The History of Jorgensen’s Inn Stockholm, NJ

Jorgensens Inn
Postcard Image of Jorgensen’s Inn in Stockholm, NJ
Prior to 1948, Lewis’ Hillside Villa was a Popular Roadside Attraction that would become Jorgensen’s Inn

Long time residents of the area may recall Jorgensen’s Inn, the large rambling country restaurant that served bounteous American fare in six antique‐filled dining rooms. It will be remembered as an attractive setting for travelers, skiers and local residents to relax and enjoy a leisurely dinner. In its heyday during the late 60s thru the early 80s Jorgensen’s was a far cry from the hot dog stand on the old Hamburg‐Paterson Turnpike that first bore the name – Lewis’ Hillside Villa over 90 years ago. To fully appreciate the history that led to Jorgensen’s, one has to return to around 1926, when George W. Lewis, son of James M. and Josephine Sisco Lewis, acquired a parcel of land formerly owned by Frances M. and George J. Rude.

George Lewis Installed One of the Early Gas Pumps for Motorist on Route 8 (Present Day State Highway No. 23)

This property was north of the lands of William G. Walker. George had a very spacious three-story frame dwelling built upon the land. His wife, Anne, soon created colorful gardens around the front of the house. George was a very industrious man who had visions of creating a complex to continue operating his repair shop and open a restaurant to accommodate tourists. With the advent of the automobile, Stockholm and the surrounding area was increasing in popularity as a destination for motorists traveling on Route 8. (present day State Highway No. 23) George systematically increased the size of the complex and in 1927, he purchased the Walker home and had it moved to his growing conglomerate of buildings. When the Patriotic Order Sons of America Hall property was sold to the City of Newark, he purchased that hall and had it moved to his growing enterprise.

After the careful footprint of structures was assembled, the repair shop and motorcycle garage was established in the renovated hall. George had gasoline pumps installed as this was becoming a need not only for the community, but to accommodate the many tourists who came through the area. It was the only gasoline pump in the vicinity between Franklin and Newfoundland. The complex also contained a general store and post office. The Post Office was moved from the old store in Stockholm to this site; Lewis was Post Master from Oct. 12, 1914, until his death in 1945. George also opened a restaurant on the site which became a popular attraction not only for the community but for the tourist trade and christened the operation with the name: Lewis’ Hillside Villa

Early Postcard from Lewis’ Hillside Villa Circa 1930

Over many years of operation, improvements were made to the buildings. A picnic area, tennis court and swimming pool were added to complex. For many years, the businesses were successful; and he advertised by having postcards made. From the Walther Postcard Collection is this undated postcard. George Walther Lewis was born Dec. 6, 1885 and died Dec. 10, 1945. He married on June 15, 1909, Anna E. Gormley, born Aug. 9, 1886, died Aug. 22, 1974. Both were buried at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Butler. They had three children: Leon W., Llawayne M., and Gerard C. Lewis.

George Lewis
1909 Wedding Photograph of George and Anna Lewis. Courtesy of Leon Lewis

Leon Walther Lewis, born Apr. 10, 1911 married on Sept. 17, 1938, Rosa B. Milan, born Mar. 26, 1918. He was an electrician and TV repairman. They lived in Lake Stockholm. Their children were: Georgeanna, born Sept. 25, 1941, married, later divorced, James Fernandez, their children were Lisa A., and Raymond L. Fernandez; Rita M., born June 1, 1945, married George D. Wildrick Sr., their children were George D. Wildrick Jr. and Jennifer; and Rosemary, born July 2, 1947, married Thomas H. Davies, Sr., and their children were Thomas H. Davies, Jr. and Patricia L. Davies. The author had several visits with Leon Lewis in February 1977. He graciously shared his family history and allowed the author to make copies from the family photo collection.

Llawayne Marie Lewis, born May 4, 1912, married Daniel Dietz, born Sept. 24, 1912 and their children were: Daniel Jr., Donald and Diann M. Dietz. Gerard Clifford Lewis, born May 27, 1913, married Alameda Flood born Apr. 10, 1918, they had no children. They lived at Lake Stockholm. Gerard C. Lewis provided a family tree of the Lewis family.

After George Lewis’ death, Anna sold the restaurant business to Mr. and Mrs. Martin McDonough in March 1946. Gerard Lewis served in World War II, and returned to Stockholm on June 21, 1948. He purchased the garage business from the McDonough’s. Gerard successfully operated the business until 1966 when he sold it to Ray Fowler. The title then passed to Richard Jorgensen. The Jorgensen’s remodeled the entire complex that was to be used solely as a restaurant. The restaurant has had successive owners who operated the restaurant.


© 2018 Beth Willis/ & The Family of Leon Lewis. Images & Text may not be reproduced without the permission of the author

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  1. Hello Beth,
    I grew up in Lake Stockholm and have a copy of the lake history that Georgeanne Lewi Fernandez put together in powerpoint. I recently shared this with some of the current lake residents to continue on with the lakes history and they were wanted to contact her for a community event they were planning. Would you know how to contact Georgeanna? Could you share that information?

  2. I worked at Jorgenson back in 76-77…as a saladmaker! Oh the stuff that went on in that kitchen, and what a horny old goat the owner was…

    1. I bussed tables there around 1970-71. Louella Parsons, Nancy Bessemer, Carmella Franchino, Loretta Lepke…some of the ladies I remember.

  3. Amazing!I Remember Jorgensens as a kid in the 60’s!What a treat to go there! My Dads family had a Bungalow at Green Pond, and they may have been familiar with the old “settlement” since they traveled on the old roads and railroad

    1. Unfortunately Jorgensen’s closed its doors many years ago. It is currently the home of Ricciardi Enterprises, a Construction Services Company out of Fairfield, NJ

  4. Our family lived there from 1970- 1981 most of my family lived in Bergen county as kid they would vist us for skiing then off to Jorgensen my sister and I would call the prime rib pillow steak.😍😍

  5. I loved the homey feeling there and they had the best coleslaw, prime rib and peach melba! Many fond memories going there Friday nights with my husband Dave in the 80’s.

  6. We lived in Oak Ridge in the 60s and lunch at Jorgensens was a treat. Fond memories and the first turkey club sandwich I ever had!

  7. I loved Jorgensens. You had a great complete dinner for a great price. It was so homey. The food was delicious. I remember having sherbet in between courses. I believe we had warm apple pie with ice cream.

  8. My uncle bought it and named it victorias after his wife. He is the son of greek diner/ restaurant owners like the balcony restaurant in hawthorne nj. It was victorias until they moved to florida and sold it.

  9. My husband of 50 years and I got engaged there on my birthday in 1971. He passed recently. Wonderful to see this photo after all those years.

  10. Jorgensen was a fantastic place to eat and just hearing its name brought back so many awesome memories of dinners there with my family

  11. My beautiful girlfriend, Carolyn, and I took her Mother there for dinner. This was in 1971. Carolyn had just graduated high school. It was a celebration. I recall her Mom had the duck!

  12. Richard Jorgensen was a great brother to Arthur in Maywood, NJ. Arthur was a great employer and a wonderful person and friend to me. He taught me so much that made me who I am today. He advised me to support my country and I went on to the Army and Vietnam. I will never forget Arthur or Richard. My friends for ever.

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