03 January 2013
In the autumn of 2011, Seth Katz acquired his second marina at Lake Hopatcong with the purchased of the Royal Wave Marina in Great Cove, which was known for many years by lake residents as Hockenjos Boat Yard.
Katz’s Marina at the Cove actually started life with a very different purpose. The Kenvil Lumber Company and General Store had been operating a business at Lake Hopatcong since 1894 on Espanong Road near Nolan’s Point, where Jefferson Lumber is located today. In 1910, in response to the ongoing building boom at the lake, the owners of the Kenvil Store decided to open a second location directly on the lake. A concrete building was constructed on a solid concrete pier in Great Cove. It operated as a true general store offering such diverse products as lumber, hardware, groceries, meats, produce, and household goods.
During this era most transportation around the lake was by water, not by land. Steamboats regularly carried passengers around the lake and most businesses made deliveries by boat. Roads at the lake were generally poor and the horse and wagon
still far outnumbered automobiles. Recognizing that private boat ownership was growing, the Kenvil Store was designed to accommodate the new pleasure craft. Customers could drive their boats directly into the store, select merchandise and have it loaded right into their boat. It was in actuality a very early boat “drive-in” and was advertised as “The Concrete Store Where You Sail in the Door.” The July 2, 1910 issue of the Lake Hopatcong Breeze commented that the store’s unique design was “probably not duplicated in any other store in the United States.”
The Kenvil Store was also unique in that it was the first location at Lake Hopatcong where customers could have gasoline pumped directly into their boat’s fuel tank. Previously gas at the lake was dispensed only into containers.
The Kenvil Store operated in Great Cove for 18 years, until 1928, when it moved all operations back to the Espanong Road location. In 1930, the business on Espanong Road became Roxbury Lumber Yard, then, Drake’s Lumber Yard, and since 1948, has been the home of Jefferson Lumber.
Meanwhile, the “drive-in” on Lake Hopatcong was sold to the father and son team of Hockenjos and Hockenjos, who were then operating a boat yard at Nolan’s Point as well as the docks and tour boats at Bertrand Island Park. The Hockenjos’s converted the Kenvil Store into a full scale marina and immediately became the local representative for an up and coming boat brand – Chris Craft. The store was remodeled with a new showroom and repair shop. In its first year of operation in Great Cove, the Lake Hopatcong Breeze reported that the marina more than doubled the eleven Chris Crafts then on Lake Hopatcong. The Hockenjos family’s ownership of the site was brief as they sold only five years later, trimming their properties during the Depression.
Although the business was sold to Nick Stenick in 1933, the succeeding owners all continued to operate the business under the Hockenjos name. Many at the lake associate the site with Elbie Kronenberg, who bought Hockenjos in 1958 and operated it for many years until his death. The name was finally changed from Hockenjos when it was sold a few years ago and became the Royal Wave Marina.
When purchased by Seth Katz in 2011, the original building was truly in need of work. It is great that it has been receiving care and restoration under its new ownership as it moves forward in its second hundred years at Lake Hopatcong.
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