan Duke, one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs at the turn of the 20th century. J.B. Duke, who endowed Duke University and founded Duke Power and the American Tobacco Company, began buying land in central New Jersey in 1893 and assembled more than 37 parcels of farmland, which now comprise one of New Jersey’s largest remaining privately owned open spaces.
J.B. Duke sought to create a fully operational farm reminiscent of the North Carolina Piedmont farm on which he grew up. He engaged a variety of notable landscape architects and engineers, including Buckenham & Miller, James Greenleaf and Elizabeth Biddle Shipman, to help him create a wonderland of seemingly natural vistas out of the flat farmland of Hillsborough, New Jersey.
By the time he died in 1925, J.B. Duke had transformed more than 2,000 acres of farmland and woodlots into an extraordinary landscape accented with fountains, statuary and other visual delights. He excavated nine lakes, constructed some 45 buildings, and built nearly 2.5 miles of stone walls and more than 18 miles of roadway.
J.B. Duke raised Doris, his only child, on the 2,700-acre property, and she inherited control of the property when he died. Today, visitors can enjoy exploring different aspects of the property through a variety of classes, nature programs and recreational opportunities. The property is owned and managed by the Duke Farms Foundation, an operating foundation which is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Duke Farms opened to the public on May 19, 2012. It serves as a model of environmental stewardship in the 21st century and inspires visitors to become informed stewards of the land. It is a place of education, enjoyment and research that enhances the environmental health of the region.