George A. Day: General Manager of Idylease from 1904-1920

George Day at Idylease
George A. Day Served as General Manager of Idylease from 1904-1920. All rights reserved, may not be reproduced.

Early in life the Day family developed very close relationships and remained so throughout their lives. One of the family’s ties was that Dr. Edgar A. Day, who established Idylease Inn in 1902, hired his nephew George A. Day to serve as manager. After the death of Dr. Day in 1906, George assumed the responsibility of operating Idylease Inn.

About 1855, Anthony L. and his wife, Elizabeth S. Strait Day had settled on a 356-acre farm on Paradise Road in West Milford. They reared six children: Judson Frank who was called by the family members “Frank”, Alfred L., Edgar Arthur, Susan B., Mary F. and Elizabeth S. Day. They were a very close family and the parents had taught their children that to succeed in life one must be educated. Anthony L. Day had donated land for a school to be built in Stockholm. Books, newspapers, and magazines were readily available for the children to read. Though Anthony was not religious inclined, Elizabeth had deep religious convictions which she instilled in her children.

Their son, Judson F. Day, became a school teacher and taught schools around the old Stockholm area. He had married Annie Eckhart, Nov. 12, 1872. Many of the families in the Paradise, Clinton and Newfoundland area of West Milford intermarried as the families developed close relationships with their neighbors.

judson day and annie ekhardt
From the Grace E. Day photo collection are cameo portraits of Annie Eckhart at age 17 and Judson F. Day at age 25. Image courtesy of Beth Willis from the Day Photo Collection. All rights reserved, may not be reproduced.

Annie Eckhart Day was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Post Eckhart who lived on a 200-acre farm that occupied  both sides of Union Valley Road, north of Idylease. The family was listed on the 1860 West Milford Township census records as: William, farmer, age 51; Elizabeth, wife, age 50; Adaline, age 22; Harriet, age 20; Mariah, age 19; John, age 16; Anna, age 13; Martha L., age 11; Susan, age 9 and William, age 4. His property was sold to the East Jersey Water Company for building of the Clinton Reservoir. These families remained close to each other during their lifetime.

In 1973, Beth Willis had the opportunity to visit with another relative, Percy C. Davenport, son of Louis N. Davenport and Lillian Crayon (daughter of Joseph P. Crayon). Louis’s father, Lewis Davenport had married Christiana Eckhart, the daughter of William and Elizabeth Post Eckhart.

One of the items he had given Beth was a 4 x 4.25-inch card of a photograph of the Eckhart family including Annie Eckhart Day. It is undated. On the back of the card was typed, “The two in center first row were my grandmother and her twin sister Charity Thurston. After her husband’s death, she lived with my grandparents and her two sons were brought up same as my uncles.

Day Eckhart at Idylease
Photograph of the Eckhart family including Annie Eckhart Day. Image Courtesy of Beth Willis from the Crain Family Photo Collection. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced.

After Dr. Edgar A. Day had the Idylease Inn in 1902, he established the Newfoundland Valley Improvement Society and the North Jersey Poultry Association. William Eckhart had served as committee chairman of the public highway of the Newfoundland Valley Improvement Society. Several of his sons were listed as members of both or either of the organizations.

Judson and Annie had raised a family of five children: Charles F., George A., May, Robert, and Grace E. Day.

George Day General Manager of Idylease
Portrait of George A. Day from the Strait Family Collection. Courtesy of Beth Willis. All rights reserved, may not be reproduced.

About 1874, Judson moved his family to Brooklyn, New York where he went into business with his brother Alfred. There, George Anthony Day was born on May 25, 1876. About 1877, Frank and Annie returned to the farm on Paradise Road. There is reference in the Day family history that the area was called “Burdock Point”. In 1892, Frank and his family relocated back to Brooklyn. It was here that George A. Day married May Beyer on Feb. 20, 1907. They had twins, Charlotte and Albert Edgar. Charlotte was born Feb. 10, 1910 and died Nov. 1, 1918 at Newfoundland. Albert Edgar was born Feb. 10, 1910 and married Edith Harrison, they had no children.

When Dr. Edgar A. Day built Idylease Inn, he brought in his nephew George to be General Manager of the resort hotel in 1904. After Dr. Day died in 1906, George continued operating the Inn for another fourteen years.

After he left Idylease Inn, George became a New York supplies manager at Remington Rand. George and May had lived in Ridgewood, N.J., where they were members of the First Presbyterian Church for over thirty-five years. George retired in 1945. When May died Oct. 12, 1952, George went to live at 1021 Alps Road, Preakness, N.J. with his sisters, May and Grace.

George, May and Grace Day
From the Grace E. Day Collection is a September 1953 photograph, left to right: Grace E., George A., and May E. Day. All rights reserved, may not be reproduced.

George died March 25, 1955 and was buried next to his beloved wife, May, at the Preakness Reformed Cemetery in Wayne where they had been members of the church since living in Preakness.

As with most of the Day family, George A. Day had a long productive life based on his deep religious convictions.

Beth Willis, June 20, 2017
Support Graphics by Richard Zampella

Beth Willis is a history writer and regular contributor to the Idylease History Blog. She currently resides in Lockport, New York. Beth is the curator of the Strait, Walther and Day genealogies and photo collections. Recently, she completed a 639-page manuscript entitled, “The Inhabitants of the Neighborhood……… A Pictorial History of Snufftown, now Stockholm, Hardyston Township, Sussex County, New Jersey and its Vicinity” that includes over 900 historical photographs.

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From Edison’s Great Train Robbery to The Station Agent: Newfoundland Film Locations

 

“Edison was no stranger to Newfoundland, he would spend an evening at Idylease while working on a magnetic ore extracting device at the Franklin/Ogdensberg Mine.”

In 1903, an employee of Thomas Edison’s motion picture company produced a movie with a story. At twelve minutes long, the movie was considered a milestone in film making. The early motion picture used a number of then-unconventional techniques, including composite editing, on-location shooting, and frequent camera movement. It was called “The Great Train Robbery.” It told a simple story of a group of western criminals who steal money from a train. Later they are killed by a group of police in a gun fight. The movie was extremely popular. “The Great Train Robbery” started the huge motion picture industry. Scenes were filmed along the Pequonnock River and along the Sequehanna Railroad with tracks still running through Newfoundland. Edison was no stranger to Newfoundland. F. Fichter Hoagan, a longtime business manager at Idylease often reminisced about the days when Thomas Edison would spend an evening at Idylease while working on a magnetic ore extracting device at the Franklin/Ogdensberg Mine. He fished on the banks of the Pequonnock River and would have his car serviced at a garage in Newfoundland when heading to the mines in Franklin from his lab in West Orange.

Historically, New Jersey is the recognized as the birthplace of the motion picture industry. In 1892, the motion picture industry was launched in the state with the erection of the world’s first motion picture studio at the Edison Laboratory in West Orange. It was a small, frame building, black inside and out and mounted on a revolving base so that the sun could be followed. This studio was called the Kinetographic Theatre, but was better known as the Black Maria.

In 1978, Paramount Pictures filmed scenes for the Movie King of the Gypsies in Newfoundland. The film starred Eric Roberts, Sterling Hayden, Shelley Winters, Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields, Annette O’Toole and Judd Hirsch.

MTV Films at Idylease

Between 1995 and 1997, David Schoner, Location Coordinator of the NJ Film Commission brought two film companies to Idylease as production sites. The sketch comedy television series “The State”, was broadcast on MTV between December 17, 1993, and July 1, 1995. The show combined bizarre characters and scenarios to present sketches that won the favor of its target teenaged audience. Season 2, Episode 3 entitled “Lincoln Logs” was filmed on the main porch and in the lobby of Idylease. The MTV Music Video from the album “Sunshine In Popopia” by Battershell was Filmed at Idylease in 1997 utilizing the blacksmith shop and grounds at Idylease.

In 2003 Miramax Pictures filmed the independent feature film “The Station Agent” at the Newfoundland Train Station. Located off of Route 23 off Greenpond Road is the wooden train station built in 1872 that was the focal point of the movie. The film chronicles Finbar McBride’s (Peter Dinklage) move to an abandoned Newfoundland train station, to live the life of a hermit. His attempt at solitude is soon interrupted, however, by interactions with his neighbors, including Olivia, a struggling artist coping with the recent death of her young son, and Joe, a thirty-year-old with a talent for cooking and an insatiable hunger for conversation–whether anyone wants to talk to him or not.

New Jersey was the film capital of the world during the early years of its inception with a long and varied history of location shooting. No doubt Idylease will serve as the locale for future productions in the State of New Jersey and thus– adding to its illustrious history.

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Stagecoaches & The History of Brown’s Hotel

browns-hotel-newfoundland-nj

A native of Morris County*, Theodore Brown was born at the old ancestral home of the Brown family, in Newfoundland, N.J.,on August 19, 1843. For more than a century the property had been in possession of his ancestors. Hendrick Braun, a Dutchman, whose name had been Anglicized into Henry Brown. Henry left the lower point of Manhattan island, walked across the country, followed the Pequannock river for some miles in search of a desirable location on which to establish a home, and selected a site in Newfoundland. The danger incident to the war of the Revolution caused him to seek refuge in New York during its continuance, but when American independence had been won he returned to his land, and erected thereon a cabin just in the rear of the beautiful and commodious hostelry that would operate as Brown’s Hotel for over 70 years.

John P. Brown, son of Henry, was born August 24, 1817 and died on December 20, 1898. He married Maria Ryerson, and in 1837 moved to the Morris side of the river and erected the first section of the Hotel that stood in Newfoundland. He constructed a store (now Route 23 Electric), engaged in farming, also operated a forge, and was recognized as a successful business man, having accumulated considerable property.

John P. Brown had instituted stage coach service to from Paterson with a stop in Newfoundland in 1857. The Paterson and Deckertown stage got off to an auspicious start and operated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Agent John P. Brown advertised “Good coaches, fine horses and careful drivers”. The approximately 40-mile trip from Paterson to Deckertown was a bumpy ride along the old Paterson-Hamburg Turnpike. Individuals who wanted to make the trip left Paterson about 10 a.m. Nearly four hours later, they reached Brown’s Hotel in Newfoundland. An untold number of North Jersey residents considered a trip from the Highlands to Paterson something equivalent to a trip across the continent.

Theodore Brown, son of John P. Brown, was prominently connected with the history of Morris county, received his business training under the direction of his father, whom he assisted, from an early age, in the store, home and lumber yard. Upon attaining his majority he assumed the entire management of the mercantile and lumber interests, while his father gave his close attention to the hotel and farm.

With the death of his father, John P. Brown, the management of the entire estate devolved upon Theodore, who was an enterprising, progressive and capable business man. His keen foresight and business sagacity enabled him to conduct his interests in a way that returned a good profit, and was proprietor of one of the most popular hotels in this part of the state. There was an air of refinement and suggestion of home at Brown’s Hotel which pervaded the place; neatness and comfort characterized every room, and the hotel complex was conducted with a view to the greatest convenience and pleasure of its guests.

By the turn of the century, Theodore had amassed a parcel of land that exceeded 1,000 acres. In 1902, Dr. Edgar Day purchased a 112 acre parcel of land from Theodore Brown to built Idylease. The original deed dated in 1901 references the transaction in Passaic County Book of Deeds I-15

idylease
Theodore Brown Gravemarker

A parcel to a point; thence (16) North 65° 30’ east and along the line of lands owned by Theodore Brown, and now of the City of Newark, thence (17) North 66° 30′ east and along the line of lands formerly owned by Theodore Brown, and now the City of Newark 237.6 feet to the point, then (18) North 65°, 30’ east and along the lines South 45° east feet to the middle of the Newfoundland-West Milford Road and the point and place of Beginning. Containing 111.3 acres more or less.

Theodore Brown and his wife were members of the Oak Ridge Presbyterian church, and are buried in the cemetery there.

Footnote:

*Newfoundland was designated as Morris County prior to the turn of the century and is now designated as part of Passaic County.

The Paterson and Deckertown stage was a forgotten memory to most until May 1, 1957, when the centennial of its first trip was appropriately commemorated. The West Milford (now North Jersey Highlands) Historical Society, the Post Office Department and the Greater Paterson Chamber of Commerce sponsored a colorful re-enactment of the stagecoach run. In addition to the driver and his gun-toting companion, the coach carried four passengers. Among them was Elizabeth Bowles, the granddaughter of stage line founder John P. Brown. Drawn by four palominos, the glistening coach advanced to Market Street for a two-day run along roads that had vastly improved since 1857. Passengers and crew spent the night at Idylease.

Idylease

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