"What is it they say about myths" ?,
I've been with the "P.D.R.P" for almost 7yrs now, during which, I
got to hear manydifferant recollections reguarding George
Daynor,(his wife & her roll with the palace) & the Palace.
I'm beginning this page with the "basis" of George's
story he would tell,as I finish with this, most of which We all
have, heard & read by now, I will move on to what I have learned
over the years about Palace, the Angel, &George.
"As my mom used to say"...
Often, there are to sides to every story, it's in the "middle" we'll
likely find some
"As he told it",......
The Alaskan Gold rush had made George Daynor a rich man, years of prospecting had paid
thier worth, & now George, "his posterity assured", set off to to register his claim, but,...
if finding the gold wasn't hard enough work, the trek to the claims office would prove to
be every bit as challenging!,...the office , at best was a 5 to 6 day 100+ hike on a trail
swarming with "bush-wackers & thieves" & it's not long till they catch up with George &
he's robbed!...But this wouldn't be the first nor last time George's ingeniuty would save his hide,
"as he tells it"
The joke was on the robber's!, my claim was in a code I invented, & I sent my dog ahead
tothe claim's office with the cypher so when I got there I could prove what was mine by
Overcoming this "1st Adversity", George makes his way towards the west coast till he
reaches the city of San Francisco, settling there, he begins to build the "house of his
dreams" while investing the rest of his fortune in the"stock-market".....
"When the San Francisco earthquake"
was through with George, claiming home, & possessions, he barely has time to dust himself
off to face this
When our entire country is shaken to it's very foundation, & the Great Depression begins.
George loses everything but the clothes on his back, & the change in his pockets to the
facing this "3rd Adversity", dispondant, & with no prospects, George begins to Drift,
making his way towards the eastern coast, & unknown to George at the time,
"As George tells it"...
He was walking along a road one night, when I was almost struck down by a car !, what
could have resulted in catastraphy, was indeed George's luck returning, the driver
stopped to apologize, offering George a lift for his troubles, Upon hearing George's tale,
the driver offers George a deal on some site-unseen land, so, closing the deal with the
last 4 dollars in his pocket, George went on to inspect his investment & found he now owned
a swamp,with a junk-yard smack in the center!, at the bottom of the city of Vineland, N.J.
"Adversity #4?!" Taking up residence in an abandoned truck body George began
trenching & dredging the swamp, George dragged the truck body & others into the
trenches & as the ground stablized covered over these as well, to create an
George has a dream,
"as he tells it,"
an Angel came to him one evening & promised his posterity would be assured if in return
for the vision she broughtto him of a Fantastic Castle, he would complete it with 18 to 22
spires on the roof tops for the angels to rest on as they traveled around the earth,
George agreed, & with renewed vision, pulled himself up by the boot-straps and vigorously
set about the task at hand, using a large copper kettle to gather & sort through the
junkyard for useful items George worked day & night, & on Christmas day 1932, George
opens his doors to the public & welcomes all to the Palace of Depression.
"As word began to spread"
through radio broadcasts, news paper articals,word of mouth & eventually film,folk from
all over came to see the Palace of Depression, George would delight the young & old with
his tales of prospecting & sailing,from his perch on the grand chimney of the palace,
George would explain, how he won, & lost three fortunes, how, at his most darkest hour,
an Angel came to his aid & showed him what he could do in the face of his adversity,thus,
providing him with the plans for the Palace.
George would continue the tour, taking folk through many rooms, the " sun-set kitchen "
crafted from the very junk others had discarded, & painted with powdered brick, & paint
George scraped from car bodies, more tales could be heard as George acompanied
himself on his prehistoric music rack, fashioned from car & machine parts that hung from
the living room ceilng, or for those that still hadn't recovered from the Depression,
George would suggest a trip to his knock-out room where he would seat you in a booth, &
pulling a lever, drop a rock on your head with the assurance that this, will indeed erease all
the bad memories!
Your tour through the Palace wasn't complete though, even after a visit to the
wishing well & tea with the mermaid, that George would caution everyone to be very quiet
as he crept ever deep into the depths of the Palace to see if the Jersey Devil was in his
George, overcoming his adversities had gone from a drifter to the most photographed
man in the world!, & the Palace of Depression became so well known over the next 20yrs, a
landmark for the city of Vineland, an icon on everything from roadmaps, to commemoritive
plates!, & unknown to George at the time, it would come to pass that he would be
reconized as a self-taught artist & a pioneer in the art known today as
crockaloge & brickaloge
as well as other alternative building methods, the Castle of Junk that began as a simple
home for George, now an inspiration to craftsmen, builders, & artists for years to come.
George ever the shameless self-promoter, crosses the line, in an attempt to draw
attention back to his Palace as it's popularity declined, George tells the local authoities
that the kidnappers of theWienburger baby had contacted him about hiding out in the
Palace while he negotiated the ransom for them, the FBI finally gets George to admit this
is yet another of his publicity stunts (we'll get to those, & more of the
"Myths" later... J.D'vil ) George is sent to jail for a year.
The Palace left unprotected is ransacked that very evening by local vandals, all but
burned to the ground.
George, returning to the Palace closes it's door to all but a few close friends and fans,
to spend the remainder of his days there attempting to undo the damage.
"One rainy Febuary night"
George is found by a friend who encounters him sweeping Mill rd.
George is taken to a Hospice & remains there till his passing in 1963, never to see the
"By the late sixties"
with no one to look after it , the Palace Depression with no real foundation other than the
old truck & car bodies began decay, as moisture returned to it's tunnels, & loosened
Daynor's mortar , the palace began to collapse into its self, a serious threat to looters &
adventurers alike, a point driven home when the Volunteer Fire Dept. searched through
the Palace for a missing child, finding they could simply push through the walls in some of
the tunnels as well as the planks & old signs Daynor used to cover the "alleys" between
the truck bodies to create his famous caverns .
"1967" & in one last attempt did friends & local artists open
the Palace Depression as an "Arts & cultural center" complete
with a cafe' & gallery, with the hope of a wing built off the "back
of the Palace" to expand the gallery & learning center, sadly, though
it made it on paper, never came to pass, the repairs exceeding
any hope of returning the Palace to it's original glory, & in "1969", more trash than
treasure , the Palace Depression was bull-dozed to the ground, leaving only
the ticket booth, benches, and patio, to Little Robin's creek"
Vineland turned the remaining grounds into a city park, complete
with Bar-b-que pits & picnic tables that where soon vandalized &
destroyed as well.
Left to over-grow, the original walk to the ticket boot now
blocked from traffic, the Palace to this day, remains a place, for
those who wish to come & sit for a bit, & think about what
"they may do,"
taking one's self up by the bootstraps
overcoming your advercities.
I will begin"filling in the blanks" here in a few days, I have
been piecing the "Palace Tale"together for some time now, & at
the very least would like to share this in an effort of good
Daynor, Florance, & the Palace will make for you & yours an
Good night for now... Jeffrey R Tirante.