Earth from Space at the Morris Museum

20150354f725996f46cThe Earth From A Unique Perspective

See our amazing planet from the perspective of orbiting satellites. This exhibit presents large color reproductions of images captured by high-tech satellites circling the earth, recording rare views of events such as dust storms, forest fires, volcanic eruptions, and hurricanes. The exhibit runs now through August 16, 2015. Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown NJ. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday 11 am-5 pm and Sunday 12 pm-5 pm.

The Morris Museum is Morris County’s epicenter of art, science, culture, and history. Located in the Twin Oaks mansion in historic Morristown, the museum boasts a permanent collection of more than 40,000 objects ranging from rocks and minerals to fine and decorative arts, model railroad and dinosaur exhibitions, as well as one of the country’s largest collections of mechanical musical instruments and automata. It is also the home of the Bickford Theatre, which presents a variety of plays, concerts, and other performances throughout the year.

Art, science, theatre, history – it’s all here and close to home. You’ll be surprised by all there is to do and see.


Did You Know? Here’s A Little History on Mountain Lakes.

In 1910, Mountain Lakes was a rural woodland owned by a few families with names such as Righter, Grimes, Ball and Van Duyne.  In the space of ten years, however, the entire face of Mountain Lakes changed from a wilderness of Dutch and English properties to a planned suburban community of large stucco houses now affectionately known as “Lakers.” During this single decade, the natural and architectural character of Mountain Lakes was developed.  Since then, despite superficial changes, the original design imagined by the local engineer, Lewis Van Duyne, and executed primarily by developer, Herbert J. Hapgood, remains intact.
Today, some 90 years later, Mountain Lakes is still prospering, essentially intact, whereas other planned communities have lost their identities to intrusive development.  Mountain Lakes ability to preserve its original design and character has been cited by professional planners as unique among American communities.
Herbert J. Hapgood

Fifteen years after Lewis Van Duyne surveyed the site for the nearby Boonton Reservoir, his practiced eye conceived a design for the development of the property adjacent to the city-bound branch of the Lackawanna Railroad.  The site was a large tract of pristine land, one of rolling hills, woods, swamps and boulders.  With the vague idea in mind of clearing the land and developing the site, he contacted developer and entrepreneur, Herbert J. Hapgood.
Hapgood, together with his landscape engineer, Arthur T. Holton, had a vision.  He wanted to build homes in a popular, marketable mode.  So he set out to build a gracious planned community to provide future homeowners with comfortable family-oriented homes.
As the first houses were built, residents ventured out from New York to escape the city heat.  The first family, the Lawrence W. Luellens, moved into 46 Dartmouth Road on March 17, 1911.  By the end of June, some fifty families had taken up residence.  After the railroad station was completed in November of 1912, commuters were ready to take advantage of a direct train line to New York.  By the end of 1912, two hundred Hapgood homes were sold and occupied.  By 1923, approximately six hundred stucco houses were built to meet the overwhelming demand.
Hapgood was particularly influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, at the height of its popularity in 1910 when he started building.  He took many features of Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman architecture and philosophy and adapted them to his own designs.  His houses were solid and boxy in appearance.  They were large yet non-ostentatious homes with variations of colonial or neo-classical detail.  All showed a clear relationship to the natural environment and promoted outdoor living.  They were made to fit into the landscape, located on natural rather than graded terrain.  Narrow roads were curved to fit the contours of the land.  Local boulderstone was used extensively.  The houses were designed to appeal to upper middle-class people who wanted to raise their families in a wholesome country environment filled with recreational opportunities and neighbors who would share their values.
An early advertisement features three distinct types of houses which were built on lots near the banks of Wildwood and Mountain Lakes, these lakes having been created for the residential park by three earthen dams.  Hapgood named them the Manor House, the Semi-Bungalow and the Swiss Chalet.  These styles were actually adaptations of the Foursquare House common in American towns in the early part of the twentieth century.  In an article entitled, “The American Foursquare,” in The Old House Journal (February 1982), the architectural historian, Renee Kahn, defines the Foursquare as a two story house with “a square boxlike shape, and a low hipped roof with broad overhanging eaves.  The exterior is unadorned, relying for impact on its shape and proportion.  There is usually a porch extending the full width of the front elevation.  Most often, there is a dormer in the roof facing front; sometimes there will also be dormers on the two side planes of the roof.  Occasionally there will be a bay window or other architectural feature that breaks up the absolute flatness of the sides.”
The Hapgood model homes were early forerunners of the modern development, but each house was modified to suit individual tastes.  To the basic styles of these houses, Hapgood added colonial and craftsman features.  He reversed floor plans, and inter- changed architectural details.
The choice of materials used in the Lakers reflected both local availability and the fashion of the times.  The fieldstone of the chimneys, walls and foundations was deposited regionally by the Wisconsin glacier ten thousand years ago.  Chestnut paneling, ceiling cross beams and oak flooring were cut from trees by Hapgood at local sawmills using the timber cleared from the construction sites.  Around 1910, builders began to show increased interest in stucco.  Renee Kahn states, “Although its initial cost was slightly more than wood, it required little or no maintenance, and could be tinted delicate pastel colors when wet …  A soft beige/brown appears to have originally been the most popular color.”
As is generally the case in planned communities, most of the trees and plants were removed for ease of construction.  Trees and bushes which have sprung up since reflect the natural, informal landscaping that was prevalent at the time.  The mountain laurel and rhododendron, for example, are specifically adaptive to our acid soil.  Other decorative outdoor structures consisted of garden trellises, pergolas, gazebos, boathouses and tennis courts designed to enhance the enjoyment of the outdoors.
An unusual feature of the development was that so many houses, nearly 500 of them, were built by one developer.  That so many of them have survived is also unusual.  In fact, the 454 original houses still remaining is one of the largest collections of Craftsman-influenced houses in the United States.
The original design layout and the “Hapgoods” established the community as an ideal garden suburb and inspired subsequent development.  The later homes were, for the most part, smaller and of various styles, but the original standards of quality in materials and craftsmanship were continued.  Although there is no code in the Borough to control style of architecture, there exists nevertheless a certain homogeneity within the community derived in large part from the prominence of the old stucco Hapgood homes and the dominance of colonial styles among newer buildings.
In 1923, when Hapgood’s enterprise failed, the Belhall Company was formed to take control of undeveloped land and steps were taken for Mountain Lakes to become a separate municipality.  It is significant that, at this time, a committee was formed to draw up possible boundaries for the new Borough.  So it was, that only a little more than a decade after the first construction, boundaries were drawn that went to the Denville border on the west and to Intervale Road on the east, explicitly “in order to permit continuity in development.” This was recognition of the idea that Hapgood’s vision extended not only to the properties he owned but to others that were contiguous.
Also in the 1920’s, well after the Hapgood development was established, the Arthur D. Crane Company bought land from the St. Francis Health Resort and created the Lake Arrowhead development with its own distinctive type of architecture and design upon the land.
Immediately after World War II, a major new development occurred on a large, relatively flat tract of land between the railroad and Intervale Road.  There the Fox Development Company erected some 67 smaller homes that filled an important demand for housing for returning veterans and their young families.
Two other events of major importance to the Borough were its acquisition in 1938 (toward the end of the Depression) of titles to most of the prime undeveloped building lots remaining in the Borough and, in 1952, the purchase of 250 acres of woodland around Crystal and Birchwood Lakes and up to the Tourne.  Both of these acquisitions gave Mountain Lakes the opportunity to control its own destiny, to avert the intrusive over-development that destroyed so many other planned communities, and to maintain its unique character.
Today, the grand gardens have been simplified, houses have been renovated and the servants are gone.  Still, the essential character of the Lakers in their environment remains.  The rustic suburb of Mountain Lakes has maintained its unique character, environment and sense of place created in the two decades following its founding, fulfilling Hapgood’s vision of an ideal community.  This town’s ability to regulate its growth and thereby control its destiny, cited as unique by Mel Scott in American City Planning Since 1890, is carried on today with renewed dedication to its original ideals.

Great Town, Great Education…


Mountain Lakes High is a highly regarded high school in the state of New Jersey. When thinking about buying a new home, the local education system can be a deal decider in a family’s final decision. Buying a Legacy of Mountain Lakes townhome is so much more than an address in one of NJ’s finest towns; your children will have the opportunity to experience a great town, high school education, and high school athletic program.

Here are some comments on the school’s ratings (Source- NJ School Performance Repost):

Academic Achievement
“This school outperforms 91% of schools statewide as noted
by its statewide percentile ranking and 96% of schools
educating students with similar demographic characteristics
as noted in its peer school percentile ranking in the
performance area of Academic Achievement”

College and Career Readiness
“This school outperforms 84% of schools statewide as noted
by its statewide percentile ranking and 75% of schools
educating students with similar demographic characteristics
as noted in its peer school percentile ranking in the
performance area of College and Career Readiness.
Additionally, this school is meeting 100% of its
performance targets in the area of College and Career

Graduation and Post-Secondary
“This school outperforms 94% of schools statewide as noted
by its statewide percentile ranking and 84% of schools
educating students with similar demographic characteristics
as noted in its peer school percentile ranking in the
performance area of Graduation and Post-Secondary.
Additionally, this school is meeting 100% of its
performance targets in the area of Graduation and

School’s Open – Welcome Back!


Fall is just around the corner (although the temperatures might beg to differ).  The new school year has started for students of all ages. This means new beginnings, new classes, new friends and new experiences.  As the caravan of yellow school buses migrate through winding roads  – parents all over town rejoice in the excitement of the new year, as well as knowing that Mountain Lakes is one of the best school districts in the state of New Jersey.

The Mountain Lakes Public School District is home to 1,700 students in four schools. Families move to Mountain Lakes for the strong tradition of academic excellence that flourish in a caring and supportive community. Boasting an impressive number 7 (moving up two positions from 2010) ranking of top public High Schools in New Jersey Monthly magazine last year.  Students lead the state in academic achievement, artistic accomplishments and service to others. The district is proud to have 150 students from over 100 districts around the state in the Lake Drive Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Browse the district website, and through your visit, you will come to learn why Laker Pride lives here.

Go Lakers!Unknown-1

Lakeland Hills Family YMCA Reopens As The Place You Love To Come Back To!

1184855_635664939801397_1282656241_nAfter an extensive annual facility facelift the Lakeland Hills Family YMCA reopened their doors today. Throughout the past two weeks crews were diligently working on minor renovations and completing yearly maintenance. From the moment you see the exterior of the facility (parking lot re-stripped) to when you enter the building (lobby area floors waxed) the changes will be noticeable. The smell of fresh paint will permeate throughout the facility. With the most detailed work completed in the pool area you will feel compelled to swim that extra lap or try an aqua fit class for the first time.  In addition to the visual changes in the building some behind the scenes work was completed as well. All spin bikes underwent preventative maintenance so the next time you clip on, gear up for a sweet ride.

Stop in for a tour of the new and much improved YMCA – you won’t be disappointed!

100 Fanny Road                                                                                                                                                      Mountain Lakes, NJ


Historic Walking Tour of Mountain Lakes – Break out your sneakers!!

UnknownHave you ever wished you could walk around Mountain Lakes with an expert from the Historic Preservation Committee enlighting you with authentic facts about the neighborhood?

Well now you can…

The Mountain Lakes Historic Preservation Committee has created an audio walking tour of Mountain Lakes.  It’s a lot like the audio tours in museums and IT’S FREE.  You simply download the audio files to your iPod, smart phone, or portable digital audio device, put on your walking shoes and get started.

The tour starts on Elm Rd. across the tracks from the train station and covers 2.1 miles before returning to the train station.  It takes about 2 hours to complete.  Perfect for a sunny day.

The following sites are covered:

  1. Train Station
  2. Midvale Stores
  3. Midvale Boat Dock
  4. Luellen House at 46 Dartmouth Rd,
  5. Mountain Lakes Club
  6. Lake Drive School
  7. St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
  8. Boulevard Trolley
  9. Little Theater
  10. Hapgood’s Original Sales Office
  11. Community Church
  12. Briarcliff School

1.  Taking the Tour — Preferred Method Using a Smartphone

If you have a Smartphone or Tablet with Internet connectivity, taking the tour is extremely easy.  Just take your Smartphone or Tablet and walk or drive to the beginning of the tour on Elm Road across from the Train Station.  Then pull up the walking tour map on your Smartphone by clicking the link below:

Walking Tour on Smartphone

Follow the route indicated on the map.  At each stop, click or touch the marker to hear an expert describing the stop.

That’s all there is to it.  Good Luck and Have Fun.

2.  Taking the Tour — If you have a Portable Digital Music Device

If you don’t have a Smartphone, you can take the tour using a portable music device such as an iPOD, Walkman, or other portable digital music player.  The tour consists of a number of audio files.  First, obtain the files as described below and transfer them to your digital music player.  Then take your player, walk out your front door, and get started.

The tour starts on Elm Rd.  across the tracks from the Train Station.  Go there and listen to the Introduction file.  Then at each stop, listen to the narration in the corresponding file.  At the end of each audio are the instructions for walking to the next stop.  Proceed from stop to stop listening to each audio in turn.  It’s simple.

3.  Taking the Tour — If you have don’t have a Portable Music Device

If you don’t have either a Smartphone or portable music device, you can still take the tour.  The Library has several digital players pre-loaded with the Walking Tour audio.  You may borrow one.  Make sure you ask them to brief you on how to use the device.  Then, simply walk out the door to the right, go down to the train station and start the tour.  You must return the device when you are finished.

4.  Taking the Tour — If you can’t get to Mountain Lakes

If you live too far away or are physically unable to take the tour, you can still take a virtual tour on your PC by clicking the link below:

Virtual Walking Tour on PC

Follow the route indicated on the map.  At each stop, click the marker to hear an expert describing the stop.

5.  Taking the Tour — If you’d like to see it on your TV

The HPC plans to develop a DVD in the future that will be available for sale.

Download a Map of the Tour

Click on this link to download an Adobe Acrobat file containing a route map of the tour.

Walking Tour Map (Caution: large file)

How to Obtain the Audio Files

From an HPC CD:

The Historic Preservation Committee offers for sale a CD of the audio for the walking tour.  It is available at the Library at a price of $10.

From iTunes:

If you have an Apple iPod or iPhone, it’s easy to get the audio from the iTunes Store (it’s free).  Launch iTunes on your PC or Mac and select the iTunes Store.  Enter “Walking Tour” in the Search iTunes Store field.  When iTunes displays the results of your search, select “Podcasts, See All” and then select Mountain Lakes Walking Tour.

Download from the Web

The audios are available from the Mountain Lakes Web site.  Use the links below.

  1. Introduction
  2. STOP01.Train Station
  3. STOP02.Midvale Stores
  4. STOP03.Midvale Dock
  5. STOP04.Luellen House
  6. STOP05.Mountain Lakes Club
  7. STOP06.Lake Drive School
  8. STOP07.St Peters Church
  9. STOP08.Boulevard Trolley
  10. STOP09.Little Theater
  11. STOP10.Sales Office
  12. STOP11.Community Church
  13. STOP12.Briarcliff School
  14. STOP13.Closing

If you prefer, you can download them all together as a zip file of audios and extract them.  Use the link below.  Download zip file of Walking Tour audios [Caution, large file]





Healthy Kids Day March 16th – Join the Fun at the Y!

Lakeland Hills Family YMCA Encourages Kids to Play and Learn during an awesome Healthy Kids


Everyone is welcome to a FREE Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, March 16 all afternoon from 1-4
p.m. for kids and families at the Lakeland Hills Family YMCA in Mountain Lakes. It is their way of
helping parents and kids have fun, grow together, and work towards a healthier way of living. Healthy
Kids Day will help parents begin thinking early about what their kids need to stay physically and
intellectually active,” said Jim McCrudden, CEO of Lakeland Hills Y. Lots of fun activities are planned
for the day including: Minute to Win It, Kinect for Fitness game, sample fitness classes for the whole
family, Synergy 360 showcase, health screenings, and much more. And introducing…The First Tee!
This innovative program brings golf to kids and teens who might not otherwise be exposed to the
game, while teaching life skills and positive values. This afternoon event promises lots of fun, play,
laughs, and learning PLUS prizes including Xbox Kinect, a weekend family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge,
an exciting family day trip, and a drawing for a free family membership!

For more information, call Vin at (973) 334-2820 ext. 30 for complete details.



Great iPad Apps For Teachers

iPads aren’t just used for playing around – you can also use them for productivity and even education. If you’re a teacher looking to use your iPad in the classroom, here are a few apps that can get you started.

Teacher’s Assistant Pro
This app lets you add your students' names into a database where you can easily add achievements, infractions and other notes about their performance for later reference. It's a great way to keep organized, and remove excess paper waste.

Docs Anywhere
This app isn’t designed specifically for teachers, but it’s still very useful. It allows you to easily transfer and read many different kinds of documents, including Excel spreadsheets, PDFs and PowerPoint slideshows, from machine to machine using a USB.

Free Books
This app is a truly astounding resource. This robust collection of works in the public domain lets you quickly download from a library of over 23,000 books! This app is ideal for English teachers looking to read works out loud.

This is one of the greatest science apps available. It presents an array of chemical compounds in attractive 3-D models, letting users explore, rotate, and discover their individual elements, as well as create their own. This app really makes science fun and approachable!