me there has always been a certain mystique about Mountain
This gracious community located in northern New Jersey has fascinated
me since my first ride down its stately central boulevard in the back
seat of our unassuming family sedan. While I was grateful not to be
motoring via the bus or subway, as was the case with much of my early
childhood, I suspected that there was something a bit more elegant than
my parent’s 1964 Dodge Dart lurking behind the garage doors of the
large homes dispersed along this handsomely landscaped thoroughfare
between Denville and Boonton.
Mountain Lakes is one of those
rare exceptions of planned development
that has actually succeeded in maintaining the intent and integrity of
its original design. The late nineteenth century vision of
surveyor/engineer Lewis Van Duyne was brought to fruition by developer
Herbert J. Hapgood and landscape architect, Arthur T. Holton. On March
11th, 1911 the family of Lawrence W. Luellen, the inventor of the Dixie
Cup, crossed the threshold of the first of nearly six hundred Craftsman
style houses that would be built by Hapgood in this suburban Eden.
Although paradise was promised, many of the early comers were subject
to the discomforts and difficulties associated with most new ventures;
but eventually the efforts of man and the effects of nature proved to
be compatible. Swamps and creeks were transformed into recreational
lakes. Patches of woodlands and rolling hills became lush flowering
gardens. And the abundant fieldstone, the result of glacial recession,
was liberally incorporated into structures throughout the settlement.
One such structure would secure the future prosperity of the town.
FOR SOME GREAT HISTORY
MOUNTAIN LAKES, NEW JERSEY,
CLICK ON THE PHOTOGRAPHS BELOW:
by Chris Poh
APHR WISHES TO THANK THE MOUNTAIN
LAKES HISTORICAL PRESERVATION
AND THEIR REPRESENTATIVE, PAT
RUSAK FOR THE USE OF THEIR
OUTSTANDING OLD PHOTOGRAPHS AND LINKS TO THEIR ENGAGING ESSAYS.
1912 the Lackawanna Railroad opened the station at Mountain
This provided commuters direct access to New York City via the terminal
at Hoboken and the newly constructed Hudson Tubes. In short order many
wealthier upper middle class families abandoned the often oppressive
and foul conditions of city living in favor of the safety and serenity
of the suburbs. While the women and children tended to the
responsibilities of home and hearth, the dutiful fathers would wage war
in the urban jungle, transported to and from the battlefield by way of
their iron steed.
|GENTLEMEN PREPARING TO BOARD THE TRAIN TO
THEIR JOBS IN MANHATTAN
was a short period in my own life when I commuted to the city
over these same rails. I discovered that going to work, or quite
frankly going anywhere by train is very different than making the same
journey by car. The automobile for the most part is just an extension
of where you’ve been or where you’re going; but a train is a world unto
itself. And the stations are like chapels or cathedrals, wonderfully
crafted buildings where one can contemplate the journey ahead or simply
take the time to appreciate another safe return.
the time I got around to standing at the ticket window at the
Mountain Lakes station it was already operating as a fine restaurant
called the Phoebe Snow. Like its namesake
it was a grand idea that came
up just a tad short on substance. For whatever reason there wasn’t a
proper place to sit in order to just have a drink.
The original train-riding icon called
Phoebe Snow was
nothing more than a bit of advertising
fiction. She was employed to promote travel on the Delaware Lackawanna
Railroad during the early part of the twentieth century. But in 1949
the DL&W launched a streamlined luxury service between Hoboken and
Buffalo on a train named after the legendary lady in white. And this
beauty had all the amenities including an attractive tavern car.
|THE WARM, WOOD PANELED BAR
1999, after a two year closure, the restaurant reopened under new
ownership and a new name. Today THE STATION AT MOUNTAIN LAKES
its previous sophistication and charm, and after extensive renovations
can also boast an excellent pub space that was built in the baggage
room of the original depot. The current proprietorship of Kathleen and
Steve Turkot, along with Carlos Vasquez and executive chef Brad Cooper
had served well the dreams and aspirations of the founders of the
Lackawanna Railroad and this historic whistle stop community.
|THE ELEGANT, YET CASUAL DINING ROOM
a recent visit to the world renowned Lionel Train Shop, located
just a short walk from The Station, myself and associate editors John
West and David McBride adjourned to the bar for lunch and libations. We
discussed “O Gauge” and classic rock with the chef, (and musician Neil
Young’s connection to both). I found a patron who was
indulge my need to chinwag about politics. With pint in hand, David
went off to explore the finer details and architectural aspects of this
splendid building. And John retired to a quiet corner with his personal
journal and a glass of Cabernet.
|THE STATION'S RAILROAD HERITAGE
|IS OF THE ESSENCE
our afternoon progressed I came to the realization that good public
houses and well appointed train depots have much in common. Both
provide shelter from those harsher elements, and both nourish the body,
mind and soul in preparation for the journey ahead. This brilliant
trackside coupling here in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey does much to
improve one’s station in life.
|THE LACKAWANNA STATION IN 1912