Sylvan Lake in Skillman New Jersey

Starting the job search after ten years with the same company can be mentally exhausting. I've spent time thinking about what should and shouldn’t be in my resume — searching online for work that matches my skills and interest. I've also been doing a lot of thinking about whether or not I want a full-time job or re-join the ranks of the freelancers. With so much going on, my mind was a jumble. I needed to clear the machine. I decided to take a drive to Skillman Park and walk about a bit.

Skillman Park is one of Montgomery Townships newest parks.

The property originally consisted of three large farms. These lands were purchased by the State of New Jersey for the establishment in 1898 of the “New Jersey State Village for Epileptics” at Skillman, during a time when there was no known treatment for epilepsy. The village layout was designed by noted Landscape Architect/Engineer Charles W. Leavitt in 1901. For many years it operated as a self-contained “town” that consisted of hospitals, housing, farms, maintenance areas, schools, a theatre, a power plant, a wastewater treatment facility, cemeteries, and an on-site landfill. It was one of the first such facilities in the United States.

In the mid-twentieth century, with the discovery of medicines for the treatment of epilepsy, the facility’s focus shifted, and it became the New Jersey Neuropsychiatric Institute. Most recently, and until 1998, the property was known as “ North Princeton Developmental Center” or NPDC, a New Jersey Department of Human Services’ residential psychiatric care facility.

I parked my car on one section of the Lakeview Drive circle and walked down one of the abandoned roads. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to be there but … I was hoping to find something interesting. I did. I found Sylvan Lake.

The lake was very dry, but I could imagine that it must have been quite full during recent storms and it’s banks were deep. I spent a few minutes sitting on piles of broken concrete staring down into the lake and past it into the horizon. The air was crisp and refreshing, with a slight breeze. I found the quiet I was seeking.

The image is a three bracket HDR (Photomatix Pro). I applied the FixelPix “Grit” free Lightroom preset and then some additional work in Nik Software's Silver EFX Pro 2.

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