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200 Years of History

200 Years of History

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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 X: Tourism in Jefferson Township: Part I of II
By R. Richard Willis

By the 1850's tracks for the Morris & Essex Railroad, later known as the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western passed Lake Hopatcong at Landing. With the arrival of the Central Railroad of New Jersey in 1882 at Nolan's Point, Jefferson Township, the Morris & Essex then build its first passenger station at Landing. The stage was set for Lake Hopatcong to become "The summer resort of the Northeast."

By 1840 The Hopatcong House is advertising in newspapers and magazines, as the only hotel at the Lake. The second hotel was The Lake View House in Mt. Arlington, but by the 1890's there's over 30 hotels and numerous boarding houses. In the area surrounding Lake Hopatcong in Jefferson there were about sixteen hotels.

The Airport Inn, located in Hurdtown (formerly Seward's Tavern) built prior to 1804. See Part 9, December 2003 article. *

The American House, built in the 1880's on Howard Boulevard, then known to the locals as American House Hill. The hotel was across the road from the Lake Hopatcong United Methodist Church. In 1919 the name was changed to the Ellsworth Hotel and in 1940's the hotel burned, the land is still vacant in 2004. *

The Ardsley Hotel, was located on Halsey Island. The Hoffman family of Somerville, New Jersey, built their summer Villa in the late 1800's. In 1920 the Villa opened as The Ardsley Hotel. The building faced Nolan's Point. This hotel was used in summers only, as Halsey Island did not have a bridge or ferry. In 1927 the hotel burned and was never rebuilt. The foundations can still be seen on the island. *

The Bellevue House, built in the 1900's, was located across the tracks from Allen's Hotel. This was a small boarding house operated by Wm. R. Hockenjos. This hotel changed its name to the Paterson House. Over the years it has had many names, currently its name is "Peter's Boat House". *

The Berkshire Valley Hotel, was located between the present Route 15 North and South. Approximately where Berkshire Valley Road and Route 15 intersects. The hotel was the site of many Jefferson Township meeting. Meetings were held in the bar, the bar would be closed, the meeting called to order quite often with the butt of a gun. All the business was done in one meeting, no postponing. A typical meeting was kept short; minutes in the book would take one or two pages only and covered everything from bounty on fox to the care of the poor. The meeting would be closed and the bar reopened. The hotel was taken down when Route 15 North was built.

The Chamberlain Hotel, originally was a farmhouse belonging to the Chamberlain family. It was built around the 1800's and by 1906 Mr. John Robinson & family purchased the hotel. They catered to theater performers, as Mr. Robinson was a former theater manager. Business improved so much a second larger hotel building was built. The first was demolished after the new building was completed. The name was changed to The Espanong Hotel, it faced Espanong Road and was located below the Jefferson Lumber Company. Many famous theatrical people frequented the hotel, such as Bert Lahr, the Rose Midgets, and Maggie (Blanche Jess) and Jiggs (Johnnie Jess), with so many theater people at the hotel, that the area was known as "42nd Street & Broadway". Mr. Edward Mewing purchased the Espanong Hotel, but in 1929 an electrical fire destroyed the building. The carriage house became the New Espanong, but this did not last to long, as the carriage house was not easy to heat and the icehouse became the final hotel and bar, its name was called The Espanong Chateau. *

The Erin House, was located on the corners of Brady and Espanong Roads. It was built in 1757, this hotel was also latter called Callaghan's Hotel. The original building was built of hand-hewn logs with dove tail corner joints. This building was used as a fort and dwelling. In the late 1890's an addition of a kitchen with guestroom above was added. The Consumer Coal & Ice Company housed their employees at this hotel. Also on the grounds were summer cottages, boat docks and a poultry farm, which completed this property. In 1954 Michael and Florence Chabon rented the bar and property, later they purchased the property. By the late 1950's while the hotel building was being lowered from its hill, the building collapsed. Presently Floraine Marine occupies this site. *

The Lake Pavilion, built in 1887 faced the Lake and was next to the Nolan's Point Icehouse. The name soon changed to Allen's Pavilion, one of the original owners. This building was three stories with small attic dormers. This building lasted until the fall of 1894 when the Nolan's Point Icehouse burned, the fire took Allen's and Lee's Photo Studio also. By 1895 Allen's #2 building is completed, this time its is four floor with no dormers, but at a quick glance, both building seem the same. Mr. Allen just moved the site of the second building to the north towards Castle Rock; all the surrounding buildings were also duplicated. But, fire strikes again and the hotel burns on September 8, 1919, this time the hotel changes its design, possible a bad idea. Allen's # 3 was a large building, which incorporated many of its old attractions into one building. Hotel, restaurant, bar, roller skating—dance floor and Post Office. This building was constructed out of used wood from "Fort Dix". Allen's # 3 had slightly slanted side roofs with the central roof section being almost flat. During the end of the 1940's the Lake had a bad blizzard. There was much snow, some say six feet or more, then the weather turned to rain, with all the weight of snow and rain, that roof collapsed. What remains of that building is now the Windlass Restaurant. *

Lee & Company or Lee Pavilion, was built in the 1890's, it was a small family run hotel. The Central Railroad tracks ran behind the hotel, making it easy for their guests to arrive at the hotel. Additions were added as business increased. At one time you could get anything ever needed at this complex. – Hawley's American and Chinese Restaurant, hotel rooms, boat rentals, boat rides, Greenbaum Brothers Bakery, souvenir shop, department store, fishing equipment, Oddo's Barber Shop, pool parlor, grocery & meat shops, Idle Hour Movie Theater, Harris Photo Studio, gasoline, kerosene, steam laundry, Grish's Ice Cream Parlor, block ice, beer and liquor. October 27, 1924, Lee's Pavilion and surrounding businesses burned. The fire started in the main building around 11:00 p.m., the fire destroyed thirteen buildings, which included the Harris Studio, Idle Hour Movie Theater and even the bulkheads of the docks. The fire could be seen from all around the Lake. After the fire, the hotel was rebuilt in 1925. The name changed many times, such as Kay's, Colony Club, Jefferson House Boatel, and The Jefferson House. The Orth family currently owns the Jefferson House. *

The Llewelyn House and Cottage, located on the southern shore of Great Cove. It was built in the latter part of the 1800's. Mr. & Mrs. Walter J. Knight were the owners. Originally there was the main house and a cottage or annex, around 1906 the two buildings were connected. With this consolidation the hotel could accommodate 50 guests. By 1912 the name had changed to Villa Gerard and by 1920 the hotel is gone. *

* Photos of the above hotels can be found in. "Jefferson Township on Lake Hopatcong" an Arcadia book, available at The Jefferson Township Historical Society Museum, The Lake Hopatcong Historical Museums or Barnes and Noble Booksellers.