Sylvan Lake

Whenever the Montgomery Friends of Open Space Farmers Market is in session Shaan works as the assistant farmers market manager. The market normally runs from the summer into the early fall but sometimes they host a winter market. Today's winter market is in the Montgomery Municipal Centre not far from their previous location in Skillman Village Shoppes. Due to the many suggestions from market customers, the market will be held at the new location for the foreseeable future.

After I dropped Shaan off, I drove over to Skillman Park hoping to find something interesting to photograph. The sky was overcast and the air was cold. Fortunately, there was no breeze.

Before Skillman Park transformed into the green space I enjoy today, it had a beginning as the New Jersey State Village for Epileptics. Opened in the early 20th century, Skillman Village was designed as a self-sufficient community specifically for the care and support of individuals with epilepsy. The village, nestled in the Skillman area of Montgomery Township aimed to provide a nurturing environment where residents could live, work, and receive medical care.

Sylvan Lake, Skillman Park
Skillman Park · 24 February 2024 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF27mmF2.8 R WR

The location was chosen for its countryside charm and proximity to transport links, ensuring a community-like setting for the residents. The plan was for the village to be self-sustaining, with residents playing a key role in its maintenance. They managed a variety of agricultural operations, including a dairy farm, pigsty, and poultry farm. The village boasted orchards filled with apple and peach trees, alongside fields of tomatoes and other crops.

Sylvan Lake, Skillman Park
Skillman Park · 24 February 2024 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF27mmF2.8 R WR

To support such a large community, the village was equipped with all necessary systems right on site. A sophisticated water system with wells, a water tower, and a treatment plant was established to meet the needs of the residents. Before the era of refrigeration, ice from Sylvan Lake was harvested and stored in a large ice house by the lake to keep food fresh.

Regardless of the time of the year, I am usually drawn to the area near Sylvan Lake.

Doctors Row

The houses on Doctors Row were built to accommodate these key staff members and their families.

Skillman Village was also known as the New Jersey State Village for Epileptics before the buildings were demolished and repurposed as Skillman Park. Doctors Row is a non-functional road in a section of old Skillman Village where the doctors and higher-ranking staff lived.

The houses on Doctors Row were built to accommodate these key staff members and their families, reflecting a higher status within the community hierarchy. These homes were typically larger and more architecturally distinct than the housing provided for other staff members or the patient facilities.

I was drawn to the overall mood of abandonment. This place was once part of a thriving community. I think the black and white enhances the mood.

There is a tall, solitary street lamp standing prominently in the centre of the frame. The street lamp creates a vertical line that draws the eye upwards.

Behind the lamp is a large, coniferous tree, standing against the otherwise barren treeline in the background. The area is overgrown grasses and weeds, indicating the space has been left untended for some time. There is a patch of asphalt from the old road. The asphalt is cracked and partially reclaimed by the vegetation.