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Laker Pioneers Today, Mountain Lakes is one of the most desirable communities in New Jersey. Yet in 1911, the first Lakers moved into a town that was partially completed. What hardships did these early pioneers encounter and how did they overcome them? ML100 Centennial Newsletter

Briarcliff Spring 2011

Imagine Yourself as a Laker Pioneer Imagine yourself moving into Mountain Lakes in 1911. There are no other children on your block, but you plan to set out and find a friend by exploring this brand new community. What do you see as you head out into Herbert Hapgood’s Mountain Lakes experiment?

by workers and skeletons of unfinished houses” (Herold xiii).

Introduction To celebrate our community’s centennial, resident Patricia Reid Herold combed through hundreds of newspapers, interviewed scores of Laker residents and researched our town’s archive in order to complete the commemorative book Mountain Lakes, 1911-2011: One Hundred Years of Community. Using Herold’s fine work, we can learn about the hardships many Lakers faced during the first ten to fifteen years of the community’s existence. ML100 Centennial Newsletter*Briarcliff Edition

Classic image of Laker Pioneers celebrating 4th of July with a clambake.

This collection of documents places the reader in the shoes of pioneer Lakers who walked “along rough roads, past excavated stones and boulders, mud ruts and debris, material left

This packet also tells the stories of pioneers who faced these issues head-on and created solutions to overcome them. These Lakers knew that they would have to work together and forge a community to tackle more than just problems like “inadequate electricity, murky tap water, and unreliable trolley service” (21). They also had to create an environment of shared interests, high culture and great friendships. This is their story, and we thank Mrs. Herold for bringing them to us.

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Document 1 Company to increase its water were unavailing and practically nothing could be done to improve the roads, since township authorities repaired only the township roads, and the development Mountain Lakes was incorporated as a company had all but collapsed. The Borough just fifteen years ago (in 1924). whole situation was intolerable and [Before then] our residential area was part incorporation as an independent of two townships -- Hanover and municipality was the only solution. So we Boonton; our roads were bad; our water became a Borough. supply inadequate, with residents on water rations during dry seasons; our In the fifteen years that have passed we water mains too small for fire protection; have not only remedied the distressing our lake dams insecure; our only school a conditions with which we previously Hanover Township school in which we were confronted but have added many had little control; our children in the desirable features for our convenience, Boonton Township area not eligible to comfort and safety. Perhaps most attend the school without special important of all we have, by agreements dispensation, and our pupils beyond the with the development company and by ninth grade obliged to commute to zoning, confirmed for the future the Morristown. Efforts to compel the Water character of Mountain Lakes as a fine In 1939, Halsey A. Frederick, Mayor of Mountain Lakes since 1932, and previously Councilman and Council President since 1929, wrote the following:

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residential park. Without these accomplishments and the improvements of these fifteen years there is grave doubt if we could have weathered the difficult nine years just passed and if our homes would have much value now. In retrospect, the stake which we have won seems large compared with its cost. From the Mt Lakes Website http:// www.mtnlakes.org/History/Reminices.htm

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Document 2: 78 Ball Road

Document 3 (Herold, page 11) On March 17th, 1911, when the (first residents) Mr. & Mrs. Luellen and their two children, Gerald, six, and Alice, three, moved into a brand new square house perched on a hill high above the railroad tracks, their address was Mountain Lakes, Boonton, New Jersey. But no mail was delivered (nor would it be until years later). No street signs or lights (other than kerosene lanterns on posts) guided their way along rough dirt roads. There was no school. No church. No store. No station to stop the trains that blew by between Boonton and Denville. No cars. And why would there be? There were practically no people. A little more than two months after the Luellens’ arrival, a head count came up with only twenty residents. (The Luellens are pictured on the right.)

ML100 Centennial Newsletter*Briarcliff Edition

Document 4 John A. Garnaus recalls the first years of Mountain Lakes: There were less than a half-dozen families in the community, no telephone, no gas or water supply, no educational, religious, or social facilities, and only about one mile of crude roadway. A path through the underbrush connected the Garnaus property‌to the main roadway about one-half mile away. The family had to walk to a spring a quarter of a mile away to obtain water.

Document 5 Memorandum from Mountain Lakes developer Herbert J Hapgood (as it appears in Herold, 15) From the Desk of HJH 8/20/19 Name: Holton Order No.: 8974 I have written Major Kitchell as follows: I am sorry your machine got stuck in the road. It was undoubtedly due to the wet weather and the road not getting settled. It usually takes several months for a road to get in shape. I have asked Mr. Holton to come and fix it up the best he can this week. The road is certainly made right, and when it finds itself, will be all right.

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Document 6

I was born in Mountain Lakes in my paternal grandparents’ home. A doctor came around to the house in those days.  That was 89 Melrose Road.  May 25, 1922. We later moved to 63 Laurel Hill Road (see above).

existed only on paper. There wasn’t any road there.  It was called Vista Avenue but it was not a through road.  You could walk it but not drive it.  In wintertime we used to ski down it to Laurel Hill Road. 

I remember Prospect being a dirt road and the elevation was also changed when it was paved, and I know it caused my Dad some problems, because it dropped it down about 10 feet and we had a big stone wall in front of the house which was undermined and he had to support that. And what is now North Briarcliff from Laurel Hill Road up to Lookout was an unimproved road.  It

We used to sled on North Glen, starting at the intersection of North Briarcliff and Lookout, go down Lookout to North Glen, which was Addington Avenue at the time, all the way down to the Boulevard. The town used to put gravel or cinders on the road there to stop us from going out onto the Boulevard.  On the other side of the Boulevard sledders primarily used Pollard Road.  I

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remember going down there once when it was icy and I had a young lady riding with me on my Flexible Flyer, maybe seventeen or eighteen years old at the time. I had on big gloves and the edges of the gloves scraped along the stonewall there.

David Higgins http://goo.gl/8ogCE

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us with water for cooking purposes for a time, until the frogs discovered it, (as told by Herold, p.22) too, and we discovered that the Dev. Our water supply had become unfit for Co. used it as a water place for their houses. Baths were almost out of use, and this was a condition which would allow of no delay. A little group fashion that summer. We heard of a pure stream of water coming from a of us made our way through the spring somewhere near the railroad woods to the end of the big lake and there found a small pond from which tracks, and one morning before going our water supply came. It was covered to the trolley, Mr. Houston took two pails and with difficulty made his way with green scum and was full of over the hill and into the wild woods, mosquito larvae and frogs, and we and after a search found the spring came away really worried about the and filled it with cool, pure water…. fate of our community…. As the weather grew warmer, the water The summer was hot and the digging coming through the pipes became so of the first artesian well was done foul that we could not use it for under great difficulties. We heard with bathing or washing dishes. We began distress of broken pumps and men to seek water for household water at overcome with the heat, but the need springs, and we were fortunate if one was vital and the work went on. It is was nearby. The spring in the yard of easy to imagine our rejoicing when a the house now occupied by Mr. stream of pure, clear, wholesome Brown at 21 Larchdell Way furnished water came from the faucets.

Document 7 Lila Houston

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Document 8 Lila Houston (as told by Herold, p.22) Most early residents chose to occupy high ground rather than live near the water, apparently for good reason.

The lakes…made by the flooding in the low land, were of course full of decaying vegetation. An awful odor filled the air, driving many who would have otherwise bought lake front lots, back to the hills.

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Document 10 Leslie H. & Ethel Backer lantern and left it on the front porch (http://goo.gl/1tDxP) of the home we were visiting. I had very little fear when I walked the The decision to send our few pieces of streets of our development at night to It may come as a shock to the reader furniture to our new home by freight attend a community meeting or to that there was a time in Mountain turned out to be very smart. With the visit a neighbor (something I could Lakes, as elsewhere, when roads were help of the one and only George never do in the big city). unpaved. Here, the paving frenzy Esller from a nearby town who peaked between 1926 and 1930, to understood the roads and his horses, A grocer from a nearby town came accommodate everything from sleek our furniture arrived safely from the through in the morning for orders to Pierce Arrows to the Model-T Fords freight station. Many of our new be delivered in the afternoon. Since of the more fortunate, and less neighbors who moved into the only a few neighbors had installed vulnerable. Model-T's, like their development after we did, hired large telephones this was a very convenient owners, were better mudders motor vans which were soon up to way to be sure that you had ice at all anyway. One day, before the asphalt their hubcaps in mud. times. We had to go to a nearby town avalanche, a young woman was on the trolley to buy our meat and thrown from her horse into a mud The day we moved was beautifully our staples and it trained us to plan puddle which had been patiently clear. We were seeing the countryside for a few days ahead before we made waiting in front of our house for just at its best. Of course, the two lakes the trip. such an occasion. After determining were still in their embryo stage. The that nothing more than pride was one nearest us was a swamp full of The problems of establishing proper damaged, and after securing her "peepers" and with the dam just being schooling for our children, a church horse to a nearby tree, my father built, those "peepers" provided the and a community club for mutual fire carried her into the house, depositing first music we heard in our new home and police protection kept us busy her on the couch for a brief recovery accompanied by the hum of the during the first fall. period, all of which was very exciting mosquitoes. Yes we had mosquitoes Continued on next page for this three-year old. Indeed, it was although we had been assured we almost as exciting as the time the coal were at too high an elevation for them wagon, drawn by Dixon's best team, to live. That first spring and summer threw it's left-rear wheel on Valley they must have been flying higher Road. In this case, however, it was the than usual and they were the tiny Niagara of coal and the staccato kind that no ordinary wire netting epithets of the driver, (something could exclude, so we slept camper about a cotter pin), that really caught style under bed nets. my attention. Of course, when we made an evening call (or visit), we carried a hand

Document 9 (From http://goo.gl/UZsad )

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Document 10 Leslie H. & Ethel Backer (http://goo.gl/1tDxP) Continued

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the water. One of the neighbors was so doubtful that she even bought bottled spring water for her gold fish. Our drinking water was carried from nearby In the (advertisements) for our spring. Early every morning and new development we were after dinner in the evening the promised running city water. men of the community could be Well it ran through the pipes of seen winding their way to the our homes but as the pumping spring. Talk about a country station was not completed, and store as a place to exchange the artesian well was being gossip, we women knew that drilled, we doubted the purity of our spring could beat the ML100 Centennial Newsletter*Briarcliff Edition

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country store every time. Many a night my son drank warm, stale water so I could get him ready for bed while daddy was getting a fresh pail of water at the spring. Before the summer was over the well was drilled and the pumping station was completed so that we had good,fresh water in our homes and we still boast of the best drinking water in the state.

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Document 12 Fran Fleming ( http://goo.gl/YfvNQ )

In May 1928, the Mountain Lakes Dramatic Guild was founded by Arthur Document 11 Leslie H. & Ethel Stringer and Backer ( http://goo.gl/1tDxP ) a small group of local people dedicated to the That first winter passed quickly and idea that good amateur theatre holds with the arrival of our second spring an important place in the life of a many more lights could be seen as one community. Arthur Stringer was a new neighbor and then another moved world-famous author and poet who into their new homes. The building of had moved to town in 1921 and these new homes was a most resided at 140 Laurel Hill Road. He interesting process to watch. Hand was one of the many artists and labor was plentiful and many rocks celebrities who lived in Mountain covered the area. The blasting of the Lakes in the 1920's that gave the town larger rocks, however, was a terrifying its early reputation as a cultural (and thing with an anxious eye being kept somewhat Bohemian) community. on the plaster walls and ceilings. The A month after its founding, the laborers were a friendly lot, quickspeaking Italians, soft voiced Sallians Dramatic Guild held an organizational meeting at the home of Mrs. Jennie and guttural Russians. The Russian Robertson who lived at 171 Boulevard "wood chopper" was a personage to in Mountain Lakes.  A charter was inspire fear in you when you passed drafted setting out the Guild's him on the road with his high boots, purposes and Mr. Stringer was his Russian smock and his axe in his selected as its first President.  Work belt. However, a quiet, kindly man was immediately begun to renovate an when you got to know him. out-building on Mrs. Robertson's 8

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property that had formerly been used to raise chickens to be used for their first theatrical production that same year.

The stage was a raised platform in a wooden enclosure, also now gone, attached on the right side of the building. The audience sat inside and looked through a wide opening in the side of the building onto the stage.  Dressing rooms for the cast and costume & prop storage were on the second floor.

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The Trolly in Mountain Lakes

Document 14 (Herold, 20-21) Document 13 Ralph Wells

As for mail – the pioneers’ routine bordered on comical. My family and I came to Mountain Responsibility for picking up fell to Lakes in the Spring of 1921 and at the men – commuters. Arriving home form Manhattan at the that time there was very little Boonton Station in the evening, public transportation. We had to rely on the trolley as Boonton was they’d ride a trolley car (if one actually met them on time) up the only place we could shop.  Main Street to the Boonton Post Living on Pollard Rd., we had to Office, jump off, dash in and out, walk: Morris Ave. to Crane Rd., then Crane Rd. to the Boulevard.  It and then run to try to catch the trolley before it disappeared up the was there that we boarded the hill. Those who couldn’t manage trolley to Boonton.  In those days this grab and dash either waited for we had to get our hair cuts in the next streetcar or hoofed it Boonton and go to the doctor and dentist.  We also had to do some of home, either via Main Street and Boulevard or, depending on where our shopping.  This all had to be done after school and coming home they lived, down what they called the Cinder, the DL&W railroad it was dark. I remember the motorman calling out the streets as track. we came home. (http://goo.gl/43qib )

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Document 15 Larry Lowenthal ( http://goo.gl/43qib )

The last trolley ran in Morris County on February 4, 1928. And so passed the era of the Boulevard trolley. It lasted only 17 years.  No more moonlight excursions to Lake Hopatcong, no more placing firecrackers on the tracks on 4th of July or greasing the rails on Halloween, no more children pulling the trolley pole off the wires causing the trolley to come to a halt and the engineer having to come out angrily and replace it, no more electricity arcing across the wires on a snowy night.  The Boulevard trolley became only a memory.

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Document 16 Jack Lee ( http://goo.gl/qn5pt )

I had my ninth birthday in Mountain Lakes. I think we went there in 1918-1919. I was in third grade I believe. One neighbor was Sidney Austin who lived across the street and up a block from where we did. His father was a naval officer... (who) died in the house fire about six or seven years after we moved there. Fires in those days in Mountain Lakes were pretty bad because there wasn't much fire protection. The roads were all dirt except for the main boulevard and maybe several other streets like Briarcliff Road but they had rocks on the side. In the winter time the roads would freeze and if it melted in between there'd be ruts in the road. Riding a bike was a real horror story. Most people didn't have cars in those days. We walked to school; walked back again, even came home for lunch. It was a good mile or more walk to the old stone school house from where we lived.

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Document 17 Elsa Mueser

Document 19 (Herold p19)

While we were building, our building architect and our building contractor went bankrupt, and we were left with a skeleton, no stairs going up, and no heat, no electricity, no nothing. But finally, after living around in other people's homes for about three or four months, we moved into this skeleton. I had the new baby, and I slept in the garage with the new baby, and my husband and little girl went up the ladder to the second floor.

Mountain Lakes was dependent on Boonton, which supplied virtually all its necessities: groceries, transportation, laborers, household help, entertainment, and socializing outside the small cluster of early settlers.

We had to get water from the lake, to build. I remember bathing the baby in the little breakfast room, because that was the sunniest place in the house. I had to wait for the sun. By that time we got electricity, we got everything but a staircase.

Document 18 Mountain Lakes News, July 6, 1917

Document 20 (Herold p 20-21) Peter Kanouse‌came from Boonton with our grocery order, and he and the Fred Gordon Company braved bad weather and bad roads to supply us daily with food. Peddlers also came to the door with ice, coal, kerosene, milk, and other wares. When it snowed, the Stickle family (some of whose descendants still live in Boonton Township) delivered milk by sleigh, occasionally pulling the sleds of a few lucky Mountain Lakes children behind them.

Probably the commonest sport was to kick stones from along the sides of the dirt road and heave them. I got quite accurate throwing stones. I remember later on Oakley Dutton, a girl in my class, told me years later that she always liked me best because I was so good at throwing rocks.

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of Mountain Lakes, Inc., killed in a collision.” Mr. Kayhart, only twentyThe Blizzard of 1914 was a killer one years old, was traveling on a storm. There were 50 mph gale winds. motorcycle when he ran into a horseThe town was virtually isolated for drawn wagon, while swerving to days. Four men nearly died attempting avoid the trolley. (See below.) to walk home from the train station after work. They had taken the 5:00 train home from NY City and did not arrive at the Mountain Lakes train station until after 11:30 that night. Everyone walked home in those days. They tried to walk home in the wind and cold and nearly didn't make it.

Document 21 ( http://goo.gl/2Kber )

Document 22 (Herold p29) The Great Blizzard of 1914, with its five to six foot snowdrifts would leave Hapgood’s development without lights for a month, or that first World War would sap him of manpower, construction materials, and coal, though he kept one hundred tons on reserve in case of emergency.

Document 23 (Herold p19) Accidents along the Boulevard were frequent, because at least four modes of transportation collided (often literally) there: the Morris County Traction Company trolley on the hill side; horses pulling wagons or buggies on the road; primitive automobile-mainly manned by hobbyists; and pedestrians. In June, a foreman, was killed in an accident with a horse; on July 27, 1917, the Mountain Lakes News announced the death of Lloyd Kayhart, “an architect ML100 Centennial Newsletter*Briarcliff Edition

Document 24 (Herold p24) Mountain Lakes Police Notice, July 23, 1920 (See on right) To Pedestrians Always walk on the right side of the road, allowing autos to pass on the left. If you are run down by an autoist while walking in the centre or on the wrong side of the road, it will affect your claim for damages.

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Document 25 (Herold p14) On May 26th, 1911 with Luellen acting as chair, men and women formed a residents’ club, to work “in perfect harmony with Mr. Hapgood and his worthy associates.” The minutes of their meeting, gave the name, The Mountain Lakes Association, and informed every resident of its immediate goal: “to have this section one of the most beautiful spots in this part of the country.” As they appointed themselves watchdogs, the club’s organizers paid Hapgood a compliment, saying he and his associates deserved “the highest praise for the marvelous work that they have thus far accomplished.”

Document 26 Mountain Lakes News Editorial, May 4, 1917 Communities have character just as individuals have character. There is such a thing as community habits just as there are personal habits… Last summer, it must be admitted, the bathing suit was a little too prominent on the public thoroughfares at times. A visitor coming to Mountain Lakes on Sunday, to visit one of four neighbors, remarked with a special criticism upon the washing hanging out on clotheslines over Sunday. Some

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of our vacant lots can be very much improved in appearance by keeping them clear of debris.

Document 28 Mountain Lakes News Editorial, May 18, 1917: A Clean Up Week

The News thinks that these limitations have been largely due to lack of close co-operation. We have not yet learned to work together…. All we want to do now is to remind ourselves that we are an infant community developing habits and character which will perpetuate themselves in the future.

The natural beauty of Mountain Lakes has no counterpart within commuting distance of New York. The beauty of our surroundings can be marred however, by untidy habits. We realize the problem, especially on the part of Mountain Lakes, Incorporated. “The company” is under pressure to get its houses built, and we admit the difficulty of clearing up as they go along. Much would be gained however if sometime in the near future we could have a cleanup week movement, which ought to include the vacant lots. Each householder might agree to clean up the lots adjoining his territory.

Document 27 ML Association Committee on Road Improvement, June 1917 On announcing an assessment of ten dollars per property owner for roads, plus an additional fee for “auto owners,” the committee said: “We believe this improvement of the roads will mean an average savings of ten dollars per family each year for shoes alone, not to mention skirts, and the comfort and convenience of good roads…”

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DOCUMENT 29

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Document 31 (Herold, p 24) In the year after the Luellen’s arrival, a vital settlement had been established ...and Mountain Lakes began to assert itself. The executives, business owners, musicians, and writers, who moved in with their families, created a way of life in their Document 30 (Herold p22-5) country outpost: fishing, canoeing, On top of the muddy water, which horseback riding, ice skating, coasting, soon automobiling for was in short supply, residents fun, creating and listening to complained of slow trolleys that music, staging dramatic missed the Boonton trains and productions, and above all, impassable roads. All were forming club after club. rallying points for the new Association. Houston and Luellen led the others in pressuring Mountain Lakes, Inc. to remedy these problems. By the end of July, Hapgood had made some progress. Mountain Lakes Association members also loved parties; so much so that the Boonton Paper accused its new neighbors of having a disease it called club-it is.

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Document 32 (Herold, p. 89) In March 1923, the Association issued a pamphlet, Mountain Lakes Today and Tomorrow, scolding residents for shirking their civic duties and miscellaneous bad behaviors by noting: too few residents (only fiftytwo) voted in the February school election; too many residents neglected to pay overdue snow removal bills; and some residents were taking in boarders, adding kitchens, renting flats, and failing to see the difference between keeping chickens and donkeys. (Poultry being the Association’s clear preference.)

Document 33 (Herold, p. 86) R. E. Scholz, of 8 Barton Road, painted an almost chaotic picture, complaining of “dog running around loose without muzzle, destroying garden shrubs…. Chickens crowing and cackling all hours of the day and night kept in a dirty filthy coop with odor of same will sicken you on a hot, damp, and sultry day breeding rats and mice by the thousands.”

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DOCUMENT 34

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DOCUMENT 35

Published: May 24, 1914 Copyright Š The New York Times 16

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Using this Document-Based Question This activity is based on a series of collected primary and secondary sources that allow students to group documents to answer both parts of the DBQ task: What were some of the challenges that Laker pioneers faced and what solutions did they devise to overcome these problems? Possible document groupings are identified below: Roads Documents 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10 & 16.

Water & Mosquitos Documents 1, 4, 7, 8, 10, 17 & 18.

Stripped landscapes & constant construction Documents 2,11 & 17.

Solution: ML Association Document 26, 27, 30, 32 & 34.

Transportation Documents 3, 9, 13-15 (Trolley), 23 & 24.

Solution: Clubs Documents 12, 30, 31 & 34.

Snow Documents 6, 21 & 22.

Solution: Other Improvements Document 1 & 28.

Lack of stores Documents 3,10, 19 & 20.

The ML100 Education Connection The Mountain Lakes School District has always been a central element of our community. That is why the ML100 Education Subcommittee hoped that the schools would be a major part of this year’s centennial celebration. Under the leadership of Stephanie Hoopes Halpin and Kris Barlow, the committee sought assistance from Superintendent John Kazmark who also asked for teacher and student support. Building principals were fortunate that many incredible educators volunteered to incorporate the centennial in the numerous projects they do each year. We have been impressed with the Wildwood students who designed township flags and who created incredible “Real Books” Hapgoods. At Briarcliff, students interviewed Laker alumni about teen life from the 1950s and beyond. Sixth grade students are also exploring the history of the community’s water. There is also a PEP class in which students are interviewing Laker alumni. At Mountain Lakes High School, art students designed The Craftsman magazine covers inspired by Gustav Stickley. Technology classes updated the old ML history books used by the Wildwood students. Drafting & Design students analyzed original blueprints to create their own Hapgood model home. Of course, we look forward to seeing even more spectacular projects (including Empty Bowls on April 27th) as 2011 comes to a close. ML100 Centennial Newsletter*Briarcliff Edition

ML100 School Liaisons Kris Barlow — Chair of ML100 Education Subcommittee Frank Sanchez — School District Liaison Missy Cidron — Wildwood Elementary Dennis Posner — Briarcliff Middle School Jennifer Peifly — Briarcliff Middle School Patti McElduff — Mountain Lakes High School Carol Pinto — Mountain Lakes High School Much thanks to the ML Board of Education, Dr. John Kazmark, Dr. Anne Mucci, ML100 Chair Stephanie Hoopes Halpin, ML archivist Pat Rusak, all of the ML100 Education Subcommittee members, Stickley Museum Education Director Vonda Givens, and all of the ML teachers who have incorporated the Centennial including Christopher Johnson, Jen Peifly, Dennis Posner, Linda Aldrich, Ken White, and Jerry Price. Also thank you to MLHS students who helped in putting this newsletter together including Sarah Bozzo and Nyna Mund.

Funded in part by the Mountain Lakes Ed Foundation Thank you so much for your continued support of our educational program!

-Frank Sanchez 17

Laker Pioneer  

Celebrating Mt Lakes Centennial

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