Sunday, September 26, 2010

The First Home in Smoke Rise: Didja Know?

Didja Know?
In one of his early Didja Know? articles, Cornie Hubner wrote about the first home built in Smoke Rise in 1947.  Here is his account.

First Home

published 9/15/1985

The foundation for the first home in Smoke Rise was started in 1947. It was built for a world renowned philanthropist, Ms. Isabelle Kemp, a good friend of J. Alden Talbot, to provide tangible evidence of support and her confidence in this unique development.

Ms. Kemp adopted a small village in France after World War II, financed reconstruction of homes and utilities, relocated families and was adopted as its "mother" by all of its citizens.  She planned and supervised the home, a French Stone Farm House at No. 1 Brush Hill from France and scheduled a cocktail party on its completion.  Guests at the celebration in mid '48 were greeted by the hostess who returned to her village the next morning.  On arriving in France she placed her home on the market after having spent just one night in it.

[Note: the only reference I found to Isabelle Kemp came from a Wikipedia entry on Pauline de Rothschild in which Isabelle Kemp is described as "an heiress to a New York drug-store and real-estate fortune." An obituary from 8 July, 1965, in the New York Times is cited as a reference.]

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Didja Know? 1947 Smoke Rise Home Prices

Didja Know?
Curious about the price of homes in Smoke Rise in 1947?  Here is an article from Cornie Hubner on the matter - one of his early pieces in the "Didja Know?" series.

1947 Prices

Shortly after its opening in 1947, a very enthusiastic article about the Smoke Rise Company development appeared in the New York Herald Tribune. It told of the 5,000 pristine acres of the most scenic area in the East and only 30 miles from New York City.  It described how the air of the developer, J. Alden Talbot, to maintain the natural beauty would be guaranteed by deed restrictions. The lengthy article concluded by admonishing a prospective purchaser "not to consider it unless willing to pay $35,000 to $40,000 for a home and have minimum income of $7,000 per year."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mt. Olive's Turkey Brook Park Hike - MCPC

Mt. Olive's Turkey Brook Park Hike - MCPC
We had a terrific hike through Mt. Olive's Turkey Brook Park on August 7th. Here are highlights of the hike I described in a MCPC Hike 8/7/10: Turkey Brook Park, Mt. Olive, NJ.

42 hikers participated in the August hike at Mt Olive’s Turkey Brook Park. As Tom Edmunds, MCPC organizer extraordinaire, details:

"This was a wonderful hike and we thank Laura Szwak from NJ Conservation, Janice Bunce-Escobar from the local girl scout troop and Mt Olive Mayor Dave Scapicchio for joining and leading the hike."

Turkeybrook Hike TrioPictured here are Mt. Olive Mayor David Scapicchio, Girl Scout Leader Janice Bunce-Escobar and our hike leader Laura Szwak from NJ Conservation.

Thank you, Phil Bishop and Barb Page, for the photos!

We started out parking our cars at our hike ending point. From there, we carpooled to the Mt. Olive high school and hiked through some beautiful areas. Our fearless trio is pictured above by a magical pond - part of the pristine Mt. Olive waterways.  We then hiked upward through a variety of terrains.

Total distance: 3.3 miles

Most extraordinary is that our trail had been blazed by the local girl scout troup. Talk about fierce determination and impressive local dedication. They did a beautiful job!

I tracked our trail on Everytrail:

Thank you, Laura and Janice for an outstanding trail!  Thanks, Tom, Janet and Russ, for another unbelievable hike!  We loved it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Smoke Rise Inn In Pictures: Outdoors

Care for a trip through time? Here's a visual one about the Smoke Rise Inn in the early days of Smoke Rise in Kinnelon and some of the outdoor activities that took place.  Please refer to Tom Kline's post about The Smoke Rise Village Inn - part 2 for perspective on those days and these pictures.

The Smoke Rise Inn - Outdoors
Notice where the cars are parked, in what is today the Inn courtyard.

Smoke Rise Inn - corner
I find this view fascinating. This section is now covered and corresponds to where the current Smoke Rise Inn bar area is.

Smoke Rise Inn - other corner
This view is from the opposite side of the courtyard looking at the barn building.  Notice the Adirondack chairs? Those have to be from the beach... The event taking place is most probably the same fashion show pictured in the first picture above.

Smoke Rise Inn Ladies' event
Here you have a Ladies' Event... Perhaps tea? Interesting that cars aren't parked in  the courtyard area, but rather along the road, making room for tables.  Notice the field? That's where the current day parking lot and tennis courts are.

Socializing at the Smoke Rise Inn
Socializing outdoors at the Inn.

Outside the Smoke Rise Inn
In this photo, Louise Prescott and Cappy Dixon. I love seeing the children.  What do you think is in the big bag?

Ladies of Smoke Rise
Group photo on the same steps.

Front row: ?, Morkish, Hunzinger, Hennessy, Mrs. Bruce Dixon, Wohltmann, Getty, ?, Mrs. Baker, Mrs. Chandler
Back row: Tuite, Carter, Mary Sims, Serrie, Mrs. Dixon, Cappy Dixon, Alice Johnson, Willette Wight, Mrs. Chantler, Mrs. Evans, Mrs. Louis

Headed to the Smoke Rise Inn
This looks to be a regular day at the Smoke Rise Inn, with cars parked quite close in.  Note the tables and umbrellas over in the background. That's where the photo of socializing outdoors was taken.

These marvelous pictures are all courtesy of Tom Kline and offer an unique perspective on the early days of the Smoke Rise Village Inn and some of the activities that took place outdoors.

I'll share with you more pictures from the Inn. Those will be of activities taking place within.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

MCPC September 18 Hike: Roxbury Township's Ledgewood Pond

MCPC September 18 Hike: Roxbury Township's Ledgewood Pond
The next Morris County Park Commission [MCPC] hike takes place this Saturday, September 18, 2010 at Roxbury Township's Ledgewood Pond.

This hike should be particularly interesting as it will take us along the Morris Canal's Ledgewood Incline Plane with a special commentary from Joe Macasek who will lead a tour of the turbine chamber, the surrounding artifacts and a nearby mine.

[See 4/10/10 News: Hikes & Ramstein Beer Open House and Split Rock Village Furnace Tour & Hike for background information on Joe Macasek.]

From there, we'll do a short hike up and over the lookout mountain behind the mine.

Here are some links detailing the history of this neck of the woods:
[Do let me know if you come across others to add to the list.]

Roxbury Township's Ledgewood Pond Hike Details:

When: Saturday, September 18, 2010, 9am sharp.

Where: Roxbury Township, Ledgewood Pond parking lot.

Total Time:  ~ 3 hours

Fee: $5 per person suggested [Joe hands out some amazing documents]

If you intend to participate, you must let Tom Edmunds from MCPC Trails Mapping/GIS know. Contact him via email at

Nitty gritty Roxbury Township Ledgewood Pond Hike details:

We’ll meet at the parking lot on Emmans Rd for a 9 AM start. Be aware that there's a lot of poison ivy in this area and we strongly urge you to wear long pants and shirts. Roxbury Township personnel are going to “rid” the immediate area of the mess but still be warned.

Bring water and a snack. The port-o-john should be available.

If you haven't attended a MCPC hike before, you will need to sign a 'release' form.

Directions for the Roxbury Township Ledgewood Pond Hike:

  • From Morristown area: Take Sussex Ave or route 10 west to Roxbury/Succasunna.
  • Merge on to route 46 west (at the old Ledgewood circle) and keep to the right. Make a U turn right before the light and come back (eastward) on route 46, keeping to the right again.
  • Turn right after the ATV/Motor cycle store on to Main Street Ledgewood. Continue a short distance and turn right on Emmans Rd.
  • Go 100 yards and turn right into the Canal Park parking lot. Go to the far end.
Note: For your own customized directions, be sure to use an Internet mapping service to get from your place to 12 Emmans Rd, Ledgewood, NJ 07852.

Once you get there, Tom, Janet and Russ will take care of the rest! And, I'll be tracking our steps via Everytrail!

See you there.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Smoke Rise Spirits Survive!

To answer the question that Tom Kline asks in The Smoke Rise Village Inn - Part 2, Smoke Rise Spirits have indeed survived.

Here is proof thanks to Herb O. Fisher!

Demonstrating unbelievable dedication, Herb dug deeply into his extensive private beverage stock and pulled out a full bottle of Smoke Rise Kentucky Bourbon pictured here below.

Smoke Rise Spirits Survive
[I call your attention to the Smoke Rise artwork behind the bottle.]

Smoke Rise Bourbon
As you can see, this is truly authentic Smoke Rise Spirits: Smoke Rise Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Smoke Rise Bourbon seal remains unbroken
Herb explains that, although the bottle is beginning to show signs of age and the label is 'weathering' a bit, the seal has NOT been broken.

Thank you, Herb, for answering the question whether Smoke Rise Spirits Survive and putting Tom's [and our] minds at ease!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ramstein Oktoberfest Open House and SR Fresh Hot Sauce this Saturday @ 2 PM

Ramstein Beer Open House
Here is reminder for this weekend’s Ramstein Beer Open House and Tour, this Saturday, Sept. 11. Directions are at the website.

There will be 2 tour and tasting sessions, one at 2pm, and another at 3:30 PM

Available will be the Ramstein Blonde Hefe-WeizenRamstein Classic Dunkel Weiss, and Ramstein Golden Lager, and Ramstein Oktoberfest.

1 and 2 Liter Growlers are in stock.

The Oktoberfest lager has received the highest rating, a 88 out of 100 by the Beer Advocate Magazine. I think it's pretty good, too!

And SR Fresh Hot Sauce will be there with the Fresh Cayenne-CherryHabanero Gold, and XXXXTra Hot Habanero Hot Sauce. Come try them!

Also, we will have some Cayenne Blast and a small amount of Ripe Red Fresno-Jalapeno Hot Sauce. Sweet and Hot.

You Hot Sauce people can check out the new SR Fresh Hot Sauce Website, where the sauces are explained and sold.

As usual, there will be a tour and explanation of the brewing process by Greg Zaccardi, the owner. [See previous post about Ramstein Beer with videos for a primer.]

See you there!

Ted and Christine and Emma

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Kinnelon Community Gardens - 8/30/10 Meeting Notes

Kinnelon Community Gardens
Galina Adair shares the following notes from the 8/30/10 Kinnelon Community Gardens meeting at the Kinnelon Library [per previous post about the KCG].

I've also included details on the first Kinnelon Community Gardens group outing taking place 9/27/10 to Two Pond Farm in West Milford, NJ. See below!


We reached out to other community gardens and invited them to a panel discussion. The visiting garden representatives included:

The panel discussion was a learning curve for us. Wendy, Dennis and Joe were a wealth of knowledge – they offered so much good advice. A short synopsis of how each of the above gardens got started and how they function today:

Pequannock Community Gardens: (Joe Jorgensen)

* Their garden got started as a result of a Pequannock Municipality push to sustainability.
* Their local paper picked up on this at the town meetings.
* Many articles were written about the community gardens – free publicity.
* Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops helped a lot with the building – Eagle Scout Awards and Gold Awards (one Boy Scout not only raised money for a fence he also built it).
* If people want a raised bed they have to build it themselves on their plot
* They have dedicated plots JUST for food pantry
* Pequannock Community Gardens falls under Parks and Recreation
* Their logs were donated and cut
* It took the coordination of about 50 people to get this garden started
* Local businesses such as the Van Wergerden gardens all helped:

See Pequannock community garden flourishes during growing season

West Milford Sustainable Community Gardens: (Wendy Watson-Hallowell)

* Their garden is completely sustainable and organic
* Gardening education is very important to them
* They charge $35 a plot
* People have to be NEAT and manicured with their plot otherwise they do not get one next year.
* Their garden is located on private land (leasing it )
* 50-60 people are continuously involved
* Very active community gardens, every other month something is going on – canning, cooking lessons, farmers market
* Barrels collect their water – Wendy said ACCESS TO WATER IS VERY IMPORTANT
* Fencing is very important
* They have a website [click on section title]
* Communication is important

Denville Community Gardens: (Dennis Malony)

* Denville garden was started in 1972
* It is town land
* It was started by rogue gardeners in 1972 and has since grown considerably
* Access to water is VERY IMPORTANT – they have timed access to water
* Fence against critters is very important
* Garden neatness is very important
* The Community garden seems to take care of itself
* They have 4.5 acres, 160 plots and 125 families are members – AND there are people on the waiting list
* They charge $6.00 a year

Click on the section title for link to Denville Community Gardens' website.

See story titled Community Gardens for more on the Denville Community Gardens. Note that the article refers readers to the American Community Gardening Association for help starting a community garden.

Kinnelon Community Gardens Takeways

We came away with the following impressions/observations:

1. What is the purpose to our gardens?

2. Water control is very important.

3. Community Gardens SHOULD NOT be under any commissions.

4. Guidelines should be set-up BEFORE garden opens.

5. Kinnelon does NOT have a town center – having a garden in close proximity of the town hall and library would only enhance our sense of community.

Kinnelon Community Gardens Group Outing: Two Pond Farm Trip and Tour, West Milford, NJ

Allison Hosford has kindly invited Kinnelon Community Garden Group to a tour of her wonderful West Milford Farm. She will talk about 3 kinds of gardening and will show us many of her heirloom veggies ...eggs and chickens too.

Date: Sept.27, 2010....Monday.... (2 hour tour)

Meet at the Public Library in Kinnelon at 9:30a.m....  (if you can, carpool with a friend )

*Bring pad and pen to take notes
*Bring a camera to take photos for the Smoke Rise and Kinnelon Blog!
*Wear low heeled comfy shoes
*Bring water
*Allison will offer us seeds from her huge collection...bring a few plastic sandwich bags.

If you plan on attending, please send an email to: and include in the subject heading "2 Pond Farm".

Thank you, Galina!

I can't wait to hear about the visit to 2 Pond Farm and to see pictures.

By the way, while researching the resources I came across a mushroom picking class that Allison Hosford teaches at the end of September via Glenwild Garden Center in West Milford, NJ.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Smoke Rise Village Inn - Part II

Smoke Rise Village

If Walls Could Talk…The Smoke Rise Village Inn - Part II:  The Birth of the Village Inn.

In Part one of this story about the Smoke Rise Village Inn, I indicated that the Smoke Rise Community was born in 1946.  Interestingly, the Smoke Rise Inn was one of the first facilities to be worked on. The Inn was actually operating before the beach was constructed.

The story of the Smoke Rise Village Inn continues.

One of the earlier concepts of the Smoke Rise Community, was to have a self contained “Village” within the reservation. Hence the name “Village Inn”. At one point, in the late 50s, the piggery was converted into a small grocery store called “The Village Store” but that’s a story for another day. The original Smoke Rise Company Brochure published in 1946 gives some insight into the plan.

Smoke Rise –Today
The buildings at Smoke Rise, as it stands today on the threshold of planned development, are few. They include “Stone House” built in 1886, where the Company offices are installed, and a group of farm buildings in the proposed Village area which will serve as temporary facilities for Company and Club. Until the Village itself is built (as the community progresses) certain facilities will be available. These will be a combination restaurant and inn, with accommodations for Club Members, making it especially convenient for owners who may wish to stay at Smoke Rise while supervising the construction of their houses, a food shop, a service center for building and road construction work and a large hall for temporary club quarters. The old stone barn will house some of these facilities.”

The “Village” is described in greater detail in a subsequent section.

“Smoke Rise-Tomorrow
…Village – The proposed Smoke Rise Village will be strategically centered in the reservation and will cover about 20 acres in area with 20 more held in reserve for expansion, should they be required. And an ideal village it will be. Colonial in plan it will be the very heart of the community.

Here all the conveniences associated with modern living will be available, including shops, essential services, library and theatre. Here also will be located the Company and Sales Offices and a Building Construction Center with its architect, engineer, contractor, electrician, plumber, painter and decorator, together with display rooms. The main road through the Village (The Smoke Rise Village Common) will be 50 feet in width and there will be ample parking on both sides of this road as well as along the Perimeter Road thus assuring easy flow of traffic and ample, convenient and safe parking at all times. A system of excellent roads through-out the reservation will bring all facilities within easy reach.”

Just in case anyone was wondering how Perimeter Road got its name, it was the road that was to be on the outside “perimeter” of the Village.

Above is an artist drawing of the proposed Village from the 1946 brochure. Note how the “Perimeter Road” is laid out almost exactly how it is today. You may also note in the drawing a small church located about where the present gas station is…Hence the name “Chapel Hill Terrace”. More on road names at another time.

An application for a Retail Liquor License dated March 18, 1947 from the Smoke Rise Club for The Smoke Rise Village Inn building, lists that alcoholic beverages would be served on the ground floor of a “hollow tile and stone structure” with outdoor consumption on a “Summer Dining Terrace”. The application was signed by J. Alden Talbot, President. Road construction on Perimeter Road was carried out in the summer of 1947. The kitchen and rudimentary bar facilities were quickly completed. Extensive landscaping was completed outside including the planting of a few thousand daffodils. The landscaping included the raised terrace which extended between the two main wings. Parking, by the way, was in the courtyard, unless the courtyard was being used for an outside function. A couple of partitions here, some carpet over there and voila…instant, restaurant, lounge and Inn.

The Inn was a modest enterprise in its early formative days. Just so everyone can follow, the present day entrance wing, I will call the North-South Wing and the present day ballroom the East-West wing.

In the early days, the kitchens were located in the north-south wing, the bar in the old slaughter house, and the dining room was located in the area that is presently occupied by the Board meeting room and bathrooms. Bathrooms, in the early days, were located on the second floor of the north-south wing along with a number of guest rooms, set up for sleeping, perhaps six to seven in number. The area where the present bar is located was an outdoor terrace. As the community grew and more space was needed the westerly part of the cattle barn was converted into a ballroom, and was first known as “The White Room”. The ceiling in the White Room was quite low, perhaps no more than 8-9 feet high. Above this area was a cavernous hayloft that was used to store just about everything one could imagine (except hay).

In those early days, when the beach closed on Labor Day weekend, all of the beach apparatus; lifeguard stands, Adirondack chairs, umbrellas, picnic tables etc, were stored in the hayloft. The easterly most part of the cattle barn was also used for restaurant and liquor storage. There were a number of floor to ceiling posts running down the middle of the white room. These posts designated the individual stalls for the cattle.

Almost immediately, the Inn became the social hub for the community. Just about every type of event was conducted there from Church Services to summer parties, Halloween parties, Christmas parties and ballet recitals. Yes, the Community Church of Smoke Rise held regular Sunday services in the “White Room” from 1952 until the new church was constructed on North Road in 1956. Next time you visit St. Hubert’s Chapel, check out the black and white wooden sign that, on one side, reads “Service in White Room” and the other side reads “Service in Chapel”.

As the Community grew so did the Smoke Rise Inn. The outdoor patio area (present home of the bar) was enclosed and became the dining room. It was this addition that joined the structures; the east west wing, the slaughter house, and the north-south wing. This was perhaps the last big structural change to the facility, with one exception, that was to occur prior to the major renovation that was to happen much later. When the dining room was moved to this area, the old dining room would undergo a rather interesting and somewhat peculiar transformation (The old dining room being where the current board room is located.).

I note from a 1958 issue of the Smoke Rise Club News…

The Village Inn

“The South Room has been reserved for the exclusive use of the younger set. Teenagers and children (writer's note, is there a difference?) are welcome. Facilities offered are a juke box, billiard table and private meeting room as well as dispensing machines for ice cream, soft drinks, candy and crackers. The South room is open till 10 PM Weekdays 11 PM Fridays and midnight Saturdays. There is a rumor that Frank is planning to have a back-to-school surprise party for the teen-agers complete with barbecue and everything.

New Facilities at the Inn: On August 7th the new Charcoal Grill Room and Kitchen, and the outdoor “Bullpen Patio” had their official grand opening. This new area has been the scene of a great deal of activity from that time on. However, even though an announcement was sent to all residents, it still seems that many people still do not know about these added facilities in the “Come as you are” section. Dress is strictly informal at lunch and dinner times. The present Terrace Dining Room will still be formal in that men are expected to wear jackets at lunch time and jackets and ties at dinner time. Women’s dress should also be comparatively formal for the Terrace Room.”

For nostalgia purposes, I located a late 1950s menu. Let’s see what fare could be had...
  • Shrimp Cocktail….50c
  • Smoked Novi Scotia Salmon…25c
  • Broiled Lamb Chops (2) $4.00

This was the dinner menu that included appetizer, soup, main course; with potato and vegetable, and dessert. The dessert entries included “Smoke Rise Parfait”.

  • Family Buffet was offered on Sundays for $2.75 (Children $2.00)
  • Among entrees that could be ordered a la Carte (in advance)
  • Rack of Lamb for two…$10.00
  • Partridge, in cocotte au Champagne…$5.00

The most expensive item on the menu was -- of which I have no idea what this is -- Faisan Roti Souvaroff for 2…$15.00 (~ Pheasant in Cream Sauce?)

In addition to the menu items, a small blurb reminds residents that they could buy their liquors from the Inn, including the Smoke Rise Village Inn private brand liquors.

Indeed there was a time that you could purchase Smoke Rise Village Inn Gin, Vodka, Bourbon, Scotch, Rye and Champagne. (What else could anyone need?) I located an old label in the archive. I wonder if any of these bottles still survive?

On another note, all the dinnerware was a bone white china with a small green border. At the top of each plate was the familiar green Smoke Rise Club logo with the chapel located inside the circular disk. I think one such plate (and only one) still survives today at the Inn.

As the 1960s rolled on by the Inn continued in much the same fashion as it did in those early years. Occasions of all sorts, Sailing Club Dinners, Gun Club Dinners, Women’s Club luncheons, Card Parties, Bridge, as well as formal dances were conducted at the Inn. Around about 1965, the area just beyond the present parking area was dug out and flooded to create an additional skating facility and the “South Room” was turned into an informal luncheonette.

Regrettably, as the 1960s came to an end, there was trouble brewing on the horizon. The former Kin-Wood Inn had changed ownership and had become “Calamity Jane’s” and was doing a booming business. Patronage at the Inn was beginning to falter. The facilities were beginning to become somewhat run down. The Smoke Rise Company, which owned and operated the facilities, was losing money consistently on the Inn operations. As the seventies began, the owners of the Smoke Rise Company began to seek an exit plan. In order to stop the hemorrhaging of cash at the Inn it was decided in the fall of 1972 to close the operations.

Relief was found the following spring when George F. Foley, a devout Smoke Rise resident, bought the Smoke Rise Company. The purchase included about 1500 Acres of undeveloped land, about 80 acres of lake and shoreline, the two gate houses, about 50 lots, the Inn and the entire Village Green as well as other miscellaneous parcels. The purchase was made with a minimal down payment and one huge mortgage.

Now there are many who may still be bitter about Mr. Foley and his handling of the Smoke Rise operations during the middle 70s. However, I truly believe he had the best of intentions.

From a historical perspective I believe his two major gaffs were, one, being seriously under-financed and two, being in the wrong place at the wrong time in history. 1973 saw the first Arab oil embargo; the unwinding of the whole Watergate Scandal, the stock market declined 60% between 1973 and 1974; a general overall decline in real estate activity, a club membership that desperately wanted to seek its independence from the Smoke Rise Company and a public which began to question its leaders and institutions. NOT a fantastic time to enter into a new real estate business venture! Particularly not a good time to start such a venture with a dollar and a dream.

Nonetheless, recognizing the need for a community social hub and trying to find ways to invigorate the Inn, Mr. Foley re-opened the Inn in the summer of 1973. The very east end of the Cattle Barn, which was previously used for storage, was opened up into a potentially thriving liquor store.

Display cabinets and refrigeration displays were purchased and the birth of the “Smoke Rise Wine and Spirits Shop” came about. The most easterly door (facing Perimeter Road) was the entrance to this new endeavor. A paved turnaround was installed so that residents could “drive right up to the door” and stock up. In addition to reopening the bar and restaurant, the old Charcoal Grill Room and Bullpen dining terrace was re-opened as “The Smoke House” where light lunch fare could be obtained. JJC and I often ate there during the summers as both of us were Smoke Rise Club summer maintenance employees during our high school years.
From the 1985 Smoke Rise Newsletter
About this time participation in tennis at Smoke Rise had risen to an all time high. The two paved courts on North Road and the old clay court across from the gas station, (current site of the basketball court) were insufficient to meet the demand. So the Tennis Club began discussions for expanded facilities. Each location that was considered was met with a “not in my backyard” response. At one point the open areas behind the Inn were considered as a potential location. However, that too proved unsatisfactory and ultimately a number of acres were purchased across the street (more or less in nobody’s back yard) where the six new har-tru courts were erected about 1975. You are probably wondering what this has to do with the Inn. Read on.

The Inn operations continued in its previous fashion for a short while until the Kinnelon Board of Health determined that conditions were not right and the Inn closed again in May of 1975.  Unable to weather the economic firestorm, The Smoke Rise Company filed for bankruptcy in 1976. Most of the properties were still under mortgage by the previous owners and were subsequently recovered by way of Sheriffs Sale.

During the recovery process, the previous owners of the Smoke Rise Company, namely John Talbot and his partner, E. B. Leone, offered to sell all the assets of the Company to the Smoke Rise Club for $1,100,000. This included the 1500 acres, more or less, of undeveloped property, 80 acres of lake and shoreline, The Inn, the two gate houses, the remainder of the Village Green and other miscellaneous parcels. On October 15, 1977, by a vote of 325 opposed and 152 in favor, the acquisition proposal was turned down by the Smoke Rise Club membership. Shortly thereafter the primary assets of the Smoke Rise Company, including the Inn, were sold to Comco America.

During these turbulent years, in an interesting twist of events, The Community Church of Smoke Rise became the social hub for the community. However, many of the members, with happy nostalgia, longed for the Inn to re-open or in the alternative to have another clubhouse.

Consider all the patrons, parties, weddings, college mixers, graduation parties, confirmation parties, dances and other events that had transpired over the facilities first 25 years. The Inn was way more than just a restaurant; the Inn had become a fondly remembered institution. Negotiations commenced almost immediately with Comco for the Inn. However, proposal after proposal was found to be unsatisfactory to the membership. Finally, in 1979, a proposal was passed by the membership to expend club funds to develop plans for a new club house, presumably to be situated across the street in the vicinity of the new tennis courts. At this point Comco stood up and took notice.

A major turning point in the history of the Inn was about to occur.


Thanks, Tom!

Note: Images courtesy of Tom Kline, Kinnelon & Smoke Rise Historian.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kinnelon Arts & Crafts Festival September 11, 2010

Kinnelon Arts & Crafts Festival from the Friends of the Kinnelon Library
In addition to the annual Kinnelon Book Sale, the next big event sponsored by the Friends of the Kinnelon Library to benefit the Kinnelon Library is the Annual Arts & Crafts Festival!

This year's 34th annual Kinnelon Arts and Crafts Festival takes place on September 11th, from 10am to 4pm whether it rains or shines!

Location: Kinnelon High School parking lot off of Kinnelon Road.

Mark your calendars!

By the way, if any of you take photos of this year's Annual Arts & Crafts Festival, would you let me know? I'd love to share them here in this blog so those who haven't yet been can get a feel for what a fun event it is.

Here's the official press release on the event:


Artisans and Crafters from near and far will exhibit their paintings, hand-thrown pottery, jewelry and sculptures at the Kinnelon High School parking lot on Kinnelon Road September 11 at 10-4, rain or shine. Enjoy crafts for holidays, gifts and art work to decorate you home. Handmade soaps and candles, dried and silk flower arrangements are all beautifully displayed for your browsing and buying pleasure.

Bring your family, friends, and your appetite too! Once again the Friends will run the food concession and offer a variety of munchies hot off the grill. Come join us September 11 to enjoy a day of shopping and eating with your friends, family and neighbors.

Let me know, too, what you like most about the Kinnelon Arts & Crafts Festival. Any chance you have stories to share from its early days? I'd love to hear about them!
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