Contact Us | About Us | Volunteer | Local Links           
200 Years of History

200 Years of History

Jump to:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI
Part VII
Part IX
Part X
Part XI
Part XII
Part XIV
Part XV
Part XVI
Part XIX
Part XX
Part IX: Nolan’ Point Amusement Park: 1887-1930’s
By R. Richard Willis

With the arrival of The Central Railroad of New Jersey at Nolan’s Point, a great potential for easy transportation was at hand. As with many transportation systems such as the railroad and trolley lines, on weekends and holidays fewer people used the system. So the rail lines usually built at “end of line” amusement parks and picnic grounds to offset the lack of weekend and holiday use of their systems. At Nolan’s Point, Lake Hopatcong, this was a natural for an amusement park, boating, swimming and picnic grounds. Soon after the Central Railroad arrived at Nolan’s Point they constructed an amusement park with picnic area. At first it was make up with simple apparatus usually “people powered” such as “Log Roll”, “Self-propelled merry-go-round” and “Giant Lawn-Porch Swings”.

The "people powered carousel” was eventually converted to steam. When electricity became popular this change was incorporated, making the carousel the most modern. Mr. George Hulmes of the Black Line purchased a new electric carousel from New York State. He also built a carousel house that protected it from the weather. Prior the building of the carousel house, the carousel moved its location often. In the early 1920’s Mr. Hulmes’ carousel was moved to Bertrand’s Island Amusement Park. And a new carousel was purchased for Nolan’s Point.

The picnic grounds were neatly cared for and no alcoholic beverages were allowed in the park. All the tree trunks were white washed (painted) and the smaller trees had little white fences surrounding them. A white plank fence separated the amusement and picnic area from the local residents. Also there were two covered picnic pavilions one large and one small. Modern public restrooms were provided as well as, pure spring water, this spring still flowing in 2004.

This amusement park was unusual for it depended upon the railroad primarily and secondary by the excursion boats for their customers. So no parking lots were constructed. In latter years ads did mention that there was a parking lot for 4000 cars. Yet none of the locals ever saw this lot. So much for truth in advertising! The only parking available was on the grounds of the old burned Icehouses, first and second Allen’s Pavilion Hotel sites and on top of the railroad tracks.

With the development of the Bertrand’s Island Amusement Park, The Amusement Park at Nolan’s Point went through a sprucing up period. New attractions were added. Such as “An Anderson Aero Plane, Skooter, Whip, Merry Go Round, Miniature Railway, Deep Dipper wooden roller coaster the second oldest in northern New Jersey (Bertrand’s Island was the first). Penny Arcade, Complete Kiddie Park with, Pony Track, Playgrounds, and Baseball Diamond. Fun for all: Refreshments, Lunch Stands, Restaurant, Shady Picnic Groves, Ovens for Picnics, Bathing, Boating, Fun House, High Striker, Shooting Gallery, Boardwalk, Dancing, Vaudeville, Walking Charlie, Souvenir Stands, Palace of Illusions, Photo Gallery, and Rabbit Races.”

But the park was short lived, as they still did not have parking for their guest as mentioned above, and the Central Railroad stopped commuter service by the late 20’s, only special excursion and freight trains arrived at the Point. The park closed in 1933 briefly and finally in 1935. By 1940-41 the railroad tracks were being removed and the Roller Coaster was taken down. Artie Johnson’s Restaurant also moving away from the Nolan’s Point Amusement Park to his new location on Espanong Road (Valerie’s at Lake Hopatcong). Later the amusement park’s fairway and picnic grounds became “The Nolan’s Point Park Development”. Which Mr. Frank Crater was developed!