RECORD GROUP: Municipalities
RECORD SERIES #: 8600.02
VOLUME: 143 volumes
In the mid 1880s, Dr. and Mrs. Francis Weld of Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts were vacationing at the Jersey shore as guests at the Hathaway Inn at Deal Beach. During an afternoon picnic, Francis and Fannie stumbled on the nearly 300 acres of open fields, forest, and winding streams that remained quiet and untouched just slightly inland from the bustling excitement of Asbury Park.
The Welds had an immediate attraction to this beautiful tranquil expanse of land, and its peninsular location reminded them of a recent visit to Interlaken, Switzerland. In 1888, the Welds purchased 364 acres from the heirs of Peter Drummond. They took up residence in the old farmhouse on Wickapecko Road and tried their hand at raising cattle and operating a dairy.
Perhaps it was the boom of the surrounding communities that influenced Francis Weld into developing the tract as a year-round resort community. In 1890, Weld joined together a group of prominent New York businessmen and physicians to form the Interlaken Land Company and set about the business of laying out roads and dividing the lots for the “restricted cottage suburb of Asbury Park”, as it became known.
Even though they had good intentions, strict building codes allowing for construction of elaborate homes became a deterrent to prospective land buyers. An attempt to allow the construction of “humble cottages of not less than 11 rooms” only delayed the eventual reversion of the land to the First National Bank of Boston in 1895. The bank, eager to complete the project, enlisted the services of the New York development firm of Stormfeltz, Loveley-Neville Company. One of the first improvements to be made in an attempt to boost lot sales was the construction of the beautiful Interlaken gates and the adjacent park in the early 1900s. Among the amenities offered to prospective residents, Interlaken included free mail delivery, electric lights and brick gutters.
Railroad transportation was easily accessible with the construction of the Interlaken Train Station in c.1894. Due to the strict religious doctrine in Ocean Grove, trains were not permitted to stop in Asbury Park on Sundays and so the Interlaken station provided a way for rail visitors to reach Asbury Park. In March 1912, Interlaken Station played host to its last group of seashore visitors a few months following Ocean Grove’s repeal of this stipulation. No longer needed, the unique structure was razed soon after.
In the early 1900s, Interlaken was home to many actors, writers and artists having heard of the retreat along Great Lake, which is Deal Lake today. Many built or rented homes along the lake’s shore on Windermere Avenue. By word of mouth and close association, Interlaken Park developed a reputation among the “intelligentsia” of the time. During its height, seven art studios and one dance studio were part of this tiny community.
In August of 1910, an air meet was held in a temporary open area of land, part of which is currently used as the Interlaken recreation field and playground. Sponsored by the Aero and Motor Club of Asbury Park, the event featured the “five famous flyers” who competed for $20,000 in cash prizes. The death of one airman who crashed into the stands injuring several people caused a delay of a few days. Wilbur Wright was present during some of the events.
Interlaken continued to grow over the next two decades as part of Ocean Township. The secession of Interlaken from the Township of Ocean in June 1922 was considered a great risk since it was uncertain whether the “baby borough” as the newspapers coined it, would be able to operate for very long without falling into a great deficit. The first borough council members and officials were sworn into office on June 2, 1922. The first Mayor of Interlaken was Frank Stick, a writer, artist and environmentalist. Another prominent Interlaken artist, W.H. D. Koerner, served as a member of the first council along with William Deet, Augustus Harvey, Christian Tietje, Alexander Chandler, and Enrique de Villaverde.
Many events have contributed to Interlaken’s growth over the years, however, the community remains much the same as we can only assume Dr. Weld envisioned it; a pleasant residential community where tranquil surroundings provide a natural compliment to the routine of everyday life.
- Tax Duplicates, 1923-2000, 78 volumes
- Tax Lists, 1923-1950s, 28 volumes
- Tax Receipts, 1926-1998, 9 volumes
- Summary of Collections, 1925-1992, 28 volumes
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan NJ 07726
Tel. (732) 308-3771
Historical records from Interlaken were placed on deposit in the Monmouth County Archives and Records Center on January 24, 2011, pursuant to a municipal resolution and a depository agreement which provide that Interlaken retains ownership of the records and that the Monmouth County Archives can provide access to them.