200 Years of History
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
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!