First published: Summer 1999
The legend of George Daynor and the Palace Depression began in earnest on Christmas Day, 1932, when Daynor opened his handmade structure to the public. Almost immediately, the multi-colored, eighteen-spire castle crafted out of clay, concrete, and automobile parts became the subject of excited newspaper articles, sensational comic book stories, and gossipy radio programs – fueled by its creator's aptitude for unabashed self-promotion.
'I like that depression Tin Can Triumph that came out of Vineland, N.J.!' chortled one New York columnist.
Billed as an antidote to the misery of the Great Depression, the Palace became a popular stop-off for tourists en route to Atlantic City. 'The only real depression is a depression of individual ingenuity,' Daynor instructed visitors, describing how he converted an automobile junkyard and swamp into a unique residence surrounded by landscaped gardens.
By 1940, tourist demand for directions was so great, Esso felt compelled to feature the sleepy, rural town of Vineland – and the Palace – on its Pictorial Map of New Jersey. Signed guest books show that as many as 250,000 tourists visited the Mill Road site during its first decade.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #27