Most local residents are aware that Idylease has stood on Union Valley Road for many years. When she opened her doors on New Year’s day in 1903, there were 45 stars on the flag, Teddy Roosevelt was President and Orville Wright took flight at Kitty Hawk.
It is not uncommon for me to run into people of a certain generation that either had their tonsils removed by my father, Dr. Arthur Zampella or learned to swim at the indoor pool at Idylease.
I sometimes wonder if local residents are aware of the rich and varied role of Newfoundland’s most impressive historic structure. I hope that this new online repository of memorabilia will solidify and inform local residents about her rightful place in the annals of West Milford History.
Since April of 2016, when I purchased Idylease I have researched many documents and records in the hope of resurrecting memories, personalities and places that have been lost to history. Considerable time has been spent scanning original glass plates, digitally restoring photographs and repairing tattered documents. Over the coming months I will share the results of those efforts with you all.
I fully encourage you all to ask questions and volunteer information that may pertain to previously unknown facts and family histories that are part to the lineage of the place we call home.
For many years two stories have circulated about how Idylease derived its name.
Names for historic structures and landmarks give the people that live in the area a sense of place and speak to those locations and their particular place in time.
Several different explanations prevail about the naming of Idylease. Let’s first determine what is known for certain. Originally the area where Idylease is located was part of a 1,000 acre parcel that was owned by Theodore Brown who established Brown’s Hotel in Newfoundland in 1855. Dr. Edgar Day, a Brooklyn physician, along with 11 other investors built Idylease in 1902-1903. It was a place where cheerful hospitality reigned for persons “wearied or worn with the ceaseless turmoil of the city.” Originally, Idylease was planned as both a vacation spa and resort hotel.
Mention in a 1903 guidebook, yields an entry where State Rt. 23 crosses the Pequonnock River and the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad, narrowing the run between the parallel Pequonnock and a shale escarpment. This is a region of small lakes off the main highway, exploited by real-estate development companies as “The Idyl A While of the East”. Did Idylease derive its name from the locale of this reference? Or… does it’s name originate from the combination of syllables that include: Idyll – “an extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque episode or scene, typically an idealized or unsustainable one” and Ease – “absence of difficulty or effort” as in ease of living? Somewhat of a literary romantic, it is also believed that Edgar Day named the resort after Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King,” an epic poem about Camelot and the legendary King Arthur’s court.
The background story of the naming of Idylease may never be known for certain and has probably died along with those who built the structure at the turn of the century.
Majestically standing on Union Valley Road since the day she opened her doors to the public in 1903, Idylease remains one of Newfoundland’s most beautiful and impressive structures.
For over 25 years Richard Zampella has envisioned an opportunity to celebrate the history and future of the land that he grew up on in Newfoundland, NJ. Consistent with the wishes of his late father, Dr. Arthur Zampella, the property along with it’s historic structure is finally under the stewardship of his son Richard.
I hope you enjoy this tribute to this historic landmark and to my father, Arthur Zampella, M.D.
This footage was filmed over the course of several days over the skies of Idylease. Photographed and Edited by filmmaker Richard Zampella — The video makes use of a DJI Phantom Drone with a Zenmuse 3-D Gimbal and the GoPro HERO 4 Camera.