Bertrand Island Amusement Park
on Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey
A Collection of Historical photos and Personal Remembrances.
|Bertrand Island Amusement Park was located in Mount Arlington, NJ,
just a few yards north of the Landing, NJ border on an arm of land that
jutted out into Lake Hopatcong. This park was one of New Jersey's
most popular summer attractions from the 1920's thru 1983.
First developed as a Picnic Ground around the time of World War One, it was enlarged by owner Louis Kraus and ultimately included a wooden roller coaster, the "Wildcat", opened in 1925, an aeroplane swing, a cafeteria, picnic groves and a dance hall as well as an attractive bathing beach, a diving tower and boat docks. The park was popular during the depression, World War II and the immediate postwar period. It could be reached by public transportation, first via Trolley which went over the Landing bridge and all the way to the Park, and after 1928 by the 'Public Service' route 70 bus which would meet the train at the Landing/Lake Hopatcong station and take passengers to the park.
In its heyday, people would line up outside the park, waiting to enter. Sellers of Hot Dogs and Cotton Candy raised their voices from their stalls. Operators of the Haunted House, the wooden Roller Coaster named "Wildcat", the Merry-Go-Round and the Bumper Cars all gave the place a unique, carnival like flavor, even as it remained a top destination for families. The Lost River Mill Chute ride was a favorite, and arcade games like Skee Ball filled the short midway.
In 1983 Woody Allen filmed scenes from his film “Purple Rose of Cairo” at Bertrand Island as portions of the film tried to recreate a 1930's Amusement Park feel. Alas, the only part that made it into the movie was a conversation around the pavilion or the boardwalk, none of the rides were used.
Changing life styles and the construction of super theme parks closed the relatively small and aging Bertrand Island Park in 1983. (note that "Bertrands" & "Bertrand's" are common, though incorrect spellings) The area was developed with townhouses around 2001. Most of the images here are from Souvenir postcards.
The image at left is from a circa 1930 publicity booklet.
A narrow isthmus of land and a bridge connected Bertrand Island to the mainland in this 1906 photo
Proof that Bertrand really was an Island for a number of years. Circa 1906 view looking northwest, Bertrand Island is at left
Circa 1906 photo from the south side of the bridge and isthmus, looking northeast
This is in the same general area as the photo above, about 20 years later. Patrons take in the 'Speed Boat"
action in this late 1920's scene. This is a Black and White photo that has been hand colored.
Entrance to the park, circa 1920's.
The Water Slide and one of several beach areas, circa 1920's.
A much loved ride, "The Whip", circa 1930 (Photo from Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum)
The Ball Room had dancing and live bands. Photo from the 1930's.
The "Boardwalk", early 1930's.
The outside of the Picnic Basket Pavilion with Roller Coaster at rear. 1930's.
You could eat your Picnic Lunch here, 1930's.
Compare this photo to the one above, this Black & White looks like it was 'snapped'
a few seconds before the 'hand-colored' version above, as you can easily imagine
the photographer asking the boy at right to "sit correctly at the table".
Diving Tower at Bertrand Island Park, circa late 1930's
"Having a Swell Time", the beach, circa late 1930s, postmarked 1940.
In 1947 the D'Agostino family purchased the park and increased the variety and appeal of the park's offerings
Andrew Pfeifer recently sent us this group of four family photos of Bertrand Island from the late 1940's. He writes: "My Mom (pictured below at left) was one of 5 siblings of the Schiavo family who owed and operated the BOOMERANG, the DODGE-EM and SCRAMBLER rides in the park. Needless to say, as a kid, I got to ride them for free"
Thanks so much Andrew for sharing these with us!!
Hello, My name is Albert Leining and I grew up in Rockaway, NJ. I also have very fond memories of Bertrand Island. On your website, Andrew Pfeifer refers to a photo of his Mom, one of five Schiavo Children. The girl sitting to the right (below) just happends to be my Mom. Her name was Theodora "Teddy" Tirella. Her Parents, Ernest and Mary Tirella owned the Aerojet and the Whip rides. Like Andrew, I got to ride those for free too. My Aunt Mamie operated the small ice cream kiosk that was located near the entrance to the rollercoaster. I especially remember all the cotton candy I used to eat. Lake Hopatcong was a wonderful place growing up. Sailing boats during the summer and ice skating in the winter. The fishing was exceptional too. Thank you for the website. Sincerely, Al Leining Sanford, Florida
In August 1953 Marianna
Magliocchetti was seven years old, (she's the taller girl on the left)
and delighted in getting to spend a day at Bertrand's Island with her
friend Janie. Marianna's dad John worked at nearby Picatinny Arsenal for
36 years. She writes: "I
grew up in New Jersey (Milton - Jefferson Twp) and have great memories
of Bertrand's Island. My Dad had a boat on Lake Hopatcong from '55 to
'60. In 1966, I left Jersey to move to Michigan to work, and now
live in Colorado. I was born in Dover in 1946 and went to school in
Sparta. Most of my relatives lived in Dover, Wharton & Netcong"
These photos strongly
evoke the 'feeling' of a time when a little girl went on a special
outing like this, she 'dressed up', in a way kids today couldn't
We recently received a group of photos from the Ruddiman family, taken on a family outing to Bertrand Island in the Summer of 1954. Mom, Dad, the Girls and Grandpa had a great time! Thanks for sharing these !!
The Girls are in a "Whip" Car, which spun as it went around the track
One could arrive at Bertrand Island by Boat
Mom chose to take the photos of the Lost River Chute ride splash ride instead of getting in the boat, a very wise move
The Lost River Chute ride was a favorite.
The Power Boat ride winds its way under the Aeroplane Swing overhead
Local resident Tom Valiante
poses in 1954 with
Pins like these along with souvenir tokens and Wooden Nickels were part of the culture
Skee-Ball Tickets, won by 'bowling' a ball into a small basket, could be exchanged by Children for candy and trinkets
The Roller Coaster was a traditional wooden structure and even in the narrow width of the Park gave a thrilling ride
The "Penny Falls" arcade game challenged players to maneuver the coin to a slot in the machine
The Carousel (Merry Go Round) at Bertrand Island was
of classic wooden design and was installed in 1921,
as this "Wooden Nickel" says.
Air view, looking west, Roller Coaster in center, 1960s.
Beach scene, early 1960s, aeroplane swing ride in the background.
"Fun in the Dark" and the Roller Coaster, circa 1970.
An early 1960s overview of the park
Aero Jet tower at left, notice chrome Aero-Jet car above the 'Fun in the dark' sign. Beach at far left, Coaster at far right.
The Last Hurrah, the brochure of the final season of Bertrand Island, 1983
When the park closed in 1983 I was 12 years old. My friends and I took a wagon into the closed park and rummaged through
the piles left behind. In the piles I found the Wildcat Coaster sign. I have kept it ever since and it hangs in my workshop.
It is my little piece of history from my childhood. Please feel free to post the picture and enjoy! - Chris L.
|This page can only begin to cover
the rich history of Bertrand Island. While this website and page are an
independent effort, we strongly recommend a visit to the
The Lake Hopatcong
Historical Museum at Lake Hopatcong State Park, open Sunday
afternoons in the Spring and Fall. They have a large permanent exhibit
about Bertrand Island. Admission is free, donations accepted. Martin &
Laura Kane, Curators of the Museum, have authored a book "Greetings
from Bertrand Island Amusement Park", and a Historical DVD Video
Presentation of Bertrand Island with vintage film of the Park in action,
available at the Museum or by mail.
Some never before seen photos of Bertrand
Island immediately after it's close are displayed at:
. . . and, in 2009 two
different FACEBOOK groups were started by
various individuals to allow people to post their memories & photos. We
were approached by both, and gave permission for them to use the images
here. As seen above, we happily post your own Bertrand photos and
memories. Just email us at
In 2008 a
held on the park grounds to unveil a
Bertrand Island Historical Plaque
YouTube and other Links for Bertrand Island Memorabilia
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbM7eUAz4WA - An usually clear, high quality home movie from a 1958 visit
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8A7mYAS3so - Photos and Video of the Wildcat Roller Coaster
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivh2igct274 - Compilation of vintage photos and some from after the park's closing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSq7ycYGDPM - A 3 minute promo video shot in 1981
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFOxxJO_2zU - Short made for TV commercial from the 1970's
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmzTBX7KbY0 - A newly made, animated approximation of the Roller Coaster
If you know Bertrand
Island history and can add to or correct this page,
you can e-mail the Editor at: Editor @ LandingNewJersey .com
(just remove all the spaces, an anti-spam measure)
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