Elsewhere online
September 24, 2015

Foundation and Preservationists Feud Over Doris Duke Home

The nonprofit that manages the late heiress and philanthropist Doris Duke's central New Jersey estate plans to raze her mansion on the site, a proposal that has raised hackles among local preservationists, reports the Associated Press.

The Duke Farms Foundation, which oversees the 2,700-acre property in Hillsborough Township, says the 122-year-old mansion, empty since Ms. Duke's death in 1993, has fallen into serious disrepair and would need up to $20 million in work to come up to code.

Executive Director Michael Catania said the house has "become a big white elephant," and his group wants to pursue other efforts to improve the grounds, which are dotted with sculptures, lakes, and other features.

A community group called Doris (Demolition of Residence Is Senseless) wants the foundation to explore "re-adaptive uses" that could generate income and educate the public about the property, such as a book or gift shop. Hillsborough's Historic Preservation Commission will hold the latest in a series of hearings on the demolition plan Thursday.