HOPATCONG – The Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum hosted two events this past week. A presentation by Marty Kane, president of LHHM, presented “Going Out at Lake Hopatcong,” a historical look at places of entertainment around the lake, to a packed crowd at The Jefferson House. On Monday the museum hosted a postcard show.
220 people attended the event at The Jefferson House. The crowd enjoyed cocktails and a buffet dinner followed by a 60-minute presentation by Kane that included a slideshow of images and newspaper clippings courtesy of the museum.
Mascaraed and themed parties were the most popular events of the time in the early 1900s, said Kane.
Between 1910 and 1920, Lee’s Pavilion in Nolan’s Point was the center of entertainment on the lake. The area had a dance hall, shops and the Idle Hour Movie Theater, showing the top silent movies of the time. At this time, Bertrand Island began to develop at first with just a dance hall but it burned a few years later.
By the 1920s entertainment began to change. Prohibition changed a lot of things, said Kane. The many dance halls dotted around the lake were still active despite the ban on alcohol. At the same time, jazz music was making its way into the dance halls. Glasser’s (known most as the Northwood Inn) was one of the most popular place on the lake to go dancing, said Kane.
Bertrand Island built a second dance hall, the June Rose Ballroom, which became very popular. Couples dropped a dime into a container at the floor entrance, got to dance to a few songs, and either dropped another dime to stay or exited the dance floor.
In the early 1930s prohibition ends and the lake exploded with all kinds of places. The Northwood Pavilion was very popular during this time, said Kane. The euphoria lasts until after WWII, when again, a change comes to the lake.
During the 1940s and 1950s, said Kane, summer stock theater explodes, with famous Broadway actors spending their summers at the lake. The Lakeside Summer Theater, located on Lakeside Blvd. in Landing hosted many famous actors of the time, said Kane.
By the 1970s The Lighthouse in River Styx and Bertrand Island were the main entertainment on the lake, with most of the hotels closed or lost to fire.
In 1974 Peter Frampton played at the June Rose Ballroom. When Kane mentioned that 2013 is the 30th year of the closing of Bertrand Island the crowd moaned in sadness.
The Lighthouse was so popular at the time that the lakeside bar employed bouncers who roamed the neighborhoods keeping the peace. Kane believes the downfall of the entertainment industry around the lake is directly related to increasing the drinking age from 18 to19 and then ultimately to 21, which occurred in the early 1980’s.
“Whether you live on or use the lake or live in the area, you should know something about the area,” said Tony Noriega from Hopatcong. “I want to know about where I’m living.” He said he has attended many other presentations by Kane.
On Monday the museum opened its doors to host four local postcard dealers. A steady stream of visitors filed through the tiny historic museum house sifting through rows and rows of postcards. Most were looking for Lake Hopatcong specifically, like Kim Kadimik from Elba Point. She lives in a house that is 100 years old and has never seen an old photo of her house anywhere. She was not successful Monday.
Anne Puskas from Mount Arlington was more successful though, finding 10 postcards she liked. Never looking for anything specific, Puskas said she likes to find postcards that are written on and likes to find ones from places around that lake that are not in her collection. She estimates she owns upwards of 350 cards now.
“I travel. I spend lots of time looking for postcards when I travel,” she said. Puskas spent almost $170 dollars on her 10 cards and had to call it a night because she “ran out of money,” she said laughing.
Guests watching a slideshow presentation by Marty Kane at The Jefferson House.
Treasures found at the postcard show at the Lake Hopatcong Historic Museum.