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George W. Arbuckel

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Visiting Information

Visitors should be mindful that this art environment is on private property and request permission before entering the site or taking photographs.

About the Artist/Site

In 1913, 37-year-old George W. Arbuckel moved from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to Vineland, New Jersey. For the next 30 years he transformed his house on South Main Road and its surrounding five acres into a showcase for his enthusiasms: electrical and steam technology, hothouse flowers, classical statuary, and the mysteries of the spirit world.  Arbuckel studied astrology and hypnotism, and was interested in the Spiritualism movement that flourished in the United States until the 1920s, and which emphasized communication with the spirits of the dead through séances.

Arbuckel made his living as a heating engineer and prominently displayed signs advertising his services. He also installed notices to inform passersby that he was the designer and sculptor of the statues surrounding his home, which included several lions, fountains draped with nudes, and a four-story-high cement reproduction of the Statue of Liberty bearing an electric torch.

From 1929 through 1940, Arbuckel covered his two-story frame house with concrete blocks and enlarged it. As he completed each section, he added the date and his initials.  He built a greenhouse to raise hybrid amaryllis for sale under the name “Gempokus Farm” and surrounded the ponds inside the building with tracks for tiny electric trains. He constructed concrete walkways around the property, and inscribed them with cryptic messages.

Arbuckel’s death ended further plans to transform the property. When the estate sold in 1950, the new owners were faced with two choices: demolition or preservation. Fortunately, the Sotnychuk family chose to save the work. For more than a half-century, they have enthusiastically maintained Arbuckel’s complex of sculpture parks.

Visitors should be mindful that this art environment is on private property and request permission before entering the site or taking photographs.

~Holly Metz

SPACES Archives Holdings

1 folder: images

Map and site information

Not Exact Address
Vineland, New Jersey, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 39.486428 / -75.025417

Visiting Information

Visitors should be mindful that this art environment is on private property and request permission before entering the site or taking photographs.

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