Sunnybank

Home of Albert Payson Terhune
and the Sunnybank Collies

Sunnybank, the former home of Albert Payson Terhune and his Collies, is located at 381 Terhune Drive, Wayne NJ 07470.

It is considered Mecca for Collie enthusiasts and the home of the famous, Lad.

At the entrance to the park is this dedication plaque. The entrance to the driveway also marks the location of the Sunnybank Superintendent, Robert Friend. The Terhune Sunnybank Memorial fund was created in 1968 to fund money to restore and preserve the park. Sunnybank was sold to Wayne Township on April 19, 1967. While the house was demolished in 1969, the property is preserved today as Terhune Memorial Park.

Arriving at the drive of Sunnybank, you will note an opening and small lawn area to the right. This is the site where the home of Robert Friend, the Sunnybank Superintendent, lived. The home, called “the gate lodge,” no longer exists there.

Superintendent, Robert Friend

The Beginning

“In the late 1860s, Reverend Edward Payson Terhune and his wife, Mary Virginia Hawes, purchased several acres of land on Pompton Lake in Wayne, NJ.”

There, they built a three-story home with a central gable, attic, cellar, and expansive veranda. Built off the shore of Pompton Lake, Mrs. Terhune named the home ‘Sunnybank’, describing the landscape of the property’s shimmering shoreline and “shining green lawn.” By the 1890, Sunnybank had expanded to 30 acres with the home now boasting a three-story wing on its southern side. The Terhunes and their three children: Christine, Virginia, and Albert used Sunnybank annually as a “seasonal home” from May through October.

Albert Payson Terhune

Albert “Bert” Payson Terhune, AKA, “the Master” was born on December 21st, 1872, in Newark, NJ. He was the youngest of three surviving children born to Dutch Reformed minister Edward Payson Terhune and author Mary Virginia Hawes. From an early age, Bert pursued a writing career.

Terhune was also an outstanding amateur boxer, boxed exhibition matches with James J. Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons, and James J. Jeffries. His book, How to Box to Win (written under the pseudonym “John Terence McGovern”) was published in 1900 by Rohde & Haskins, New York and later by Shrewesbury Publishing Co., Chicago, 1920.

In 1893, Terhune graduated from Columbia University, and the next year, he began working as a reporter for the New York Evening World. Like his mother, he travelled extensively, spending time in Egypt and Syria.

In the late 1890s, he married Lorraine Bryson, who died soon after the birth of their daughter, Lorraine Virginia Terhune. He would later marry Anice Morris Stockton, an author, composer, and music educator.

Anice Stockton Terhune

Terhune’s second wife, Anice Stockton Terhune was born  October 27th, 1873 to John Potter Stockton and Elizabeth Morris Olmstead.

Anice was an accomplished musician who also published several books filled with music for children. Like her husband, she wrote about their home in Wayne. In 1929 she  published Sunnybank Songs for Children.

Throughout her life, Anice Stockton Terhune also wrote a series of novels- The Eyes of the Village, The Boarder Up at Em’s, and The White Mouse.

In 1943, a year after her husband’s death, she published The Bert Terhune I Knew, and her last book, Across the Line (1945) was partly inspired by notes left by her husband.

Anice was also  published in several magazines: County Gentleman, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Atlantic Monthly.

Bert and Anice

The Sunnybank Collies

Sunnybank was also the site of Albert Payson Terhune’s kennels, where he bred Collies starting in 1917.

To accommodate the dogs, Terhune had a puppy yard and kennels – featuring wooden dog houses and wire runs.

Existing outbuildings, like the barn and greenhouse, provided warm spaces for the dogs during the winter.

During the kennel’s height in the 1920s, there were nearly 50 adult collies as well as two to four litters living at Sunnybank.

Terhune’s Collies could often be seen at dog shows throughout New Jersey.

Over 80 ribbons and trophies are preserved in the Wayne Museum’s collection. Today, many Rough and Smooth Collies trace their lineage back to Sunnybank.

Lad made Sunnybank famous but Ch. Sigurd, known as Treve, brought the first Championship to Sunnybank. Treve, Ch. Sunnybank Sigurd is pictured below. He died weeks after acquiring his championship. Terhune considered Sigurdson the best of Treve’s sons.

CH Sunnybank Sigurd, Treve

Treve's son, would only respond to the name of Squire.

His grandson, Thane.

Sunnybank Today

Even today Sunnybank boasts spectacular views in a peaceful, tranquil setting.

Commemorative Bench

A park bench dedicated to the Master and Mistress of Sunnybank, decorated with a commemorative photo insert

The Evening Lookout

Perched atop this walkway you can view the lawn of the property and then the lake below.

The Lily Pond

The Terhunes’ love of animals even extended to frogs and goldfish they named and kept in a pond near the kennel. This frog was mounted in the center of the filled-in pond until sadly it was removed by vandals and destroyed. It has been replaced by a concrete memorial. The real frog’s name was “Jack.”

The Grave of Lad

Lad
Thoroughbred In Body and Soul
1902-1918

Terhune wrote dozens of novels about his dogs, beginning with, Lad, A Dog. Its popularity quickly gave rise to numerous other books including, The Further Adventures of Lad, and Lad of Sunnybank.

Wandering through the woods, you will find a line of markers, resting places of  Collies of Sunnybank. At another gravesite is a bolder marking the resting places of Wolf and Bob. Smaller  stones about the boulder memorialize the names of Fair Ellen, Champion Sigurdson,  Champion Explorer and   Champion Thane. There you will also find the grave of Tippy, Anice’s  15 year old Persian cat.

The Gathering

The Gathering,” sponsored by the Collie Health Foundation, is held at Sunnybank the third weekend of August. This magical place, Sunnybank, served as the setting for many of Terhune’s famous dog stories. Saturday and Sunday each have their traditional activities.

Saturday is devoted to the Sunnybank story, Albert and Anice, and the Sunnybank Collies.

Speakers bring the past back to life and the breeze brings us to understand the magic that is Sunnybank. Saturday afternoon may be devoted to clinics and Sunnybank-centered events!

Between the activities, there is plenty of time to wander the park, explore the paths, and find the graves of various Sunnybank dogs. Saturday evening brings everyone together for dinner at a local establishment.

Sunday brings us the Virtues Match, the Lad Memorial Match, and so much more. There are silent auctions, premium items with the theme of this year’s Gathering, and promotional items from CHF, plus exciting live auctions each day.

The Gathering brings together friends, both two- and four-legged, Collies and non-Collies…all hoping to breathe the sweet air and listen to hear the magic of voices gleefully barking from the past. Is it the wind or the sound of the souls that still wander the grounds?

Only those who personally experience the magic of Sunnybrook can answer that question.

Collie Health Foundation Logo.