Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird

Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird

Petty’s Island is a tiny island situated in the middle of the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden. In 1850, Ralston Laird immigrated from Donegal to Philadelphia. Shortly after his arrival, he set off for Petty’s Island, where he married, had ten children, and declared himself King. The generous king helped several struggling immigrant families to also establish themselves on the island. Over fifty years later, the island was eyed for industrial development. The elderly King was the last to remain when a mysterious fire finally drove him from Petty’s Island.

Today, the island is a fuel storage facility owned by the Venezuelan oil company
In April of 2009, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez offered to donate the island to the state of New Jersey for wildlife conservation. Details regarding the toxic waste cleanup are still being resolved between the two governments and the island remains off-limits to the public.

Using the historical society and the Internet, I tracked down and contacted all of the surviving descendants of the king, reestablished their royal status and minted a set of commemorative plates bearing their royal images. Artifacts from the site of the king’s former palace were also uncovered over the course of several unauthorized visits I made to the island.

Coincidentally, a group who identify themselves as the LKLA also permeated the island and painted a large-scale monument to Ralston Laird—the rightful King of Petty’s Island—atop one of CITGO’s remaining gas storage drums. It can only be viewed from satellite or aircraft, and from that vantage point, interestingly, bears a striking similarity to the Laird Family Royal commemorative plates.

I decided it only fair that Chavez be alerted that this once mighty kingdom is re-staking a claim on his land…

Videos:

Process

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Abandoned Citgo tank on Petty's Island, view of Philadelphia
Abandoned Citgo tank on Petty's Island, view of Philadelphia
Abandoned Citgo tank on Petty's Island
Abandoned Citgo tank on Petty's Island
Excavating at the Laird Palace foundation
Excavating at the Laird Palace foundation
Excavating at the Laird Palace foundation
Excavating at the Laird Palace foundation
Excavating at the Laird Palace foundation
Excavating at the Laird Palace foundation
Excavating at the Laird Palace foundation
Excavating at the Laird Palace foundation
Petty's island, only reachable by water
Petty's island, only reachable by water
Forest on Petty's Island
Forest on Petty's Island
Garbage rings Petty's Island
Garbage rings Petty's Island
Evidence of wildlife resurgence on Petty's Island
Evidence of wildlife resurgence on Petty's Island
The only authorized tenants of Petty's Island--and importing company
The only authorized tenants of Petty's Island--and importing company
Excavating at the Laird Palace foundation
Excavating at the Laird Palace foundation
Low tide: a muddy approach to Petty's Island
Low tide: a muddy approach to Petty's Island
The Laird Sisters
The Laird Sisters
Ellen and Rose Sage
Ellen and Rose Sage
William, Maggie and Margaret Waterhouse Morgan
William, Maggie and Margaret Waterhouse Morgan
Maggie, William, and Margaret Waterhouse Morgan
Maggie, William, and Margaret Waterhouse Morgan
Maggie, Kate and Nellie (Laird Sisters)
Maggie, Kate and Nellie (Laird Sisters)
The Sariti Family (Laird Descendants)
The Sariti Family (Laird Descendants)
Aerial View of Tanks on Petty's Island
Aerial View of Tanks on Petty's Island
1797 Deed to Petty's Island
1797 Deed to Petty's Island
King Ralston Laird forced to leave Petty's Island
King Ralston Laird forced to leave Petty's Island
Map of Greenwood Cemetary
Map of Greenwood Cemetary
Trouble in the Kingdom
Trouble in the Kingdom
Petty's Island sold from under King Ralston
Petty's Island sold from under King Ralston
Coincidental fire at the Laird Palace
Coincidental fire at the Laird Palace
More trouble on Petty's Island
More trouble on Petty's Island
Death takes king!
Death takes king!
Ralston Laird Obituary
Ralston Laird Obituary
Rosanna Laird, one of King Ralston's deaf daughters
Rosanna Laird, one of King Ralston's deaf daughters
The afflictions of royalty
The afflictions of royalty
Rosanna Laird, on of King Ralston's deaf daughters
Rosanna Laird, on of King Ralston's deaf daughters
Ralston Laird's Last Will and Testament
Ralston Laird's Last Will and Testament
Rosanna's obituary
Rosanna's obituary
Rosanna's son Rollie was a baby when she passed away on Christmas Day
Rosanna's son Rollie was a baby when she passed away on Christmas Day
Rosanna's son Rollie was a baby when she passed away on Christmas Day
Rosanna's son Rollie was a baby when she passed away on Christmas Day

Installation

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Give Me Monarchy or Give Me Death (2011)
Give Me Monarchy or Give Me Death (2011)
Spero Meliora (2011)
Spero Meliora (2011)
Aerial Documentation of L.K.L.A.-Occupied Territory on Petty's Island, 2010
Aerial Documentation of L.K.L.A.-Occupied Territory on Petty's Island, 2010
King Ralston Laird resurfaces on Petty's Island
King Ralston Laird resurfaces on Petty's Island
Dorothy Grand Duchess of Evesham, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Dorothy Grand Duchess of Evesham, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Prince Anthony of Bethesda, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Prince Anthony of Bethesda, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Prince Robert of Topanga, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Prince Robert of Topanga, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Princess Jill of Christchurch, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Princess Jill of Christchurch, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Sir Shawn Duke of Reno, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Sir Shawn Duke of Reno, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Lady Amy Duchess of Bethesda, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Lady Amy Duchess of Bethesda, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Sir Andrew Duke of Bethesda, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Sir Andrew Duke of Bethesda, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Count Damian of Denver, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
Count Damian of Denver, Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series, 2010
No Trespassing, 2010
No Trespassing, 2010
Letter to Chavez
Letter to Chavez
Royal Laird Family Tree (2010)
Royal Laird Family Tree (2010)
Plot Number K-2-129, Knights of Pythias Cemetary (2010)
Plot Number K-2-129, Knights of Pythias Cemetary (2010)
Plot Number S-146, Greenwood Cemetary (2010)
Plot Number S-146, Greenwood Cemetary (2010)
Historical Timeline of Three Coinciding Empires, 1800 to 2050, 2010
Historical Timeline of Three Coinciding Empires, 1800 to 2050, 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series sitting atop William Penn's mantle (Installation View)
Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series sitting atop William Penn's mantle (Installation View)
Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series (Installation View), 2010
Laird Royal Family Commemorative Plate Series (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Plot Number K-2-129, Knights of Pythias Cemetary & L.K.L.A. Process Video, 2010
Plot Number K-2-129, Knights of Pythias Cemetary & L.K.L.A. Process Video, 2010
Laird Royal Family Tree (Installation View), 2010
Laird Royal Family Tree (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Items and Objects Recovered From and Concerning Petty's Island (Installation View), 2010
Items and Objects Recovered From and Concerning Petty's Island (Installation View), 2010
Items and Objects Recovered From and Concerning Petty's Island (Installation View), 2010
Items and Objects Recovered From and Concerning Petty's Island (Installation View), 2010
Laird Royal Family Tree (Detail), 2010
Laird Royal Family Tree (Detail), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Reclaiming The Lost Kingdom of Laird (Installation View), 2010
Rumored members of the L.K.L.A: Parks, Duke, Sarah, Kitty Joe and Jade
Rumored members of the L.K.L.A: Parks, Duke, Sarah, Kitty Joe and Jade
Laird descendant Kathy Karn, 'Reclaiming the Lost Kingdom of Laird' Opening 2-4-10
Laird descendant Kathy Karn, 'Reclaiming the Lost Kingdom of Laird' Opening 2-4-10