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Borough of Mountain Lakes

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Mountain Lakes is a picturesque suburb with a small-town feel and plenty of natural beauty. Amid busy highways and bustling municipalities throughout Morris County, this borough is a quiet sanctuary a short drive from large suburban Morristown and a train ride from New York City.

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.

The period in which Herbert Hapgood designed was one of eclectic architectural styles, but his work shows a consistent debt to Craftsman architecture, tempered by a Colonial Revival influence. Craftsman architecture — now an area of growing interest and study — was one of several related styles that developed out of the English Arts and Crafts movement of the 19th century. Like the English movement, Craftsman architecture emphasized a simple approach to design, with an honest expression of the materials used. This truth and simplicity was a reaction against what was called the “excesses” of Victorian design.

Today, some 90 years later, Mountain Lakes is still prospering, essentially intact. 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.

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