Building Description Alfred Ringling Manor, Oak Ridge New Jersey
The Alfred Ringling Estate is divided by Berkshire Valley Road. The estate consists of the mansion, a boathouse, a power house, a carriage house, a water tower, and a barn. All structures are of the same material and style indicating the date of construction sometime prior to World War I.
The Ringling Mansion is a large classical revival style building faced with cobblestones. The sub-structure is reinforced concrete with walls two feet thick. The formal entrance to the mansion has a projecting massive portico [ supported by four large columns. The interior originally had 26 rooms on three floors, but was renovated to accommodate occupants. The first floor had a kitchen, a pantry, dining room, ballroom, bar, a conservatory, and a music room. The second floor had two sundecks, eight bedrooms and a number of bathrooms. The third floor half a ballroom, card rooms, and a stage. The facilities were in the basement which also had a wine cellar. While the interior has been somewhat altered sections still reflect the eclectic tastes of the well-traveled Ringling and the sometimes gaudy tastes of this circus owner.
The boathouse opens into Lake Swanannoa which was created by Alfred Ringling using a smaller pond. The boathouse also reflects a classical revival style and is similar in construction to the mansion, although much smaller in size. The power house and carriage house also resemble the mansion in style, if not in size and elegance. The power house is 50 feet by 30 feet and 20 feet high. The carriage house is 80 feet by 30 feet and 30 feet high. The tower, which is behind the carriage house on a knoll, is a circular cobblestone faced concrete structure 81 feet high and 61 feet in circumference at the base with a domed circular roof.
The barn is a one story cobblestone faced structure 61 feet long and 25 feet wide.
A few years after Ringlings death in 1919 the Estate was sold and subdivided into smaller parcels of land.
The manor was adopted as a country club for a short time, but the Great Depression forced that operation out of business.
In 1933 the Manor was used briefly by Max Schmeling and his managers as a training camp for the Baer-Schmeling heavyweight championship fight.
In the 1970's the Manor house was occupied by the Capuchin Fathers OFM (a religious group). The other buildings, save the barn which was used for manufacturing gliders, are vacant.