January 1, 1903
John W Boylston
53 Vessey Street New York, NY
Dr. Edgar Day, Brooklyn, NY
Declared the first local historic landmark by the Township of West Milford Historic Preservation Commission on October 4, 1988.
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Original Owner & Operator of Idylease in 1902
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dylease Inn, erected 1902, is an architecturally and historically significant example of early 20th century resort architecture in Northwest New Jersey. The only surviving example of resort facilities, it recalls the popularity of the region as the vacationland for the middle class in the late nineteenth century. The advent of passenger rail service extending to West Milford and Newfoundland brought with it a new demand on the area, during the period of approximately 1880 to 1930. In this half-century span, West Milford witnessed the rise and fall of the lake resort hotel business, and the development of lake front vacation communities. While there were a number of guest houses and hotels near present day route 23, (most notably Brown’s Hotel in Newfoundland), Greenwood Lake was the location for the largest concentration of resort hotels in the area. Greenwood Lake straddles the New Jersey/New York state boundary, and by 1875 had the Montclair and Greenwood Lake Railroad running along the east shore to Sterling Forrest. At Sterling Forrest, the passengers would leave the train and take a steamboat to their respective hotel destination. The largest and most famed of these steamboats was the Montclair, which could carry up to 400 passengers. Newfoundland was situated on the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad. These trains used the Pennsylvania Railroad Station in Jersey City that had ferry connections at Cortlandt, Debrosses and Twenty Third Streets in New York and Fulton Street in Brooklyn.
Of all the hotels and boarding houses in West Milford, not one hotel remains standing from the heyday of the lake front resort era. Idylease Inn is the largest existent structure. The coming of roads and the automobile in the early 20's was the beginning of the end for the trains and hotels in the "grand manner". A number of the old resort hotels were torn down or in the case of The Long Pond Inn and Brown's Hotel, destroyed by fire. By the early 1930's, train service to Greenwood Lake and Newfoundland had declined to such a point that the stations were abandoned and later torn down and the tracks removed. Recently, freight rail service has been restored on the Susquehanna line running through Newfoundland.
Following the decline of lake front resort hotels, the nation was plunged into a World War, which brought new housing and other development to a very slow pace. Following the war, especially during the 1960's & 70's, the Township, like the rest of the region, experienced a major growth in single family housing changing it's character from a summer resort to a predominantly year round resident community.
Architecturally, Idylease Inn embodies a variety of distinctive characteristics commonly associated with this type of resort architecture. On the exterior the most salient features associated with this type are the broad veranda and second story balcony which deteriorated and was removed sometime during the 1930’s. Expansive porches and open air-balconies were an essential feature of the resort hotel, providing guests with vistas of the surrounding wilderness and pleasant public spaces for social gatherings. Verandas also served as sanitary and therapeutic retreats from which to enjoy the healthful and moral atmosphere of nature, reflecting the popularity of resorts not only for pleasure and recreational activity but also for escapes from the crowded, disease ridden and immoral conditions of the suddenly industrialized cities of the northeast.
The Inn was built for a group of 11 investors calling themselves The Newfoundland Health Association headed be Dr. Edgar Day from Brooklyn, NY. The early physicians included Dr. Daniel E. Drake and Dr. P. Draper a surgeon from Cornell. The referrals from these doctors and their colleagues came primarily from New York based physicians. Rates were from ten to twenty dollars a week according to the choice of room. Rates per day were from two to three dollars. The Inn's carriage would meet guests at any train specified. Transportation to and from the railroad station was twenty-five cents. Transportation of trunks was also twenty-five cents.
Dr. Day founded The Newfoundland Village Improvement Society in 1902 which was formed to "protect the interest of the residents and property holders of Newfoundland, improve the conditions of the roads, secure better railroad service, and in general do whatever shall tend to increase the beauty and attractiveness of our village and its surroundings." Dr Day remained president of the society until his death at Idylease in 1906. Dr. Daniel Drake who was the resident physician at Idylease at the time of Dr. Days death became the principal stock holder of the Newfoundland Health Association which owned Idylease. George A. Day, Dr. Days nephew served as General Manager of Idylease from 1904-1920.
The original Guests of Idylease were an eclectic combination of artists and literary enthusiasts. There are original hotel ledgers complete with names and addresses. F. Fichter Hoagan, a longtime business manager to previous owner Dr. Daniel Drake often reminisced of the days when Thomas Edison would spend an evening at Idylease while working on a magnetic ore extracting device at the Franklin/Ogdensberg Mine. Edison was no stranger to Newfoundland. He had filmed scenes from "The Great Train Robbery" in Echo Lake and would often have his car serviced at a garage in Newfoundland. Mary T. Norton this nations first congresswoman was among other noted guests.
Idylease supported a large staff to run the supporting buildings of its complex. Some of these were a carriage house, a blacksmith shop, a ice house, a pump house, a pig farm which included a maternity sty for the young pigs, an early auto garage, and a gas house where they generated gas for lighting and later on appliances. The grounds also had a barn complex, which was an all-in-one building that included the farmers house, a side shed for storage of farm equipment, etc., a large barn overhead; and under it, the animal stalls for cows, horses, and chicken coops. Idylease was also a farm where it raised most of the food it served its guests and employees. They raised fruit, vegetables, pigs, chickens, and cows. The milk was used for the table cooking, and to supply their soda fountain ice cream for their guests. The leftover milk and kitchen scraps, mixed with the grain they raised, went to the hogs. It was for all practical purposes a self sufficient operation during the period.
In 1954 a doctor from Jersey City, NJ purchased Idylease for the sum of $80,000. Arthur Zampella, MD purchased Idylease Inn from the estate of Dr. Daniel Drake and converted the Inn into the Idylease Nursing Home. Idylease Nursing Home boasted 11 doctors and a staff of 65. Idylease Nursing home closed in 1972 and subsequently became a congregate living facility. Dr. Zampella died in January of 1992 and is buried in the Newfoundland cemetery. Dr. Daniel Drake, is also interred there as well.
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Located at 124 Union Valley Road Newfoundland, NJ 07435
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