Township of Ocean Historical Museum
An Open Door To History
Copyright 2016 (C) Township of Ocean Historical Museum 
Township of Ocean Historical Museum
Address: 703 Deal Road, Ocean, NJ 07712
Mailing: P.O. Box 516, Qakhurst, NJ 07755-0516 

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(732) 531-2136
​E-mail us at [email protected]
STUCILE FARM

Stucile Farm is the property that, today, is where the Ocean Township Library, The Township of Ocean Historical Museum and the Office of Human Services Buildings are located, and is a portion of Joe Palaia Park.  It was known as Poplar Brook Farm from the 1960's to the 1990's when it was owned by the Terner family.
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Stucile Farm Sign along Poplar Road (Now Deal Road) 1930's
THE HAUPT ESTATE

   In 1931, during the Great Depression, Adele Landay (Haupt) Hynes recalls riding around from bank to bank in New York City along with her mother-in-law, Florence, in a chauffered-driven car in order to obtain funds for the purchase of land in Oakhurst.  

  Florence L. Haupt eventually secured $45,000 ($5,000 in cash from each bank) needed to purchase a 45 acre farm on the north side of Deal Road belonging to Harold Sexton, a bachelor who also had a tea house on the property. Bordering the former Eden Woolley estate, this large expanse of land stretched north to Popular Brook, and eastward to property owned by Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. Another $15,000 was used to add 20 more acres to the initial purchase.

  Dubbed Stucile Farm after the combined names of the Haupt children, Stuart and Cecile, the estate consisted of a large farmhouse, or mansion (referred to as the Big House), a late nineteenth century Dutch-styled home (called the Little House) and formal garden area, a tall tower with attached cottage, greenhouse, small dairy barn, chicken coops, ice house, several sheds, dog runs, horse stalls, and a large barn for grain storage. The entrance to Stucile Farm featured a driveway lined with maple trees.

  After joining Ira and his wife in the Big House for about one year until an addition was made to the Little House, Stuart and Adele Haupt then took up residence in the Little House with their toddler son, Ira Haupt II. Daughter Florence was born in 1937.

  The main section of the mansion appears to date stylistically from the early 1900s.  Designed in a combination of styles that included Colonial Revival, Queen Anne and Craftsman, the Big House also underwent extensive renovations. A practice polo field lay to the south of the house, while a large rectangular pool and pool house were constructed after WWII. The tennis court was replaced by a formal English Garden.  


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The Haupts, Stuart Haupt, Ira Haupt and Ira Haupt II, New York Stock Exhange
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The "Big House" when the Township took over the property (before the Library was added).
PEDIGREE SHOWDOGS

   Florence and Ira became interested in raising and showing English Setters, who often won “Best in Show” at major competitions.  At one time, they had as many as 70 of them!  However, when his wife passed away, Ira lost interest in dogs, although he kept the farm running.  
ENID ANNENBERG BENSINGER HAUPT

  Florence L. Haupt died in 1936, and early the following year, her husband, Ira (who had founded the New York brokerage firm of Ira Haupt & Co.,) married Enid Annenberg Bensinger. Enid A. Haupt was the daughter of Moses Annenberg and the sister of Walter Annenburg. Between 1948 and 1970, Enid A. Haupt served as publisher, editor and editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine. Mrs. Haupt is probably best known for her philanthropic activities in the U.S. and abroad. She funded restorations of the conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden and Monet’s Gardens at Giverny, and helped to create new gardens for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and the Cloisters of the Museum of Modern Art, as well as the greenhouse at New York University’s Medical Center




  NOTABLE NAMES

  Ira Haupt II recalls much entertainment at both the Big and Little Houses. His father Stuart was chair of the Hollywood Golf Club Social Committee, and “although there were no movie stars or politicians, there was much going on.” Guests included the Annenbergs, sports announcer Bill Stern (“my father’s buddy”), the Borgheses (famous perfume name), movie producers such as Hal Wallis (Martin & Lewis, Elvis Presley, and Marilyn Monroe) who was the business partner of Joe Hazen (married to an Annenberg), and my grandfather’s brother-in-law. The Gimbels (Sophie of Saks and her husband, Bernard) played cards every summer Sunday at the Big House along with David Marx (of Marx Toy Company fame—the Hasbro of its time.)
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Tower (left) and the "Little House"
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The Well (Left), the Tower and the "Little House".
  ENCHANTED CHILDHOOD

  Frolicking among pedigreed dogs, chickens, and turkeys. Riding in a pony cart. Cows, horses, pigs and abundant farmland just outside your doorstep—these were part of everyday life for the young Haupt children, Ira II and Florence, as they grew up on the property.   Florence remembers many carefree times: cross-country skiing on the driveway, playfully hitching an Irish setter to a wagon, carefully avoiding copperhead snakes in the nearby brook, and frolicking   with her brother.

  She recalls with great fondness the patio outside their house, with the fountain, hedges, and beautiful gardens. She likened their two acre vegetable garden to the “Garden of Eden”, where all kinds of the fruit and vegetables were gathered an hour before suppertime. “They were as sweet as sugar,” Florence said.

 PRIZED ORCHIDS 

The property operated as a farm through 1946 when it became an orchid-raising establishment. (The remainder of the farmland was rented out, but there were no longer cows, chickens, pigs, etc.) A complex of large greenhouses was established just north of the house, and a superintendent (caretaker) maintained the beautiful flowers, many of which were transported by caretaker to New York City florists for resale. (Florence Haupt Teiger noted that the incubated orchids took seven years to bloom.) The prize-winning specimens were also featured at major flower shows.

Longtime Oakhurst resident Tom Kratochvil assisted Mr. Clemenson, the caretaker tend to the flowers “on and off” over a span of two years, earning $2.00 per day. The nonagenarian recalls very busy periods when Clemenson would need to live in the dwelling at the old tower in order to look after their cultivation. 


MYSTERY OF THE TOWER 

In close proximity to the site of the Little House stands "an enormous square-sided water tower and adjacent one-story building projecting horizontally from its north elevation." (As described in a July, 2002 report from the Cultural Resource Consulting Group about the property.) The study goes on to say that the water tower and attached farm building "are an eclectic combination of styles that include "Italianate, Federalist and Craftsman. Referencing a New England lighthouse with its obelisk form and wooden clapboard siding, the windowed tower is crowned by Italianate brackets (that) support a flat, overhanging eave that holds a smaller box-like windowed structure which provides the base for a 1 ½ story, Federalist-inspired clapboard cabin-like shell that was meant to hide the water tank at the top of the tower." 


The age and exact purpose of this intriguing tower is unknown, but it was in existence when Florence L. Haupt purchased the property. Her namesake granddaughter (Florence Haupt Teiger) said that the tower was in a decrepit state even then, and recalls that her brother used to chase her up the rickety tower steps when they were kids. She also remembers the sight of pigeons roosting at its top. 

lra Haupt II recalled that the first floor of the tower held general farm implements, and a laborer was housed on its 2nd floor. A caretaker (called superintendent) of the property also lived in the cottage which was attached to the tower. However, during World War II. Haupt noted that there was no superintendent, and the cottage was rented out to Oakhurst's police chief-Chief Eisle. He kept his riding horse, called Pearl Harbor, in their cow barn. (It was through Chief Eisele that Florence got her love of riding.) 
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The "Little House" from the side, with garden walls.
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Florence Haupt in front of the Dairy Barn
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Florence Haupt in front of Well, "Big House" in the background. 
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Greenhouses
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Potting Shed and Greenhouses.
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The "Little House".
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By the pool, with the "Little House" and the Tower in the Back.
Stucile Farm Sign along Poplar Road (Now Deal Road) 1930's
The Haupts, Stuart Haupt, Ira Haupt and Ira Haupt II, New York Stock Exhange
The "Big House" when the Township took over the property (before the Library was added).
Tower (left) and the "Little House"
The Well (Left), the Tower and the "Little House".
The "Little House" from the side, with garden walls.
Florence Haupt in front of the Dairy Barn
Florence Haupt in front of Well, "Big House" in the background.
Greenhouses
Potting Shed and Greenhouses.
The "Little House".
By the pool, with the "Little House" and the Tower in the Back.
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1931 Map of Stucile Farm
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Early 1960's Aerial Photos of  Poplar Brook Farms