by Jane Dobosh

The best known feature of the Stillwater area is probably Swartswood Lake State Park—the 1,774 acre state park, located on the shores of both Swartswood and Little Swartswood Lakes, features many activities all summer, as well as facilities for picnicking and camping. But there are myriad treasures throughout the rolling hills and three villages in that corner of Sussex County.

The lake was a major resort in the early 1900s, and weekenders took the train into nearby Blairstown through the 1940s. Although many of the local families took in borders throughout the summer, there were other places to stay. The North Shore Inn, visible across the lake, was once a booming hotel, as was The Casino and The Dove Island Inn, now a private home. Later, weekenders stayed in summer cabins. The Paulinskill River was dammed in the 1920s to create Paulinskill Lake, now primarily a year-round community, but which was for many years a collection of summer residences.

The history of the area started long before it was discovered by Brooklynites looking to escape the city heat. A map and driving tour guide is available at the township municipal building in Middleville and is a must for lovers of old houses. Some of the highlights are the Stillwater Mill and the nearby Casper Shafer house, a stone structure with an ornate porch. Shafer was one of the first three inhabitants of Stillwater. Whitehall, nearer the center of the village, is a large house surrounded by a white fence. It was built by Nathan Armstrong Shafer (son of Casper) and once owned by poet Joyce Kilmer's widow. The Presbyterian Church is the most prominent feature in the village. Opposite the church is the former Stillwater Academy, an old schoolhouse, now the historical society museum, which is open on Sunday afternoons all summer.

Like all communities settled in the 18th Century, Stillwater is the subject of many tales and legends. Grace Van Horn of Fredon, a lifelong area resident, is quick to debunk one of those stories: there is no Hessian cemetery in Stillwater. There is a very small private graveyard on the property owned by the Van Horn family from 1808 to 1965. Tales have circulated that Hessian soldiers are buried there, but the Van Horns know of no such burials. Many of the early settlers were German and there may have been some Hessian prisoners of war held nearby after the battle of Princeton, but there are no records of burials. The cemetery is still private property, Van Horn says. The legendary Ice Cave is also on the former Van Horn property. Roof says there is a cave in the mountain that is so deep there is always ice in it.

Although Stillwater Township is still a farming community, the village has a number of shops and businesses of interest to the visitor including antiques and collectible shops and galleries, as well as nearby restaurants

Like most farming communities in this region, the Stillwater area was dotted with lime kilns. Most are not accessible from the public roads and many are in disrepair, but you can find a wonderful example of an intact kiln on Millbrook Road a little more than two miles from Stillwater village. Frequently stones have been removed from the kilns for later construction projects or trees have grown up within them. But the Millbrook kiln has escaped both fates, according to Donald Robbins, a local expert on lime kilns. Whether walking through the village or driving through the entire area, the visitor feels that history is still alive in Stillwater Township.

Nearby accommodations and attractions

  • Ochs Orchard
  • ?Homegrown fruits and vegetables available when in season. Honey, peanut butter, jams and jellies, homemade hard and soft ice-cream. Cider made on site from Red Delicious for sweetness, Winesap for tang, McIntosh and Empire for body. Honey, peanut butter, jams and jellies, homemade hard and soft ice-cream. Market open June through January.

    4 Ochs Ln, Warwick 10990, 845/986-1591

  • Silver Canoe and Raft Rentals
  • Canoe, rafts and kayak rentals on the Delaware River. Low rates, group rates, prompt and friendly service. 1 1/2 hr from NYC.

    , Port Jervis, NY 12771, 1-800-724-8342

  • Grey Towers
  • Sussex County Strawberry Farm
  • U-pick strawberries (June), raspberries (late August), and pumpkins (October). Greenhouses with wide selection of hanging baskets and bedding plants. Outdoor wood and poly furniture.

    565 Rt 206 N, Andover 07821, 973/579-5055

  • Harmony Ridge Campground
  • Outstanding family facilities near Culver Lake and Stokes Forest include over 200 sites on 160 acres, cabins, trailers, tent sites, camp store, laundry, hot showers and full range of on-site activities.

    23 Risdon Drive, Branchville 07826, 973/948-4941


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Al DePaola
19 Aug 2016, 11:16
Hi Judy,

I don't remember the rec room. I recall the entrance to Villa Clara had a stone type wall. Before you went up to the rooms on the left there was a game room with pool and ping pong tables. Remember there was a floating barge in the lake, row boats, turtles and eels.
Pat's wife was named Anne and there was a handyman on the property named Barney. My grandfather used to hunt rabbits in the woods. Remember thinly cut veal cutlets that tasted great. I can hear the jukebox playing in the room adjacent to the dining room.
18 Aug 2016, 07:18
Hi Al,
Yes, the names you mention are the ones that I've had in my mind too, but I wasn't sure I remembered correctly. I also played with Carole during my summer vacations there.

Do you remember the rec hall down at the end of a big field? I got my first bee sting running through that field, and I also tried to light an old cigarette butt there to see what smoking was all about. I decided it was highly overrated and never tried again.

One thing I have strong memories of at Villa Clara is the huge meals we were served daily in the main dining room. Every meal had a delicious homemade Italian soup, followed by a giant bowl of salad (my first direct experience of olive oil, which, although I came from an Italian family and we basically cooked Italian at home, I had never tasted on salad), a pasta course, and then the main plate (meat, veggies, etc.). Even as a pre-teenager, I loved to eat, and those meals were amazing in my eyes!

Al, what other memories do you recall of your times there? By the way, where was your year-round home? I grew up in Paterson, graduated from high school there, and then also graduated from (at the time) Paterson State College, now William Paterson University. Now I live in Ocean County, NJ.

Do you have any old pictures taken at VC? I might have a few to share, stored with my mother's things. i'd have to look through them.


Al DePaola
25 Jul 2016, 06:21
My Italian grandparents used to take me to Villa Clare when I was a kid. Believe the owner was Pat Monteleone. They had a daughter named Carole that my sister and I used to play with.
21 Jul 2016, 09:22
Hi Andrea (re your post in 2012)

Are you still looking for someone who can share information about Villa Clara? I used to vacation there in the early 1950's. Get back to me if you read this, and we'll correspond.

18 Jul 2015, 11:31
I remember going to camp rosemartin back in 1958 or 59 with my younger sister, had a great time always thought it was in penn. not nj. remember fritz the camp director?, he lived in Irvington we, lived in Newark I had a big crush on him, found out where he lived and went and visited him!! he was a gentlemen!didn't hurt my feelings one bit (must have been 8 years my junior!
20 Jun 2015, 11:28
Additional history of Dennis Memorial Camp may be found at the Old First Presbyterian Church on Broad St. in Newark, NJ.
Dave Caton
29 May 2014, 08:56
I've been trying to contact anybody from the north shore house phone number doesn't seem to work. I was referred to you by Tom Decker from the Swartswood sailing club . I've sailed the lake for many years and looking to Store my sailboat on a trailer for the summer If you could help me please call Dave Caton 973-809-4480
22 Apr 2014, 19:32
I am looking for photos of Upper Lake Plymouth dam being built during the 1950's. The dam is located off of Route 617 (also called Owassa Road) in Stillwater Township. Today, it is known as Lake Plymouth. Thank you.
Jack K.
07 Feb 2014, 20:19
1960-1962 my junior high science teacher was Donald Wacker. Wacker was the Camp Director at Camp Dennis in Stillwater. Every 4-6 weeks he would take 5 of his students to Camp Dennis for weekends in the off season. We stayed in an old farmhouse across the street from the main camp. There was no running water in the off season but the house had an old pump by the kitchen sink that worked well once it was primed. We used to take a trail up through the woods to the senior camp....I don't recall the name. I remember that Wacker had a twin brother and, later on he got married and I believe he and his wife bought a camp in the Poconos. Sometimes we would go into Blairstown to an old ice cream shop that had a great pinball machine. It was the first time I ever saw Moxie soda.
Mary Jean Muli-Florit
14 Aug 2013, 15:03
When I think of summer vacation, I only think of Louis Lake House. My whole family went there for vacation..even before I was born. My mom and Dad...Mike & Ann brothers Frank, Russell and sister\r\nJoAnn and me Mary Jean. I remember going every Memorial Day Weekend, first 2 weeks in July and Labor Day Week. When often talk about Louis, JoAnn,Frank and brother Russell passed away in 2009, mom and dad are also gone. Soooo many memories Lotti's across the street the best peanutbutter cookies and choc cupcakes ever..JoAnn and I learned to swim in the just tossed us in..sink or swim...we swam.....crossing over the bridge at night...we were told to cover our hair...BATS...they like hair...walks to echo valley.....Michael Im sure you remember that....i remember once we all walked the 5 miles to Newton just to see if we could do it....we did but thank god we saw Rita and she gave is a ride back...Oh sooo many fond memories I only wish my kids could of had that kind of childhood....Not a care in the worries...the only thing we had to worry about was what to be in the cosutme party and how much money we got to by 1 cent candies at Charlies up the hill....
ann marrone
19 Jul 2013, 10:17
It was the middle 1950's, my parents and older brother with his wife (Dolly) went every year to Louis Lake House--it seemed the same people booked the same week. It was a wonderful week spent together with good clean fun for all. My brother (Joe Prudente) was one of the bathing beauty contestant's--if anyone reminders -- he was the life of a party!!!\r\nDoes anyone remember BORIS --he was a waiter there, well I had a crush on him. He didn't even know I existed.\r\nLeft with wonderful memories.\r\nAnn \r\n
30 May 2013, 17:46
Would truly appreciate knowing of some resources which could tell me about my ancestors who resided in the area.\r\nZephaniah BELL b. abt 1743. I'm trying to learn who his parents were.\r\nSupposedly Isaac BELL b abt 1715 and\r\nRhoda AYERS, but 'Pioneer Families of Northwestern NJ' reports her year of birth as 1737 which is too early to fit into my puzzle.\r\nThanks for any input.\r\nThe area must be lovely.
Jim Kollbocker
07 Apr 2013, 07:32
I was a counselor and then Program Director at Camp Dennis/Camp Rosemartin in the summers of 1959,1960,1961, and 1962. The camp director was a Don Warner(?) - not sure of last name, I believe the nurse (Betty?) was his girlfriend who he later married and was no longer at the camp. Jim ? was nature director, two guys were in charge of the horses and horseback riding, etc. We use to have a lot of fun the first 6 weeks for just the boys and the final 4 weeks for the girls. If anyone was there then and has any information, please let me know.
barry wheeler
18 Feb 2013, 09:47
I was the life guard in the '64 season. What a hoot! Got a great tan and 300 bucks pls great food. Was working a job w/GE in Newburg NY many years ago and decided to take a drive down to Louie's.Alas by then the place had ceased being a resort and had been turned into a low level boarding house. The pool was gone only the steps to it remained. This was the summer of the "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution". I remember sitting by the listening to the radio. The big story then was Vietnam and a guest tapped me on the shoulder and said "You're gonna be there". My reply was"nah it will be over before my college deferment runs out". 4 years later guess what? Anyway it was a GREAT summer!
Tina m. Scarnecchia
19 Oct 2012, 11:42
Hello everyone who wrote about Louis Lake house! There's a facebbok page to share all your memories, join up if you haven't already. Everyone is excited to see pictures and hear stories! Judy Berneger started the Facebook page! Thanks!
Steve Jones
16 Oct 2012, 18:40
No, the open lot (part of the park) across from the house with a boat is the location.
Mary R
12 Oct 2012, 08:22
Hey Steve - that house with the boat - is that where the main house was? And where is the Annex ? is that the house next door? I forgot where it was now. \r\n\r\nMary R.
Steve Jones
04 Oct 2012, 20:58
1070 County Road 521, Stillwater Township, New Jersey, United States \r\n\r\nGoogle Map this address. That's where Louis Lake House was.
15 Sep 2012, 12:59
I am compiling a pictures for a presentation on the summer camps of Stillwater and surrounding area...I would very much love to have copies of any pictures folks are willing to share especially of Camp Dennis as none can be found..thank you\r\n
Judy Bernegger
20 Aug 2012, 10:26
There is a facebook page for Louis Lake House that is dedicated to preserving its memory and the memory of all the fun times all those summers so long ago.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nor just do a search for Louis Lake House Swartswood, New Jersey on facebook. Ask to become a member and I will approve it as soon as I see it. I am Michael`s sister-in-law, Judy. Looking forward to sharing pictures and memories with you.
Michael Mercandetti
19 Aug 2012, 17:47
I've known about this website for some time now but put off writing about Louis Lake House because I wasn't sure if I could do it justice. I finally decided to give it a try.\r\n \r\nMy grandparents Louis and Tessie started the business long before I was born. They ran the resort from Memorial Day to Labor Day in a way that their customers seemed to almost always become their friends as well. When they decided to retire, my parents Rita and Joe and my aunt and uncle Mary and Eddie took it over. They ran Louis Lake House until the mid 70's when they decided to retire and close.\r\n\r\nFrom as far back as I can remember all my summers were spent at Louis Lake House. At first, my summers were just a vacation, like being at a summer camp with great food. As I got older I started working there. I spent a few summers in the kitchen washing dishes and preparing some of the food. In later years I moved up to the dining room serving food and drinks as a waiter. However working at Louis never seemed to slow down the good times. Even though we had to be up to have breakfast ready for the customers, we would still party all night long.\r\n \r\nI couldn't begin to say how many friendships were started at Louis. The kitchen staff, the waiters, the chamber maids, the bartenders and the lifeguards all became friends with each other as well as with the customers. Some of my closest friends today I meet at Louis over 30 - 40 years ago.\r\n\r\nThe pool parties, the Saturday night shows, the Labor Day beauty contest, trips to Stokes Forest and Swartswood Lake are only a few of the fond memories I have. I only wish Louis was around today so my kids could have experienced some of those times.\r\n \r\nI meet my wife Pat at Louis when she was 12 years old. We grew up together during those summers. We often talked of the great times we had together when we were kids. Pat passed away in 2011 after 30 wonderful years of marriage.\r\n \r\nLouis Lake House may have been torn down but those memories in everyone who experienced those days will keep it from becoming forgotten.\r\n \r\nIf anyone wants to correspond my email is:\r\n\r\nMichael Mercandetti\r\n
28 Jul 2012, 21:25
I would like to pass by the area where Louis Lake House once stood. Does anyone have the address.
21 Jul 2012, 17:48
A good guy Josh just left jersey Cities Liberty Park, He was amazing now at Stokes, he may be able!\r\n
Grace CAruso
21 Jul 2012, 13:55
I went to Camp Dennis around 1947. Can anyone tell me why it was called Camp Dennis and Camp Rosemartin? I also was sent by my church, Olivet Prebyterian Church, which was a part of the First Presbyterian Church on Broad ST in Newark NJ. Thank you.
19 Jul 2012, 13:36
Hello - Is anyone familiar with a place called Villa Clara in Swartswood Lake-\r\nmy mother(who is 89) remembers going there in the 1930s- I have looked everwhere and nothing comes up except a postcard - but no detailed information _ My sister, brother and I would love to get some history since our Mom's memory isn't what it used to be-\r\nThank you all- Andrea
Mary Rossello
02 Jul 2012, 11:07
Hey everyone- go to this link and see pictures of the lounge at Louies. \r\n\r\n ging-decade-69897-56.html\r\n\r\n
Guy Catrillo
03 Jun 2012, 10:01
I have sooooooo soooo many Louie's Lake House photos. I spent every summer since birth till they closed up there, it felt like death. I kept going for many years to the same area and Stokes is one of my favorite places on earth and I have been around the world.
Joe Guirreri
09 Mar 2012, 19:51
These are some wonderful descriptions of life around Swartswood and Stillwater. For Rich Latham, my grandfather (Giuseppe Guirreri), my father Leo, and Uncle Joe built the Holiday Hotel above Swartswood, beyond 5 Points at the sharp turn in the road. It was originally called Five Points Inn, also a 13 room boarding house. As Rich described, you can still see the swimming pool, tennis court, converted barn, and Bocce Ball area. My father and mother described many of the same activities and memories you all have described at Louis's Lake House. Many friends and relatives would come from Brooklyn to spend a few weeks or the whole summer at the Boarding House. It was also a working farm originally with cows, chickens, and horses. They almost lost everything during the Depression but stuck to it and came back. I would love to here from others if they stayed there. The pictures I have from the 1920's and 30's were all outside. I would love to see pictures of what is was like inside. It appears there were also other relatives in the area, Fontana, Liotta, and Accardi are family names too. We definitely need a place to post pictures.\r\nHave a great weekend\r\nJoe Guirreri\r\nCol, USAF (ret)\r\
Terry Tremarzo-Bierce
28 Dec 2011, 10:15
I would LOVE to see a Facebook page for Louis Lake House! I will start looking for old pictures ASAP!!! I have so many wonderful childhood memories of that place.......
Peter Schlenk
20 Nov 2011, 11:38
My mother, Mary Schlenk and Aunt, Nancy Sanzo went to Louis Lake House as teenagers in the 30s & 40s. My earliest memories are of vacations at LLH every summer. I was the lifeguard there in 1972. I have great memories of that place from 68-72. Drop me a line if you have similar memories. Perhaps we met. Pete Schlenk.
David E. Haycook
09 Oct 2011, 21:35
Trying to locate HELEN CASERTA who lives in Stillwater on potters road. She can conrtact me at the above address or on Facebook.
Dee Galvin
06 Aug 2011, 16:42
Hi Everyone...\r\nEarly 1970's my mom would take my siblings and I and my best friend to Louie's Lake House each summer for vacation. I loved it there and recall the food was out of this world! I have been searching the internet for history and photos of the house but have only found this site and the comments and memories that you have posted and shared on here. Someone on EBAY is selling a postcard from Louis Lake House but that is the only memento that I have found via internet. Such a fun place it was everyone so nice and happy the staff was wonderful. The talent shows and the rubber chicken award for best costume...guys dressed in their mom's bathing suits for the fashion show such a laugh! I do have a few pictures some place of the house and the pool packed up some place in boxes. I will make it a priority to find them soon and post. I also was taken there on vacation as a child back in the late 1960's ( maybe 1968, 1969) but those memories are vague but I know that we went there with the wives of the Gambino family and their children. I would love to start a facebook page group for Louis Lake House and would love if everyone who left a comment and memory of our summer's spent there would join...perhaps those that do have photos or video can post them to the Louis Lake House fan page. I wanted to contact each of you who posted here via facebook...but many of the profiles are private. Please let me know what you think about starting up a page on facebook to share our memories and photos. Such wonderful memories of a time that was so simple then. Thank all of you for sharing your memories and your history of Louis Lake House. I wish so much that it were still standing all of these years later..but it will always be in my heart and memory of childhood!
Nancy Iaria
16 Jun 2011, 14:20
I went to Dennis Memorial Camp during the 60's and have such wonderful memories from there. I wish I could find the names of other people that went there. I remember Peggy from Far Hills, Fritz was the camp director, Jerry who worked in the kitchen, a counselor named Bob . . . I think I went five or six years in a row. What great times!
Bob Zanotti
21 Mar 2011, 12:45
I have very vivid and strong memories of Swartswood Lake from back in the 50's and 60's, when my grandparents had a bungalow on the East Ridge. We had a beautiful view of the lake from up there. Louis' Lake House was a landmark. I was never in there, but a few years ago my wife and I drove past it, hoping to possibily spend the night. But alas, it was in the process of closure. Very sad. What a shame and pity that there is absolutely no accommodation at the lake to my knowledge. Bob, Switzerland
Frank Pace
19 Feb 2011, 04:44
My uncle's owned a bakery in Newton, and delievered bread to Louie's Lake house in the summer. Their names were Frank and Matt DeVita. There bakery was on Mill st. in Newton.
Frank Pace
19 Feb 2011, 04:42
Is Margaret and Edward Hill, who used to own Louie's Lake house related to Gene Hill, an outdoor writer for Field and Stream magazine?
Guy Fecarotta
12 Feb 2011, 12:14
I remember going to Louie's Lake House with my parents in the fifties and sixties. My dad had an uncle, Joe Ferina, who owned a house nearby. Brings back some great memories
Peter Grisafi
07 Nov 2010, 04:50
Just yesterday I was up in that part of the state--the first time since 1974. I saw the sign for Swartswood and thought of Louis's Lake House. I worked there a few short days tending bar on Memorial and Labor Days in 1974. I recall most of the guests were from NYC. The owners (who lived in northern Bergen County), their children, and guests were really good people. I recall the risotto special and that the rum cake was outstanding! Even at that time it was evident that kind of family resort--sad to say--would soon be a thing of the past. I often wondered what became of the property. So thanks to all above, especially Rose Sandford,for the historical information. In my travels I also passed Culver's Lake. I recall going to a resort there during the summer of 1963. I cannot remember the name, but the resort was similar. Thanks again to all. Peter
Bill Davenport
06 Nov 2010, 07:46
I remember Camp Dennis from the 1940's. I spent two summers there - once at age 8 (1945) and again at age 12 (1949). For the younger kids, there were cabins away from the road and closer to Paulin's Kill. The older boys stayed at cabins up by the lake which was a lovely long walk through the woods. Sunday services were sometimes held at the "Cathedral of the Pines" a small clearing in the forest. We sometimes "over-nighted" in our sleeping bags on a carpet of pine needles. I still remember the heavenly aroma. Would love to share memories with other former campers.
Sandra Dackow
19 Oct 2010, 14:24
Does anyone have information about Fritz's on Swartzwood Lake? My dad was a band leader and one of his first jobs was playing for a dance at Fritz's in 1935 (he was still in HS at the time). I came across a poster for the dance while going through his things. I would love to learn more about the Fritz place (club, restaurant, hotel?) \r\n\r\n Sandra Dackow \r\n
Joann Riggio Dura
12 Sep 2010, 15:55
This weekend my husband and I were driving to Lake George, NY and the country scenes and lakes always bring my memories back to Louis Lake House, I went with my parents Jack and Pat Riggio, my grandparents,Joe and Josie Riggio and my Aunt and Uncle John and Josie Riggio. I remember the great risotto and the munster cheese appitizers and the smell of the place. The last time I was there was in 1974, I was 14 yrs old. I remember that year the most, I met Steve, and Mike and I remember Guy who drove a hearst. I always wondered what happened to Steve, I remember him the most. I think there was a guy named Mike that was in the band maybe? Back then we wrote letters after the summer and Steve and I kept in touch for a little while, but then I meet a local boy and believe it or not, we dated until I was 23 and then married and we are still together. I will always remember Louis Lake House and would love to see some pictures. Maybe we can start something on Facebook for Louis Lake House and then we can post pictures for everyone to see. I miss those days and wish that some things can be redone, but we can't go back, we can only remember and smile.
22 Jul 2010, 08:10
We went to Louis's Lake house back in the late 50's into the mid 60's also. And have very fond memories of that place. I learned how to swim in that pool, but just jumping in without my "Tube" on, and almost giving my father a heart attack but I came back up and swam i new it was sink or We would hike the streams and enjoy the outdoors all week long. Lovely place, great memories. Thank you Louis' Lake House, and thanks Mom and Dad for taking us there.
Cindy Amato Dashko
13 Jul 2010, 16:35
I also have fond memories of Louis Lake House. We used to go almost every year. My Uncle Paul Giunta entered that beauty pagent around the pool and I think he almost won. I do have lots of pictures of back than I will try and post. I was probably 14 when my family used to go. I also remember all the dancing and music. My cousin Claire and I had such crushes on the band members. Randy played the drums and Stew played the accordian I think. Stew was my favorite. I also remember the ping pong tables outside and in the basement area where the kids hung out. Oh and the cocktail hour before dinner and sitting on the porch. Many happy memories there. I went with my grandparents Josie and Frank DeAmorim. Also Ann and Paul Giuna
joe mortara
16 Jun 2010, 12:12
when i was growing up, every summer my grandparents and the entire family of about 50 people would have a family reunion up there. i remember those costume contests, the shuffleboard and bocce ball courts and the pool. the older people would hang out in the middle of the lawn with their chairs and just talking and the kids would be all over. i remember the bell being rung at the lunch time hour - if we were lucky, one of us kids would be asked to ring the bell and walk through the property. the beautiful dining room, the food that you were never hungry after lunch or dinner and just the courteousness of the staff. my last name is mortara and my parents name is rita and phil. we found out that the owners were were rit and phil also. and the rest of the family had last name of rossi. every year we alwasy reserved for the following year and the family always looked forward to it. when i got married and had kids i had pics of the place and what it looked like and wanted to show it in person to my kids-- but i could not find it -- obviously it is not there anymore. it is places like these that families loved and now adays, these type of places are no longer there. lets get these places back.
Rich Latham
25 Feb 2010, 16:15
Hi to all.. My wife and I have lived in Stillwater, 30 years. We live very close to a now defunk resort that was known as the Holiday Hotel. We've been told that in it's day it was a getaway with two pools, tennis, shuffleboard, and a near by barn which hosted summer stock theatre.\r\nDoes anyone know details about this place!!
Edward Cosgrove
24 Feb 2010, 11:36
This is for Joseph Neigel.\r\n\r\nCamp Dennis was in Stillwater Village and not in Swartswood Village. It was on the road to Blairstown (RT 519?). I remember it because there was a pond across the street that was spring fed and had a couple of big white swans on it in the 1950's. It is near the Peter Wintermute house and next to the Johann Georg Wintermute farm. Both of these had stone houses built by the founders of Stillwater who came from Germany in the 1730's. Peter was an officer in the Revolutionary Army.
Joseph A Neigel
23 Feb 2010, 20:17
I went to Camp Dennis for two summers. I was a boy scout in Troop 8. We met in The Frist Presbyterian Church on 7th Street and So Orange Ave. I remember the food serving at the camp, and boxing matches that we Had to do. It was a grest place. I went there in 1957-58. I believe the church paid for it as I was an orphan and to poor to pay for camp.
06 Dec 2009, 00:14
I read with interest, the comments about Swartwood State Park & it makes me wonder if that park was close to a camp (Camp Dennis run by The Old First Church in Newark) that I attended in the very very early 1940's as a teenager. Our camp was right next to a branch of the Paulinskill River that we waded in it's clear icy cold waters. To get to a lake we walked up through the woods, many times slone( can you imagine doing that nowadays ) to swim. There was a farm close by where two of us went to carry back fresh milk in the tall & heavy, old fashioned cans for our breakfast. For a treat, a walk along a road bordered by a cementery got us to a small store-post office in Stillwater for a rootbeer float, cost all about 20 cents ! Would love to hear from anyone who can remember that long long time ago !
Lawrence Patrick
25 Nov 2009, 04:11
PS .. Oh yeah .. My grandfather use to drive us up to the Lake House in his Model T Ford car that looks like the pictured car in the above article which heads this posting... In the early 60's, it was a car that others might remember him by, for driving there. Not many of those cars were still on the roads at that time being used as everyday car.
Lawrence Patrick
25 Nov 2009, 04:01
I also have "fond summer memories" being at Louies Lake House. My Grandparents would take my brother and me up there in the summers during the late 50's and early 60's. My grandpaents last name was "Allotta" and along with my Aunt Alice and Uncle Bill Fritz, we would go there. I slightly remember the activities there, mostly from the Labor Days bashes. The Beauty contests or the Custume parties that were held at the big Pool - which was at the back yard of the property of the lake house. The "kids hang out" was the "game room" downstairs with its shuffle board table, pool and ping pong table along with a Piano that my father would play sometimes... I loved reading about all the similiar memories others had about their (Louies) Lake House stay. The place was almost always packed with people as others said in their posts. We once had to stay in the extra boarding rooms that were across the street, next to the brook, to the left of the hotel. I remember a Copperhead snake once being found in that Brook that ran along side the Hotel. The same brook me and my brother would go walk around on it's rocks, which we would turn over to find cray fish or go under the roadway bridge to find bats. I remember "like others" the smells around the place .. but my best memory smell was of the "hedges" that were in the front of the Lake House Hotel. I remember the dining room and the timely meals always served there. The placement dining room tables with white linen table cloths full of dishes, glasses and silverware for those meals. I was never hungry when those meal times came around, an would be hungry afterwards, So my Uncle would take me to get a Hamberger across the street at a small diner that was there. I remember once, during one of my make-up meal runs, seeing the "Elverly Brothers" who stopped there to eat at that diner. I also remember the farm around the area.. and the girl that jumped horses. She must have had a "lot of boy friends" that came and gone with their one or two week summer vacation stays at the Lake House. LOL ... I remember that they had Clydesdale Horses there. And would put them in a parade that I saw once in a while ... It must have been for the 4th of July or Labor day as I now remember. I know my family use to take a lot of 8 mm films from those stays there. I will contact my family to see if the films are still around. My Aunt Alice just recently passed away had them and maybe her daughter has them now. The Lake House seems to have had a lot of people all effected by the hospitalty and love that seems to have emitted from their stay there. I loved reading earlier posts about others memories, to fuel my own fond memories of those times gone by. They were a "simpler time" but they were RICH in LIFE. I thank the family members and personnel that ran the Lake House during my stays there for memories that can not be duplicated in todays world. :)
Terry Tremarzo-Bierce
10 Nov 2009, 12:20
Louis Lake House will always hold a special place in my childhood memories. My family went there every summer from the late 60's to late 70's. From the time I was 8 till I was 18 yrs old. My parents had a group of friends we met there every year. All us kids hung out together. We had such a great time. I sang at the talent show (the first and last time I ever did that!), and dressed up every year for the costume party. I remember crying at the end of every week. We all would exchange letters during the year and await the next summer when we would all meet again. Those were the days....
linda mongiovi
18 Oct 2009, 12:23
Years ago ( in the 60's I think) my grandfather used to hunt and collect nuts in the woods of Stillwater. HE once came upon a house and barn that had been strangely abandoned. It was obvious that the residents had some very nice things still left in the house and that they left abruptly. There was a stream next to it and an old well. I am asking because years later my brother was hiking there as he remembered Grandpa taking him there.At this time the house was completely fallen down and the barn also, he had a very strange eirie feeling come on him and he left immediatly and never went back but always wondered about the history of that place. This happened about 2o years ago to him. Since then he has come down with MS.
Steve Jones
03 Oct 2009, 10:34
Louis' Lake family went there from the 40's or early 50's until Joe, Rita, Eddie and May sold the place. I went there as a youngster in the late 50's through when I was in college (graduated 1976). I have a myriad of fond memories of the place.\r\n\r\nWe typically went for a week every year in July or August. Thefamily may have done some weekends there, too. My grandparents, Gus and Tavia (August and Ottavia) Magnani and their friends went there long before I was born in 1955.\r\n\r\nI have movies of Louis from the late 50's through the late 60's that are on DVD somewhere. There are pictures at my Dad's somewhere, too. He and my Mom, Eddie and Bobbie (Barbara) Jones loved Louis as did everyone in the family.\r\n\r\nI remember ringing the dinner bell, playing on the swings and the seesaw, swimming in the pool, playing bocce by the brook, getting poison ivy on the banks of the brook, going up the street to buy candy and comic books, and going down the street to Lena's tavern where my Granddad and Da would sneeak off for a cold one or a mixed drink in the afternoon. There was a new motel like addition accross the street that opened in the late 60's (the Lodge, was it?). The costume party (on Wednesday nights? I won going in drag in my Mother's dress once when I was 11 or 12) and talent show (Thursday nights?) were alsway fun and there was always some nightclub like weekend entertainment. I remember getting 5 cent (then 10 cent) little bottle of soda in the old 7 ounce bottles down in the recreation room and out in the old carriage house with the ping pong tables).\r\n\r\nMy favorite meal was always the risotto a la milanese with the peas in it. I think it was served for lunch- Louis was always a place that you had to diet after going because the food was spectacular as were the owners and staff. I think I remember Rose who and the owner's son Steve who both posted below.\r\n\r\nThe main house had an odor that I can still recall. It was a mix of spices and herbs, Italin food cooking, bar smells, and perhaps a dampness that was actually pleasant and is still in my memory banks. I can picture talking to Eddie behind the bar and Joe in the Kitchen with this wonderful smell wafting through my mind. Rita was always buzzing about (I guess she was the super organized one) and Mary also taking care of things. Such nice people!\r\n\r\nWeekends were always a blast as other friends and family members would join us and the place was always packed. The drives home were scary. There was an old widowed women Lena Sbuttoni (my brother's God Mother) who used to drink up a storm and then drive home (before today's attitudes; things were a lot different back in the early 60's). My Dad and I drove home with her fo some reason. My grandfather was leading the entourage, then Lena, my uncle and then my mother following in their cars. She was half in the bag and the most violent thunderstorm broke out. Lena wouldn't slow down and we made it home in one piece to Staten Island but it was exciting, getting lost at least twice in so doing. One trip up, possibly the first without my grandparents, we got lost. There was a turn of the road (Route 22?) where there was a church on a hill to the right. Well, no church and we went abouot 5 to 10 miles along until we realized it. My Grandfather navigated by landmarks and told my Mom to drive that way. As it turns out, the church had burned down earlier that year and my Mom and Dad always enjoyed telling the story. Gus and Tavia came to Louis' that weekend and we all laughed about the driving directions that never used street names.\r\n\r\nWe alwasy went in one day to Newton to shop. I used to buy Matchbox cars when younger but as a teen I bought a super 8MM camera. I took movies at Louis and never saw them because Dad's outfit was all regular 8MM. About 7 or 8 years ago I was transferring the family 8MM movies to VHS and found the super 8 reel. It was over 30 years old and never seen. \r\n\r\nThere was a gorup of people in the late 60's called the Quiet Ones who came at the same time. My parents hooked up with them and played cards, sang, drank and had fun. They were not quiet, though. More nice people.\r\n\r\nI have so many fond memories of Louis' Lake House. My last trip there my cousin Dotty and I drove up for the weekend. It was summer of 1973 or 1974. We worked summers in Manhattan and did not have the week off, so we went up for the weekend in the Rambler Classic, Gus' old car (he passed away in 1969 and Nonna (Tavia) gave Dotty his car, and she gave it to me in 1975) to meet my family. 35-36 years have passed but it seems like yesterday at times.\r\n
Mary Rossello
31 Aug 2009, 19:47
Has anyone found any pictures to post? And how do we post them ?
Len Soldano
18 Aug 2009, 17:36
I remember going there in the 70;s. I entered the talent contest .I must have been 10 or 11. I won 2nd place, I met a real nice girl there my age who lived on a farm nearby, and loved to jump horses. I also got to ring the dinner bell. I woud love to see any pics of the place.
Denise Liotta
26 Jul 2009, 08:14
Hello Joe Musso, My father and I are reading your emails regarding Louis Lakehouse. We are actually spending this weekend at Swartswood Lake trying to locate Louie's Lakehouse. My father would love to see any pictures you may have or the 8mm. He will gladly reimburse you for the cost of them. My grandfather worked in construction with the owner of the Lakehouse in the 40's and early 50's. The owners bought the Lakehouse in the 40's and then my grandfather painted all of the rooms inside and out. My uncle was a bus boy for years there and knew Rita the daughter? We were wondering if you knew the owners then>?? We think the names are Tesse and Louie Boataclona??? We are not sure of the spelling. He (louie) was actually my father's godfather. So we are up here remincesing. It seems it is torn down now. Any other info. you or anyone else can share would be greatly appreciated. My name is Denise Liotta and my father is Louis Bertinelli. my email is Thank you!!!
Veronica Fazio
26 Jul 2009, 07:15
As a child, I went to Louis Lake House every summer in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Janet Mercandetti and I were and still are friends. I also remember Mary and Ed, Joe and Rita, Steven, Michael, his wife Pat, Elaine and Guy. When I find some photos I will post them.\r\nI loved the "dinner bell" and having meals in the dining room. I remember costume night, the beauty contests, watching TV in the front room, the pool, the little playground, the bridge over the brook, walking up the hill...Great memories.
Edward Cosgrove
16 Jul 2009, 13:16
Luis Lake House has a long and interesting connection with my family. Margaret and Edward Hill were the owners of the Lake House in the early part of the 20th century before it became Louis Lake House. In their day it was open year round as an inn because originally it had been a stage coach stop. My mother, Helen Vail (Cosgrove) was the niece of Margaret Hill and came to live with her about 1915. She lived in the Hotel, as we still call it until the Hills sold it to the new owners. Part of the reason they sold it was because of a family fued with Edward Hill's brother, George, who lived on the other side of the brook that runs beside the property. \r\n\r\nThe Hills moved to Middleville at Keen's Mill on the Millpond part of Swartswood Lake about 1920 and ran a boarding house they called Lake Cottage. In the early 1950's I spent several summers there helping out my mothers cousin -May Serey who was the daughter of Margaret and Edward Hill. During this time I had some of the best summers of my life.\r\n\r\nI have many photographs of bothe the Swartswood Hotel as well as the Lake Cottage House and would love to share them.\r\n\r\n
14 Jun 2009, 13:11
for accardi farm i didnt find anything, but there are accardis still in/near stillwater, and perhaps one at dearborn farms now, there.\r\n\r\nfrom: \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFrank Luccarelli bought the 100-acre plot of land in rural Holmdel that would become Dearborn Farms,
09 Jun 2009, 10:55
Marc - I am so sorry. My aunt and uncle knew your godparents well. I did not know that Joe died as well. Terrible! So close together. I miss those wonderful years and would love to see pictures. I have some but I wish there was a website we could go to to upload some. I remember one Labor Day, it was so packed there, that me and my family and others slept on the front porch! Now that was a great place! \r\n\r\nMary Rossello
Marc Jeffrey Mikulich
09 Jun 2009, 10:10
I went to Louis' Lake House from the before I could walk through when I got my first car. Rita & Joe Mercandetti were my godparents. Thinking of them now, as they have both just passed away, is how I came to find this page, Many memories of hanging with Steven and Michael and Guy. (Debbie Riccio, I remember you too.) Every Labor Day weekend I think of Louis, and I am sure, always will.
01 Jun 2009, 14:06
Hi - I used to go to Louis Lake House with my family in the 60s and early 70s. I certainly do remember that beauty pageant on Labor Day and the talent contest. If anyone has any memories to share, I'd love to hear about them! It was a very special time.\r\n\r\nMary
Mary Rossello
01 Jun 2009, 13:05
I'd like to know any new comments on Louis Lake House.
29 May 2009, 14:59
Hi! Does anyone know the location of the old ACCARDI Family Dairy Farm in Stillwater NJ? My grandmother: Mary DeRosa worked on that farm in the early 1930's. If this sounds familiar please email me. Thanks! Carmela
Debbie Riccio
01 May 2009, 16:33
I always went to Louis's Lake House with my mom and dad every weekend in the summers. That is the most favorite memories of my Life, I mostly remember the beauty contest they had every labor day weekend at the end of the summer, I was in it about 3 time the 3rd time it was a charm, I won 1st place, I was friends with the owners son Mike. And many others that frequent the house, the porch in the front was the old peoples hangout. The game room downstairs was the kids hangout, and I was always there, with Guy, Donna, and Mike. Wish those days were back again. Bye guys. Enjoy those memories....Debbie
17 Apr 2009, 16:19
Does anybody have any information on the forest fire back in the sixties. The fire spread along the ridge that follows Owassa Road in Stillwater. We got to see the helicopter come down for water from Mud Pond early one morning.
17 Apr 2009, 16:14
I remember going to Louie's for church on Sundays. I was really young but I remember sitting on the stairs because it was packed with people. After Louie's, they started using the fire house for mass. I remember sitting on those old ice cold folding chairs.
Dominick Bertuccio
25 Mar 2009, 11:22
My Aunt and Uncle lived next to Louis's Lake House. My Uncle Andrew Fontana had a Chapel on the second floor of the house.\r\n\r\nDoes anyone remember this.\r\n\r\nBest to all,\r\nDominick
Joe Musso, Jr
04 Mar 2009, 08:32
I have some 8mm home movies\r\nof Louis's Lake House, Swartswood Lakes\r\nthat my Uncle Paul G. took back in the 1950s. If anyone is interested, I can put them on DVD for you. I have some photos also.\r\n Joe\r\n Musso
Bob Porto
18 Jan 2009, 07:12
I remember Louis Lake House as a kid. We stayed at another "boarding" house that my parents called "Harold & Lena"s. It wasn't on Lake but across the road. They had bocci courts and served the best pizza.
Randy Novick
01 Dec 2008, 22:17
Hi Steve,\r\nDo you remember me? I was the band leader from 1974-1978. I had the best time of my life at Louis Lake House.\r\n\r\nRegards to the family.\r\n\r\nRandy\r\
Steve Mercandetti
23 Sep 2008, 18:58
Paul,\r\n\r\nMy folks Mary & Ed Mercandetti and my aunt and uncle Joe & Rita Mercandetti owned Louis Lake House. I spent all my summers at Louis and worked there in the kitchen. I have many fond memories of the guests and workers at the Lake House, especially Rose, Tim, and Danny Sanford.\r\n\r\nDo you recall what years you visited the Lake House?
Paul Stanziale
06 Sep 2008, 10:16
Ok I am struggling with this. Thank you both Rose Sandford and Fran D'Aquino for the information you have provided. I have more information That I would not prefer to share on this public forum. My email should be attached.
Fran D'Aquino
06 Sep 2008, 09:48
Thank you as well. I did not find a way to email you.
Rose Sanford
06 Sep 2008, 09:39
Thank you for your descriptions. I am forwarding them to my family members who have interest as well.
Fran D'Aquino
05 Sep 2008, 13:29
My grandmother and grandfather ran a 13 boarding house about 70 years ago in Swartzwood. My mother and her siblings spent many summers hanging out at Louie's lakehouse. I remember her telling us how they got all dressed up and went to Louie's to go dancing. \r\n\r\nMy brothers, sister and myself as well as my very extensive list of cousins spent our summers at my grandparent's 13 bedroom boarding house. Those are some of my fondent memories. Walking up and down long country roads with a nickle to buy candy. My grandfather grew vegetables on the 3 acre land and we kids sold them on the side of the road. \r\n\r\nWe remember folk like Mr. and Mrs. Golden, who could always be found on their front porches in thier rocking chairs. Oh yes....and the Peachy Peachy farm, were we bought bushels of peaches so large and juicy that the nectar ran down your arm as you ate it.\r\n\r\nBob oh boy, those were the good old days.
Rose Sandford
03 Sep 2008, 12:27
Hi Paul,\r\n I worked at Louis Lake House in '72 through '75 - My husband's family lived across the street -(up the hill)and he also worked there - Actually that's where we met - we were married in 1975 - Still married 33 years later and now live around the corner.\r\n Louis shut down around '78 ish - none of the childen wanted to take over the business and people weren't coming up. Anyway, Joe & Rita Mercandetti sold it to a local businessman in '80.\r\n At first, it went well - for about two years - lots of weddings and noise-\r\nwe lived directly across the street at the time. Now a tan two story house.\r\nAfter a few years people stopped coming and it closed again. When it reopened in '85 ish the one partner decided to rent out rooms and it became the beginning of a long night mare in our lives. The owner became a bail bondmens and before you know it we had many criminals living there. (Including the pizza muderers you may have read about - they ordered pizza to be delivered to an empty house in Franklin, NJ and then shot the two delivery men when they arrived just for the "fun of it"\r\nAnyway, the town was little help even thought there were many violations and it shut down around mid '90 when the owner ran off with his young girlfriend to FL. \r\nMany business men looked at reopening but with new and strict septic/potable water laws it cost so much to bring up to standards it was cheaper to build something new.\r\nFinally, the State wanted to purchase the land to protect the brook nearby which drains into Swartswood Lake. It took many years but the old owner (guy in FL) had a wealthy cousin who held a lien on the property (money borrowed many years ago) When he got involved deal with the State went through- the building was taken down and it became part of the state park.\r\nHe was such a stand up kind of guy that I heard he even gave some of the proceeds to the owner in FL and his ex-wife. \r\nI'm not sure where my photo's are but if I find them I'll try to forward to you - I'm sure the kids know how to get them into the computer.\r\nYes, it was a great place and great time but unfortunately not many families vacation like that anymore. We have very fond memories of the place too.\r\nHowever, after many years of problems I try to remember it as it was in the '70's -\r\n I was a chambermaid in the main house - floor 2 during the summer. I also, served drinks on weekends - after convincing Joe & Eddie that the girls should be allowed to waitress too. That took two summers of working there. Imagine that - girls weren't allowed to waitress then. (Joe and Eddie were first class waiters at a four star restaurant in New York - where only men could wait tables)\r\nHope I anwered some of your questions -\r\nFeel free to email me \r\nTake care,\r\nRose Sandford\r\n\r\n
Paul Stanziale
30 Jul 2008, 16:55
Does anyone have any history of what was once Louis's Lake house. It was where there is a state park parking lot at this time. It was a place my grandmother took me when I was 8 years old. Looking for photos or memories.
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