Luxury Homes in West Milford NJ
West Milford, an 80-plus square mile municipality located in Passaic County, NJ, sits in the "Heart of the Highlands." Its beautiful mountainous terrain, dotted with nearly forty tranquil lakes, is crisscrossed by narrow roads that run along its scenic valleys and ridges.
Most of its 10,000 homes surround its lakes. Many of these homes, once summer resort bungalows, have over the years been enlarged and converted into year-round residences. And over the past twenty years, many newer, larger homes on one- to four-acre lots, as well as two major condominium developments, have been built. With this development history, prospective homeowners can find a range of housing types and costs to suit their particular needs.
A major state highway, Route 23, that winds along its southern boundary, more or less paralleling the Pequannock River, provides its main transportation links to the outside world.
A community widely recognized for its commitment to youth activities, yet recreation programs are available for people of all ages. All family members, not just the younger set, can enjoy a wide variety of recreational, fun, and educational programs, sponsored not only by the Township’s Recreation Department, but also its schools, the Police Athletic League, and local churches and civic groups.
Recreational sports, hiking, mountain biking, road cycling, boating, and fishing, attract some hardy tourists, but West Milford’s main attraction for local residents is its vast extent of largely undeveloped and state protected forests, nearly 2/3 of the entire municipality.
Despite its enormous size, West Milford is blessed with a small-town atmosphere, the product of not only volunteer and civic group activism and pride, but also a participatory citizenry whose debates fill the local presses and enliven locally televised council meetings.
Greenwood Lake NJ
The lake was originally called "Quampium" by the Munsee Native Americans who lived there. It was renamed "Long Pond" by Europeans, who settled the area in the 18th century for farming and ironmaking, and eventually came to be re-christened "Greenwood Lake."
It was dammed up ca. 1765 by Peter Hasenclever of The American Company to increase the size of the lake for water power used downstream at the Long Pond Ironworks. The original dam was located even with is today’s Fox Island, with most of the lake extending north of the state line. In 1837, the lake was again dammed, but at the location of the current dam, this time by the Morris Canal & Banking Company to supply water to the Pompton Feeder of the Morris Canal. The enlarged lake now flooded the Succor Brook at the northern end, forming the East Arm, surrounded “Lime Ridge” to create Chapel Island, and flooded the extreme southern end, including parts of Belcher Creek.
The enlarged lake began to attract tourists. The Montclair and Greenwood Lake Railway reached the lake at Awosting around 1874, and the “State Line” (later Sterling Forest) depot was established around 1876. (This railway later became the New York and Greenwood Lake Railway, and then the Greenwood Lake Division of the Erie Railway.) During its resort era, several steamboats operated on the lake, including the Greenwood Lake Transportation Company’s Arlington, Milford, and their side-wheeler, Montclair, built in 1876, which had two decks and is reported to have been capable of carrying from 200 to 400 passengers. There were also other steamers that were privately run, such as the Pioneer and the Anita, and smaller steam launches, such as the Wilhemina, the Carrie T., and the Ferncliff, run by specific hotels. These steamboats met the trains and took passengers to the various resorts around the lake in both states.
There are numerous marinas and restaurants along Greenwood Lake.
In 2011, the film “The Magic of Bell Isle” starring Morgan Freeman was filmed along the lake.
Upper Greenwood Lake
Upper Greenwood Lake (UGL) is a private lake community located in north western New Jersey with approximately 2100 properties in the township of West Milford.
During the last 82 years, “on the mountain” has risen to the top of the town lexicon.
It’s a fitting phrase for Upper Greenwood Lake, the largest of West Milford Township’s recognized 18 lake communities. At 1,135 feet, it’s a 505-foot climb from Greenwood Lake through a forest littered with the region’s quartz-speckled and glacier-polished trademarks. The durable purple rock colloquially called puddingstone, but known to geologists as Schunemunk conglomerate, is an area exclusive that is heavily exposed on Bearfort Ridge – the 2-mile divide between the two lakes.
For the first residents, the trek to “U.G.L.” was up a relatively narrow dirt road, according to longtime resident and community historian Julia Held. Warwick Turnpike remained unpaved until 1936, four years after the Mirror Holding Co. started the development around the area formerly known as Moe, after landowner Ira W. Moe. Moe’s Tavern, built in 1903, was one of the community on the mountain’s first landmarks. It later became the Mount Laurel Inn.
According to Held, Upper Greenwood Lake really blossomed when Mirror Holding purchased the roughly 1,500 acre area in 1932. The company quickly built a clubhouse at the highest point off the southwest shore and advertised 20-foot-by-100-foot lots in the New York Daily Mirror for $97.50. Buyers needed to put down for four lots and a newspaper subscription, however. They also needed to prepare themselves to live next to a swamp rather than a 400-acre lake.
Before all 10.5 miles of the lake’s shoreline took shape, Mirror Holding paid self-equipped locals $5 a day to clear cut what was to become the lakebed, according to Held. Some of the stumps, but not all of them, were hauled out by mule teams. Prior to the job’s completion, the dam at Long House Brook was rushed into completion to appease early landowners who were promised a lake. (Locals got a grim reminder of that just prior to Memorial Day 2010, when the lake was temporarily closed to recreational traffic after stumps started dislodging from the lakebed. Upper Greenwood Lake Property Owners Association (POA) spokesperson Karen Sarnowski said they became unstable after the lakebed froze during a routine winter lowering to aid dock repairs.)
It was just one year in when the POA was formed. In 1933, it bought the existing streets, the strip of parkland comprising the lake’s shore, and the former clubhouse for $1. Initially managed by the parents of Suzanne Cartal, the girl featured in the original Daily Mirror ad, Held said the clubhouse was also the first sales office – benefitting from its view of the lake community’s 10,241 numbered lots. It was renovated in 2007 as a private residence with the original fireplace and chandelier.
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